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 #721

The Red Badge of Courage
(John Huston; 1951)


Vanwall said...

By far, one of the very best war movies ever made, with one the most fearless men ever playing a most human role, with a conviction only he could've brought to it. These three pictured, Audie Murphy, John Dierkes, and Bill Mauldin could've stepped right out of a Brady glass negative, and were amazingly believable.

Tom Sutpen said...

My words exactly, Rob. Red Badge of Courage has always been a particular favorite of mine, and I've easily seen it more than 20 times, but I've often wondered when people lament MGM butchery of Huston's 90min. cut, if they're not foolishly discounting all that remains.

About 15 years ago (or thereabouts), when I finally saw the restored cut of Dieterle's The Devil and Daniel Webster and found, to my extreme surprise, that the restored footage added virtually nothing to a film I already knew well, I started thinking, suspecting, that this may also have been the case with Huston's film. I can't support this suspicion at all, but I don't see how the 69 minutes that MGM released in 1951 could have been more rich or more poetic.

Maybe we'll never know, but I think this may be an instance where a studio-imposed ;improvement' did, in fact, improve the picture as a whole. A foul heresy in some circles, I agree, but I wonder how often this has been the case.