The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Selling the Silents #19

Stark Love (Karl Brown, 1927)
"Again Paramount takes the lead by tapping a rich, hitherto undeiscovered vein of screen entertainment! Actually filmed in the wild Kentucky mountains where life is still lived in the raw, this smashing elemental drama of intense love, hate and conflict, will sweep audiences off their feet! You cannot believe your eyes when you see it. You will sit absolutely fascinated. Inspect it at your exchange before booking."
The first directorial effort from former D.W. Griffith camera operator Karl Brown, Stark Love has been on my must-see list for years, and from those I know who've seen it, it's a one-of-a-kind picture, filmed on location in Kentucky, using a non-professional cast, mostly with natural light and no makeup. Thought to be a lost film for years, a copy turned up in a Czech film vault in the '70s, but it is rarely screened, due largely to it's no-name cast and a lack of cachet for Brown as a director (after getting his start on Griffith's Battle of the Sexes in 1914, he continued working in a variety of capacities in film up into the '50s).

If you've never read Brown's Adventures With D.W. Griffith, it's a vital look behind the scenes at the early film master at work, and also a detailed description of working with Griffith's legendary cameraman Billy Bitzer, with whom Brown was most closely associated.

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