Relevant Quote #18

"The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life. To become aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair."
-- Walker Percy

Tricky: Scenes from a Life #12

Tricky, Live at the Grand Ole Opry (only five months before the end) (1974)

Heroes of Popular Culture #2

Walter Winchell

Civic Portraiture #4

Jane Fonda

Relevant Quote #17

(Marlene Dietrich and Josef von Sternberg)

"Age: that period of life in which we compound for the vices that we still cherish by reviling those that we no longer have the enterprise to commit."
-- Ambrose Bierce

(many, many thanks to Bob Keser for this image)

Great Philosophers of the 20th Century #3: Kitty Wells

"Still it's just another bedtime story . . . "

Relevant Quote #16

(Jean-Pierre Leaud)

"No one can be profoundly original who does not avoid eccentricity."
-- André Maurois

Seminal Image #37

Signor Max (Mario Camerini; 1937)

Seminal Image #36

The Bad and the Beautiful (Vincente Minnelli; 1952)

Great Philosophers of the 20th Century #2: Floyd Tillman

"I just can't stand another cold, cold war with you . . . "

Tricky: Scenes from a Life #11

Tricky offers his perspective to Johnny Cash (1972)

Relevant Quote #15

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company B 1 5th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Holtzwihr France, 26 January 1945. Entered service at: Dallas, Texas. Birth: Hunt County, near Kingston, Texas. G.O. No.. 65, 9 August 1945.
2d Lt. Murphy commanded Company B, which was attacked by 6 tanks and waves of infantry. 2d Lt. Murphy ordered his men to withdraw to prepared positions in a woods, while he remained forward at his command post and continued to give fire directions to the artillery by telephone. Behind him, to his right, 1 of our tank destroyers received a direct hit and began to burn. Its crew withdrew to the woods. 2d Lt. Murphy continued to direct artillery fire which killed large numbers of the advancing enemy infantry. With the enemy tanks abreast of his position, 2d Lt. Murphy climbed on the burning tank destroyer, which was in danger of blowing up at any moment, and employed its .50 caliber machinegun against the enemy. He was alone and exposed to German fire from 3 sides, but his deadly fire killed dozens of Germans and caused their infantry attack to waver. The enemy tanks, losing infantry support, began to fall back. For an hour the Germans tried every available weapon to eliminate 2d Lt. Murphy, but he continued to hold his position and wiped out a squad which was trying to creep up unnoticed on his right flank. Germans reached as close as 10 yards, only to be mowed down by his fire. He received a leg wound, but ignored it and continued the single-handed fight until his ammunition was exhausted. He then made his way to his company, refused medical attention, and organized the company in a counterattack which forced the Germans to withdraw. His directing of artillery fire wiped out many of the enemy; he killed or wounded about 50. 2d Lt. Murphy's indomitable courage and his refusal to give an inch of ground saved his company from possible encirclement and destruction, and enabled it to hold the woods which had been the enemy's objective.)
"In peace, there's nothing so becomes a man as modest stillness, and humility; but when the blast of war blows in our ears, then imitate the action of the tiger, stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood . . . now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide, hold hard the breath, and bend up every spirit to its full height!"
-- William Shakespeare

Poetry Corner #2

Two Octaves (by Edwin Arlington Robinson)

(Andrew Sarris)

Not by the grief that stuns and overwhelms
All outward recognition of revealed
And righteous omnipresence are the days
Of most of us affrighted and diseased,
But rather by the common snarls of life
That come to test us and to strengthen us
In this the prentice-age of discontent,
Rebelliousness, faint-heartedness, and shame.

When through hot fog the fulgid sun looks down
Upon a stagnant earth where listless men
Laboriously dawdle, curse, and sweat,
Disqualified, unsatisfied, inert,
It seems to me somehow that God himself
Scans with a close reproach what I have done,
Counts with an unphrased patience my arrears,
And fathoms my unprofitable thoughts.

