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

Adventures in American Filmmaking #112

Today's Adventure: On the set of Sunset Blvd., Cecil B. DeMille tries not to listen as Billy Wilder gives him direction (1950)


.k said...

Ooh man, this is brilliant!

Billy is one of my faves and this picture in particular is one of the best.

Congrats on the blog, i obsess over it

Hans Gruber said...

Nazi Cecil meets jewish Billy.

r.j. said...

Well to be fair, C.B. had been a major-player since the beginning of the industry. (Hell, he and Lasky and Goldwyn STARTED the whole bloody industry, didn't they?) and Billy was for him, I'm sure, a Johnny-Come-REAL-Lately. Billy had been an active director on the Paramount lot for all of about seven-years at that point. I always felt that DeMille was actually a far better actor than he ever was a director, and his scenes with Swanson are about the most genuinely moving and effective in the picture. There's a great story, that took place in the Paramount screening room several-years later. DeMille was proudly screening his latest for invited Paramount biggies. Afterward, he approached Billy. "Well, what do you think" he asked excitedly about his latest epic. Completely at a loss as to how to respond to what he had just viewed, Billy said, "Mr. DeMille, you have made "The Greatest Show On Earth". "Thank you!", DeMille happily-responded.