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

The Cool Hall of Fame #85


Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey

7 comments :

Christina Martin said...

Ooh, there's something about a man who works out...

swac said...

I recently watched So This Is Africa for the first time.

The mind still reels...

Tom Sutpen said...

Monsieur Cooke, was that the expurgated So This is Africa?

I ain't seen either cut, so this question is academic.

SomeNYGuy said...

Gee, I'd classify Wheeler and Woolsey as the antithesis of cool. Deadly dull, in fact. Hell, they make the dreary Ritz Brothers look cool!

Tom Sutpen said...

I . . . . . can't agree. I've loved W&W ever since I started seeing their films in the late 80s. Who knows how good they were on stage, but the vehicles RKO gave them were utterly singular (I mean, try and imagine Abbott & Costello or Olsen & Johnson in something like Hips, Hips, Hooray!). In fact, I still hold to the heresy that Diplomaniacs is a funnier, more piercing satire than Duck Soup. And I always will.

swac said...

So This Is Africa was taken from a TCM broadcast (I can't imagine they showed it very often), and from the looks of it, it's a post-code cut of the film, but still manages to be mind boggling.

Brian Paige said...

Technically So This Is Africa was butchered by the NY and OH censors before the Code crackdown of 1934. In fact dealing with the hassles of local censorship is one reason why studios gave in and accepted the Legion of Decency's demands that the Code be enforced.

I do think Duck Soup has more laugh out loud funny moments than Diplomaniacs, but I will agree that Diplomaniacs is a more piercing satire. Diplomaniacs is a film that the real evil in the world lies in the weapons and munitions manufacturers, that they subvert the peace process and promote war (still a very topical subject). Duck Soup basically says that a president can be a total moron, offend and embarrass foreign ambassadors, and basically act like a dick and prosper in the end.