Seminal Image #34

Strangers on a Train (Alfred Hitchcock; 1951)

Relevant Quote #14

"How helpless they all looked in the ugliness of sleep. A third of life spent unconscious and corpselike. And some, the great majority, stumbled through their waking hours scarcely more awake, helpless in the face of destiny. They stumbled down a dark alley toward their deaths. They sent exploring feelers into the light and met fire and writhed back again into the darkness of their blind groping."
-- William Lindsay Gresham

Another W&W for Ivan G. Shreve

Once you're finished reading through every single entry here, go visit my friend Ivan's blog (one of my favorites), "The Thrilling Days of Yesteryear"

(yes, that's a hyperlink)

Tricky: Scenes from a Life #10

Tricky fondles a supporter (1968)

They Were Collaborators #8

Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey (with Dorothy Lee)

Civic Portraiture #1

John Simon Beverly (aka Sid Vicious)

Seminal Image #33

Zero de conduite (Zero for Conduct) (Jean Vigo; 1933)

Relevant Quote #13

"If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again! it had a dying fall:
O, it came o'er my ear like the sweet sound
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour!"
-- William Shakespeare

Seminal Image #32

Head (Bob Rafelson; 1968)

Tricky: Scenes from a Life #9

Tricky, with his future Vice President (1965)

Seminal Image #31

Ride the High Country (Sam Peckinpah; 1962)

Relevant Quote #12

"Deprived of meaningful work, men and women lose their reason for existence; they go stark, raving mad."
-- Fyodor Dostoevsky

They Were Collaborators #7

Bing Crosby and Orson Welles

(many thanks to Stephen Cooke for this image)

Seminal Image #30

Ossessione (Obsession) (Luchino Visconti; 1942)

Seminal Image #29

The Cool World (Shirley Clarke; 1963)

They Were Collaborators #6

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis (with Francis Albert Sinatra)

Seminal Image #28

Salvatore Giuliano (Francesco Rosi; 1962)

They Were Collaborators #5

Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman (with their children)

Tricky: Scenes from a Life #8

Two Reporters Watch Tricky on Television (1973)

Seminal Image #27

Pickup on South Street (Samuel Fuller; 1952)

Tricky: Scenes from a Life #7

Tricky Reflects on Premier Khruschev's Debating Skills (1959)

Seminal Image #26

Seishun zankoku monogatari (Cruel Story of Youth) (Nagisa Oshima; 1960)

Housekeeping Matter #2: The 'Seminal Image' Series

When I started this blog back in October, I had a vague plan to post a series of stills that would more or less reflect the history of Cinema (my first and only love . . . go ahead, try an' make somethin' out of it) chronologically. If you've visited more than once you've noticed the stills that comprise the "Seminal Image" series. While I like posting these images . . . though I'll admit, some of them could be more striking . . . the chronological format is starting to wear on me somewhat. It was with the last one; a still from Leo McCarey's "The Awful Truth" that I decided the series had started becoming mechanical and I'd better think of something else.

For now, I'm just going to approach these postings more randomly; starting with the next one. I'm also going to start identifying the films from which they're derived; something I didn't want to do before out of some misguided idea of an image's 'purity' (why, it doesn't need identification . . . ). Screw purity. If an image I post is compelling enough to get you to want to see the film it comes from, then I ought to let you know what film that is, oughtn't I.

Oh, and to answer a couple of emails I got over the weekend (which I'll relate in some detail in another post, because it's just too surreal): No. I'm not gonna be posting anymore pictures of myself on this blog. Nixon? Yes. Me? No.

Take my word for it, you're better off this way.

Housekeeping Matter #1: Quo Vadis Hyperlinks?

Readers and visitors to this blog . . . and there've been a few more than usual this last week (which surpises me more than it's fashionable to say; though it's still a small number) . . . who've probably noticed the sudden swelling of text in recent days might be wondering why these entries fail to include the customary surfeit of Hyperlinks one normally encounters in the Blogosphere.

