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

Similar Images #2

(Raoul Walsh; 1915)

Blast of Silence
(Allen Baron; 1961)


Vanwall said...

Amazing what film school can do for you.

The great Wally Wood once said, "Never draw anything you can copy, never copy anything you can trace, never trace anything you can cut out and paste up."

(BTW, his "22 Panels That Awlways Work" would be good basic training in any visual medium, and is a good example of film-to-comics cross-pollination.)


Tom Sutpen said...

I might be wrong about this, but I don't believe Allen Baron went to film school (which is perhaps one reason why Blast of Silence is the masterpiece it is). And I don't know if he was copying this scene in Walsh's film, but the sequence of shots is verysimilar.

I still believe in the possibility of coincidences.

Vanwall said...

You are probably right, Tom, in a formal fashion, but his school was likely old school - countless viewings of old movies, I bet. This movie actually reminded me of "Killer's Kiss" in the way it was filmed - an almost gritty documentary style, but maybe all those NYC B&Ws from around then look the same to a desert rat. I'll have to watch it again.

Someday, somebody outta clue all these writers in about silencers and revolvers - the gat of choice for the real smart hitman was a silenced Colt .22 Woodsman semi-auto for close-up work, with shaved bullets; silencers don't work with revolvers, only automatics. Breaks my suspension factor all to hell.

I've always thought of him as a TV director, and I'm not sure I can remember anything about his other directorial efforts, other than seeing "Foxfire Light" on TV once - it was sort of sappy, I thought at the time - and I was having flashbacks to "Tammy and the Bachelor" every time Nielsen did his drawl. His TV output was amazingly broad-ranged, I'll give him that.


SomeNYGuy said...

Anyone have a clue how I can see this film? I love low-budget NYC movie from this period (when I was growing up here.) From the little I've read about it, it sounds like it could rank right up there with WHO KILLED TEDDY BEAR? in my personal pantheon. But where TEDDY BEAR was frequently shown on local TV 30 years ago, I'd never even heard of BLAST OF SILENCE until quite recently.

Tom Sutpen said...

It's available in bootleg form through a number of sites specializing in such releases; though it was just officially released on DVD in, I believe, France. I suspect we're not too long from an official release in the US, but one never knows with them usurious sumbitches over at Universal.

Either way, get in touch with me off-blog if you'd like and I can hook you up with a copy, no problem.

I think Who Killed Teddy Bear (a movie I've yet to come to a conclusion on) endured a bit longer due to its wall-to-wall prurience; plus the fact that it had recognizable actors in it. The most recognizable person in Allen Baron's film is Lionel Stander . . . and he just does the off-screen narration.

Hmmmmm. I wonder if I should post a link to the article I wrote on this film last year . . .

SomeNYGuy said...

I emailed Tom about BLAST OF SILENCE -- and I'd be very interested to read the article he mentioned. Please do post the link!

swac said...

I got my copy of Blast of Silence from

They also have Privilege and Skidoo, and the quality of their boots is quite decent.

Tom Sutpen said...

Here's the article (on Blast of Silence):

SomeNYGuy said...

Fascinating article. Now I'm even more eager to see the film, not to mention MURDER BY CONTRACT -- and maybe it's time for me to give CRIME OF PASSION another look. Still, there's something about those no-budget filmed-on-location thrillers that no studio-bound B-movie (no matter how cheap or disreputable) can match. Recently saw Walter Matthau's GANGSTER STORY for the first time (on TCM) and found it unspeakably awful, but the SoCal streets and "real" interiors kept me watching.