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

Before and After #132: Charles Laughton




Gloria said...

The first image is from 1938, the second from 1959. Since Laughton was always portly, there's not such a great difference as you would see in other people ageing: there would be a greater difference with a more youthful image of laughton in the late 20's or in his first time in Hollywood (1932)... Or inded a 1935 image, a time where he had lost some weight.

However, if you check this link you'll see images from a teenage laughton: now there's a significant difference! ;D

Vanwall said...

A genius. I agree, Gloria, he seemed a little chubby even in boyhood, tho - but then again, he was pretty much ageless in the movies.

Kreisler said...

Laughton always believed himself to be hideously ugly (cf Quasimodo); a kind of anti-Cary Grant

Gloria said...

That might be the quid of the question: he believed so, and there is no doubt that such belief helped him shape many of his characters, which have an undercurrent theme of not fitting in a world where outsiders (i.e. Quasimodo) are not welcome: he would often find a voice for the alien, the maverick and the underdog, and kudos to him for that.

Another thing is what other people thought about his looks, and here opinions are more diverse than one would expect: Marilyn Monroe once said that Laughton was the sexiest man she'd ever seen, and Marlene Dietrich said that she'd rather play a love scene with Charles than with anyone else... I believe that both were ladies with good taste.

And personally, I have always found him very, very cute ;p, but them I'm biased (And I find cary Grant very cute, too)

Brent McKee said...

The big difference in the two pictures is that there's a puckish sense of mischief in the eyes of the man in the first that would ill-befit the dignified gentleman in the second.

Gloria said...

Actually, shortly before the second picture was taken, Laughton acted in "Witness for the Prosecution" where his eyes are pretty mischievous as he is smuggling cigars (while pretending to be a dignified gentleman who obeys his nurse)