I'll tell you why: It's a deliberate choice on my part. Too many Hyperlinks simply annoy me. In fact, I've never understood my fellow bloggers' predeliction for sticking them in the text of their blog entries so relentlessly. Apart from the visual awkwardness which obtains from their use, they're counterproductive as all hell. Instead of text, you might as well just post a message asking the visitor to go somewhere else. I can think of a few times when I've been reading someone's blog and, spotting a Hyperlink to something which seemed intriguing, I've followed it . . . without ever returning to my point of departure; despite a vague resolution to do so when I clicked on the link. Why would anyone who's taken the time to write want to encourage such distractions from their own writing? I certainly don't pretend my blog entries are any more fascinating than anyone else's, but as long as someone has determined to read them . . . for whatever reason . . . what good does it do me . . . or you . . . to push them in another direction?

This is why you'll almost never see a Hyperlink in this blog. Only under the most compelling of circumstances would I even think of doing it. So, if you're a link fanatic, you'll have to content yourself with the paltry offerings in the sidebar.

A Tricky Explanation

Someone asked me, when I started putting up all those photos of Richard Nixon, exactly why I was doing it. It's a good question; an altogether fair one.

Richard Nixon has fascinated me no end for most of my life. He was the first U.S. President I was aware of and I still remember watching his administration fall apart. I didn't understand most of it at the time, but I was fixated on it anyway . . . I might have been the only 7 year old in America who made a beeline to watch the Watergate hearings when I got home from school . . . and since the whole final act, The Resignation, took place in August when I wasn't in school, I forsook my outdoor activities for the duration to watch the coverage; going from channel to channel, just to see what everyone was saying. I remember that rambling, demented farewell address Nixon gave the day of his resignation and even I could tell he was losing it on national television, but I knew something else: I didn't want it to end (turns out there wasn't a journalist or political junkie on the planet who didn't feel the same). The whole climactic second term of Nixon's presidency was to me an involving drama that I couldn't get enough of despite the fact that so much of it was beyond my grasp.

Nixon, consequently, became an all-absorbing figure to me. I was a dyed-in-the-wool Nixon buff by the time I was in my 20s and wound up reading at least two dozen books (certainly more) on his life. I loved (and still do) such Nixon-centered films as Emile deAntonio's "Millhouse: A White Comedy" (1971; which earned deAntonio a spot on Nixon's Enemies list) and especially Robert Altman's "Secret Honor" (1984) with Philip Baker Hall in a breathtaking performance as the 37th predident. I felt it was so close to the real thing . . . the real Nixon, alone in his study in the wee hours, boozing, praying, raging, pleading, crying, bellowing, reminiscing, dancing, playing that piano, talking to the pictures on the wall . . . that its being nominally a work of fiction didn't make a difference to me. Hall's was the Nixon I imagined from the time I was a child (I didn't have the same regard for Oliver Stone's 1995 fever-dream of a biopic; not only was it inaccurate bordering on Science Fiction, but Stone betrayed a hideously misguided sympathy for the man as well); in some sense the Nixon of my dreams.

I think for people like me who've had a keen interest in Richard Nixon, even now, more than a decade after his death, his endlessly involving, duplicitous, insincere, mendacious, insecure, damaged, devious character gave him the attributes of a protagonist in a drama . . . something I probably sensed all those years ago . . . more than any President in recent memory he was interesting to watch, listen to, read and speculate about (in contrast, whenever I see George W. Bush these days, all I want to do is change the channel and hope I never see him again).

So the "Tricky: Scenes from a Life" series is my contribution the chronicle of his life; no corner of which fails to yield some fascinating nugget. It's my tribute to Nixon's dramatic legacy.

Relevant Quote #10

"Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it."
-- George Bernard Shaw

Tricky: Scenes from a Life #6

Tricky Makes the Crew of Apollo 11 Smile (1969)