NEWS: AMERICAN MOVIES NOW
In the May 4 issue of The Week Managing Editor Theunis Bates, on page 3, has a succinct but powerful editorial on where current films seem headed, or mostly NOT headed. Check it out.
MOVIES ARE EVERYWHERE, ESPECIALLY IN GOOD BOOKS
Do you know Walker Percy’s novel The Moviegoer? Check it out.
“Linda and I went out to a theater in a new suburb. It was evident somebody had miscalculated, for the suburb had quit growing, and here was the theater, a pink stucco cube, sitting out in a field all by itself…After the movie Linda and I stood under the marquee and talked to the manager, or rather listened to him tell his troubles: the theater was almost empty, which was pleasant for me but not for him.”
“Our neighborhood theater in Gentilly has permanent lettering on front of the marquee reading: Where Happiness Costs So Little. The fact is I am quite happy in a movie, even a bad movie.”
“Kate gives me a look — it is understood we do not speak during the movie.”
And can you imagine a better description of the later Gregory Peck? “Toward her I keep a Gregory Peckish sort of distance. I am a tall black-headed fellow and I know as well as he how to keep to myself, make my eyes fine and my cheeks spare, tuck my lip and say a word or two with a nod or two.”
Percy’s writing remains pitch-perfect as our anti-hero takes his new girl to visit his young step-siblings: “Marcia made too much of them, squatting down and hugging her knees like Joan Fontaine visiting an orphanage.”
And how about this, describing one of those questionable restorations and/or preservations: “Back to the Loop where we dive into the mother and Urwomb of all moviehouses — an Aztec mortuary of funeral urns and glyphs, thronged with the spirit-presences of another day.”
“O Tony, O Rory” –
“For the record, here are the performers mentioned in Percy’s novel: Charles Boyer, William Holden, Adolph Menjou, H.B. Warner, Richard Widmark, Dana Andrews, Clint Walker, Leo Carrol, Tony Curtis, Rory Calhoun, Joan Fontaine, Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, José Ferrer, Montgomery Clift, Eva Marie Saint, Jane Powell, John Wayne, Marlon Brando, Joseph Cotten, Thomas Mitchell, Dick Powell, Gary Merrill, Veronica Lake, Paul Newman, Patsy Kelly, Charley Chase, Nelson Eddy, Akim Tamiroff, William Powell, Johnny Weismuller; and — would you believe? — Samuel S. Hinds, Edgar Kennedy and the most wooden actor in the history of Hollywood studios, George Brent. (Well, maybe there is a three-way tie: George Brent and Sterling Hayden and John Ireland.)
And here are the films mentioned in the novel: The Ox-Bow Incident, Red River, Stagecoach, The Third Man, Fort Dobbs, Deep Waters, Panic in the Streets, It Happened One Night and All Quiet on the Western Front. He also mentions a film he calls Holiday with Joseph Cotten. I cannot find that film in my sources. Do any of my readers know it? Could he have meant The Halliday Brand?
THE MOVIEGOER by Percy Walker. Knopf, 1961. Check it out.
NEXT FRIDAY POST May 24
See you at the movies,