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

Nicholas Ray Would Be 95


Today, were he still among us, would have been the 95th birthday of American Cinema's true poet of human failing, Nicholas Ray. We here at If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger . . . would like all of our visitors to mark the occasion by carving out a few errant moments to reflect on a period when this neck of the medium was able to demonstrate a degree of compassion for our panoply of weakness, and not, as they do in this hour, simply cash in on it with bottomless contempt.

After that, give a big shout out to Richard Gibson for his contributions on this day (and all others).

7 comments :

Vanwall said...

Nice choice for recognition. An undervalued director for years, hell, even now, sadly - has a place in my little pantheon as high as any. He made some wonderful moments in film, and especially, one of my guilty pleasures, "A Woman's Secret". It had some pretty good moments, some of O'Hara's best, BTW, but it was mostly for the sly Melvyn Douglas performance. Hehe!

Andy Rector said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Andy Rector said...

hear hear.
Thinking of Ray today brings a lump to my throat. When people cry on television all you see is the fangs of the camera and their competitors.
But when Farley Granger leaves Cathy O'Donnell's arms for one last heist, and when Cathy O'Donnell looks up from Granger's corpse surrounded by cops (the cameras today would be trained on the cops) you don't see fangs, you see frail human souls. Even when there's blood, like in the bathtub of PARTY GIRL, or on the igloo wall of SAVAGE INNOCENTS, there is gravity and grace, there is thought; there were hearts that pumped that blood through that body, and we immediately think of that -- not the pseudo-scientific hustlers swarming the scene (CSI).
And who else inserted a shot of a bird struggling against human ways like he?

swac said...

Makes me glad to share a birthday with him.

I was kinda hoping I could watch the new DVD of On Dangerous Ground to celebrate, but it hasn't arrived yet. Oh well, there's always that old laserdisc of Party Girl...

Richard Gibson said...

Yes, what a coincidence, that's how I feel too Stephen.

DVD - 'On Dangerous Ground' - where did you source this? I got mine whilst in Spain where 'They Live by Night' is also available and where I picked up 'The Savage Innocents' before the wonderful Eureka re-released it here in UK. Sadly I cannot for the life of me find 'Wind Across the Everglades' anywhere plus there are a few others sadly missing from my collection.

swac said...

On Dangerous Ground is part of the latest Warner Home Video film noir box. I hear the transfer is nothing special, but it's a personal favourite, and I'm sure it beats my VHS dub. One of Herrmann's best scores too.

For my part, I'd love to see They Live By Night and The Savage Innocents...and Wind Across the Everglades too.

swac said...

There's a review of the third Film Noir box over at DVD Savant.

It also includes Anthony Mann's Border Incident, John Farrow's His Kind of Woman, Lady In the Lake and The Racket.