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

Seminal Image #341


The Cheat
(Cecil B. DeMille; 1915)

The Art of Science Fiction #1

Seminal Image #340


Giu la testa
(Duck, You Sucker)
(Sergio Leone; 1971)

Great War Art #1

The Art of Cinema #100


Show Boat
(Harry Pollard; 1929)

Adventures in American Filmmaking #47


Today's Adventure: In better days, Roscoe Arbuckle lines up a shot for an unknown film.

Seminal Image #339


He Walked By Night
(Alfred L. Werker, Anthony Mann; 1946)

When Legends Gather #71


Gary Cooper and Gibson Gowland

Artists in Action #27


Sid Vicious feeds himself.

(believe me, for this guy such a prosaic act represented real achievement)

Sex Education #44


Laura Antonelli

Adventures in European Filmmaking #11


Today's adventure: Federico Fellini clowns around on the set of 8 1/2 with Marcello Mastroianni and Anouk Aimee in 1963.

Seminal Image #338


Skidoo
(Otto Preminger, 1968)

Sex Education #43


Tina Louise

George Best Dead at 59


George Best, the titan of Manchester-United, the hard-living Joe DiMaggio of Footballers, has passed.

This obituary comes from the BBC

(extravagant thanks to Our Man in London, Richard Gibson, for this image)

Adventures in American Filmmaking #46
Adventures in European Filmmaking #10


Today's Adventure: Josef von Sternberg explains inchoate longings on the set of
Der blaue Engel (The Blue Angel) (1930)

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.

Faces From the Past #10



Clare Laking (1899-2005)

Clare Laking, the last of Canada's frontline First World War veterans, dies at 106.

Seminal Image #337


The Killing of Kings
(Mark Palermo; 2004)

When Legends Gather #70


Jean Cocteau and Kon Ichikawa

(muchas gracias to Jeff Duncanson for this image)

Seminal Image #336


Cherry, Harry and Raquel
(Russ Meyer; 1970)

American Mouthpieces #3


Ramsey Clark

Seminal Image #335


The Fall of the House of Usher
(Roger Corman; 1960)

When Legends Gather #69


Chet Baker, Miles Davis and Rolf Ericson

The Neocons #2


Stephen Hadley

Seminal Image #334


Lot in Sodom
(Melville Webber and James Sibley Watson, jr; 1933)

They Were Collaborators #102


Tommy Makem and The Clancy Brothers

The Cool Hall of Fame #27


Eric Dolphy

This Week's Velázquez #1


Las Hilanderas
(The Spinners; 1657)

They Were Collaborators #101


Buffalo Springfield

When Men Were Men #7


From The New Movie Album: An Autographed Who's Who of the Screen (1931)
"By birth I should have been a farmer, by early training a steel worker and by later inclination a lifeguard, for I was born in Kansas City, Missouri; educated in Pittsburgh, and now find that I would rather sit on a beach in the sun than anything else, except travel. And a great deal of money can be saved by just sitting in the sun.
I am an actor by design. It all came about very deliverately. For I have yet to win a beauty contest and my chance to be a film extra suddenly discovered by an alert casting director is past.
To become an actor, I went to New York, after a certain number of years spent in Pittsburgh, and entered the American Academy of Dramatic Art. My diploma from that impressively named school put me to work in 'The Ne'er Do Well,' at the Lyric Theatre. That was my first professional engagement.
Since that time there have been many of them, for I have played in stock in many cities. My first picture was 'Sherlock Holmes' with John Barrymore. That was in 1923. Since then, there have been many of them. My next will be 'New Morals,' made by Paramount, to home I long have been under contract."
-William Powell


(Note, although Paramount scheduled a film titled New Morals for release in the late '20s, it never surfaced as a finished production, although the plot put forward in promotional materials sounded very similar to that of another Paramount title, Breakfast at Sunrise, where a man and woman marry in order to spite the people that they are both truly in love with. By a weird coincidence, there is a film called New Morals for Old (1932) which stars the future Mrs. Nick Charles, Myrna Loy.)

The Ink & Paint Set #6


Edna May Oliver & W.C. Fields in Porky's Road Race
(Frank Tashlin, 1937)

Seminal Image #333


Midnight Cowboy
(John Schlesinger; 1969)

They Were Collaborators #100


The Creation

Tricky: Scenes from a Life #24


Tricky Relaxes Before Doing Some Owl Worshipping at Bohemian Grove (1970)

Artists in Action #26


Roy Lichtenstein paints.

The Art of Cinema #99


The Devil's Pass Key
(Erich von Stroheim; 1920)

The Art of War #9:
Thanksgiving Day Edition

Seminal Image #332


Conrad Veidt in The Man Who Laughs
(Paul Leni, 1928)

Faces From the Past #9


Folk musicians (circa 1900)

I found this photo at an antique fair in Union, Maine (which also happens to be the birthplace of Moxie). Judging by the homemade balalaika on the right, I'm guessing that some, if not all, of these men are immigrants, who've come to Maine to work in the busy logging industry, but also came together to make music during their down time. Of course, I could be completely wrong (see the Preston Sturges/Howard Hughes photo), but it sounds like a good story.

(Very) Relevant Quote #69


"When the heart grieves over what it has lost, the spirit can rejoice over what it has left."
-- Source Unknown

Artists in Action #25


Elvis Presley meets the press while Tina Louise looks on in reverence.

Before and After #15:
Chester Himes

Before

After

The Art of Cinema #98


The Gold Rush
(Charles Chaplin; 1925)

Seminal Image #331


Le Cercle rouge
(The Red Circle)
(Jean-Pierre Melville; 1970)

The Art of Cinema #97


A Bullet for Sandoval
(Julio Buchs, Lucio Fulci; 1969)

The Art of Feminism #1

They Were Collaborators #98


The Prisonaires

Just walking in the rain
Getting soaking wet
Torturing my heart by trying to forget

Just walking in the rain
So alone and blue
All because my heart still remembers you

People come to their windows,
They always stare at me
Shaking their heads in sorrow
Saying, Who can that fool be

Just walking in the rain
Thinking how we met
Knowing things have changed
Somehow I can't forget.

Seminal Image #330


Il Grande Silenzio
(The Great Silence)
(Sergio Corbucci; 1968)