Movies Are Everywhere
broken pieces, a library life, 1941-1978 by Michael Gorman:
“At some point when we lived in Golders Green, my father’s younger sister Norah, who, though then single, had a child called Frances without benefit of clergy…stayed with us for a period of time…Auntie Norah was fond of the cinema and promised to take me to see The third man at the Ionic. [Gorman spent his professional life as a cataloger in libraries. He capitalizes and does not capitalize, according to library rules.]This was shortly after the film was released in September 1949. The alternately hypnotic and maddening zither theme (by Anton Karas) was played all the time on the BBC Light Programme and I, who had never heard of the zither, still less actually heard one, became consumed with the idea of seeing the film. I invented a holiday, told my parents and Auntie Norah that there was no school on the Thursday of that week and that I would be available to accompany her to the Ionic. I remember almost all of the film, including the many parts that I did not understand but especially the scene in the Ferris wheel between Harry Lime (Orson Welles) and Holly Martens (Joseph Cotten). I also thought then, and still think, that Anna Schmidt (Alida Valli) was one of the most beautiful women who ever lived. Thus it was, long before the Cahiers du cinema boys aestheticized films, that a work of art showed me a new way of looking at life and the possibility of understanding through what was, though I did not know it at the time, a mind-altering experience of art.” (Gorman’s book published by the American Library Association in 2011.)
The Third Man is in the number four spot on this blog’s list of the TEN greatest films of all time.
I’ve been rereading Georges Simenon’s novel Inspector Maigret and the Killers: “Maigret and his wife were in the habit of strolling peacefully arm and arm to Boulevard Bonne Nouvelle, and it didn’t take them long to decide on a picture. Maigret was not difficult in the matter of films. In fact he preferred the secondary films to any super productions and, slouched in his seat, he would watch the images flow by without paying the least attention to the story. In fact, the more unpretentious the theatre, the thicker its atmosphere, with an audience laughing at the right moments, eating ice cream and peanuts [Remember, we’re in Maigret’s Paris.], and lovers taking advantage of the darkness, the happier he was.” (This translation of Maigret, Lognon et les gangsters published by Doubleday in 1954.)
NEXT POST Friday January 2: “Vivien Leigh for Christmas.”
See you at the movies,