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

Constance Cummings Dies at 95


Constance Cummings. with Harold Lloyd in Movie Crazy. (1910-2005)
Whether in tragedy, farce, comedy or melodrama, Cummings, the daughter of a Seattle lawyer and a concert soprano, seldom failed to surprise. From being what a London critic, in 1934, called "a film star who can act", she learned, under her husband's direction, how to play (as James Agate put it) "anything from pitch-and-toss to manslaughter."
-from Constance Cummings' obit in The Guardian
Cummings had an astonishing early career in the pre-code days of Hollywood, appearing in the best of Harold Lloyd's sound pictures, Movie Crazy, as well as working with Frank Capra in American Madness and Howard Hawks in The Criminal Code. Celebrated at the time, but little-seen today, was her role in Broadway Through a Keyhole, a thinly disguised portrait of the marriage of Al Jolson and my fellow Dartmouthian, Ruby Keeler, starring Cummings and crooner Russ Columbo. Reportedly, Jolson was so outraged at the portrayal, he punched out its screenwriter Walter Winchell.

1 comment :

Mike Mercury said...

I saw Miss Cummings a couple of years ago at London's National Film Theatre, at a screening of MOVIE CRAZY. She was interviewed on stage afterwards, and was very entertaining.

She said she looked forward to being invited back there - never happened, unfortunately....