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

When Legends Gather #232

King Vidor, Eleanor Boardman, Norma Shearer, Irving Thalberg, Greta Garbo
and Victor Sjöström


shahn said...

i knew i couldn't be the only eleanor boardman fan!

any idea what event they are attending? it must be 1928-29, since vidor was filming boardman in the crowd and sjostrom was working on the divine woman with garbo....

Anna said...

That's actually John Gilbert on the right. The film premiere they're attending is for Bardelys The Magnificent, starring Gilbert, directed by Vidor and produced by Thalberg. Greta Garbo is here because, after filming Flesh and the Devil and falling in love with Gilbert, she was negotiating better pay and this is something of a media stunt. Garbo feigned illness to get out of appearing in a film Louis B Mayer ordered her to do. But you can see she's not, and is on the arm of the most famous actor in the world in 1927. Garbo is in the process of making herself indespensible to Mayer in this photo.

Tom Sutpen said...

Not that I dismiss what you're saying blithely, but my understanding is this photo was taken early in 1928 at some event that surrounded both Vidor's The Crowd and Sjostrom's The Divine Woman (which were released within a month of one another). Moreover the figure on the right looks remarkably like Sjostrom in those years and not at all like Gilbert (too jowly . . . John Gilbert didn't start going to seed until the early 30s).

Mind you, I'm basing this on half-remembered information and my never-perfect powers of deduction . . . so you may indeed be correct.

Anna said...

Have a look at the Getty Collection's film archive. You can see a moving clip of this moment on there (I included a post on this picture and clip on my blog) and you'll see it's Gilbert. Don't mean to be a nit-picky smarty pants, but you'd probably enjoy the clip anyway, even though it is short.