The Untouchables

Not rated yet!
Director
Brian De Palma
Runtime
1 h 59 min
Release Date
2 June 1987
Genres
Crime, Drama, History, Thriller
Overview
Young Treasury Agent Elliot Ness arrives in Chicago and is determined to take down Al Capone, but it's not going to be easy because Capone has the police in his pocket. Ness meets Jimmy Malone, a veteran patrolman and probably the most honorable one on the force. He asks Malone to help him get Capone, but Malone warns him that if he goes after Capone, he is going to war.
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  • “God, I’m with a heathen.”  The Rebirth of the Männerbund in Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables

    [1]7,450 words

    Brian de Palma’s 1987 film, The Untouchables [2], from a script by David Mamet, is usually seen as a Hero’s Quest film, like Star Wars (or The Final Sacrifice), or at least an Epic in some way,[1] but I find it more interesting to see it as a film that, probably unconsciously, delineates the re-creation of the ancient Aryan Männerbund.[2]

    What is the Männerbund?

    Although the study of the Männerbund dates to the 19th century, it was Hans Blüher who first championed its significance, using it first to analyze the German youth movement, the Wandervogel, and later as the key to a non-Freudian, indeed, anti-Freudian, understanding of civilization, especially that of the Aryans.[3] Later, Julius Evola would incorporate the idea in his post-War writings on the origin and possibilities for the rebirth of the Aryan State.[4]

    Today, the foremost exponent of the Männerbund is Wulf Grimsson, who has devoted several volumes to it, most recently Male Mysteries and the Secret of the Männerbund,[5] where he delineates the idea thus:

    The Männerbund is a system of social ties found in traditional Indo European societies which is very difficult for men living in a modernist (and/or monotheistic) society to understand. . . . Among our Germanic ancestors these groups were composed of sexually mature male youths who under guidance of an elder formed a closed cult or society. They were dedicated to Odin, had special rites of pedagogical training, initiation and esoteric practise and combined the functions of a sorcerer or shaman and a warrior. To appreciate the importance of such a unit is difficult until we realize that the role of the blood brother and the Männerbund was seen as the foundation of Germanic society with the family unit of far less significance. This changes the whole structure of how we see archaic society when we realize that these societies held a virile warrior ethic based in male-male affection superior to family life.[6]

    The Männerbund was a unique social and initiatory institution, it stood at the centre of the hierarchy of archaic society offering a path to initiation into the esoteric Mysteries and providing stability to the tribe below it. In comparison to the Third Function of the tribe and family the Männerbund was certainly an outsider institution yet it was this outsidernesss that allowed it to take such a significant role within the traditional hierarchy. It was not swayed by nepotism or by tribal or familial pressures; it was a separate, distinct and unique structure. It had a warrior ethic yet also trained scribes, shamans, rune masters and many others; it combined the First and Second Functions in a very special and profound way…. The bund was Androphilic in practice and focused on the unique bond created by blood brothers. These bonds continued even if a comrade left the Bund, the blood brother was the most significant bond even above that of a wife, family or the tribe. A brother would help another even at the cost of his life. The bond created with a blood brother would last til death, and it is considered by many, thereafter.[7]

    One important point Grimsson raises is the value of the Männerbund to a society, like ours, facing seemingly endless crises:

    [I]t is an immense loss to our way of life that this structure has all but vanished and it may be that such a system of social ties will be the key to surviving the many catastrophes which are around the corner.[8]

    One such crisis is the decay of everyday legal order, despite an evermore massively intrusive government, a situation Sam Francis called “totalitarian anarchy.” Such a situation might be compared, in a limited way, to America, especially cities like Chicago, under Prohibition. As John Kenneth Muir says:

    Importantly, not one of these men (especially Ness) declares any fealty to the government’s (wrongheaded) policy of Prohibition. On the contrary, what this foursome defends to the death is the very principle that makes America great: the rule of law. This is the meat of Ness’s inner crisis: can the rule of law be re-established by violating the law?[9]

    As Carl Schmitt emphasized, the political is defined by the exception; he is sovereign who can in an emergency declare an exception to the rule of law — and get away with it. However much it may offend the delicate sensibilities of the Liberal, not everything is subject to debate and proper procedure. If it is the law itself that no longer works, how can it be restored legally? No wonder the Tea Party’s costumes freak them out.

    Indeed, as Evola emphasizes, only the Männerbund can do so, because it is not only outside the State, as it is outside the family structure, but also prior to it, being the true origin of the State itself.

    Beware of Imitations

    Since the Männerbund is not a typical subject of “mainstream” discourse, most people are unaware of it, and thus susceptible to fraudulent substitutes. The Untouchables begins with the most flagrant one, the Capone mob.

    Far from either creating or restoring the State, the mob is responsible for the collapse of Chicago into violence and anarchy. In real life, Chicago had been horrified by the brutality of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, which is what led to Ness’ assignment, but Mamet wisely ignores this overdone episode and starts the film with a little girl, holding a suitcase which explodes, blowing her to bits along with a non-cooperating pub. As Frankie Five Angels sneers in Godfather Part II, “They do violence in their grandmother’s neighborhood.”

    And speaking of Godfather II, the next shot gives us Robert De Niro, playing a very different character than that man of honor, Don Corleone (“I mean, we’re not murderers, in spite of what this undertaker thinks”). Instead, we have a well-fed hypocrite:

    Capone: Yes! There is violence in Chicago. But not by me, and not by anybody who works for me, and I’ll tell you why — because it’s bad for business

    The only truth in that statement is that Capone is a businessman. In Chicago, the castes have regressed, and now the sudra rules. Capone’s mob (note the word!) is neither a State nor a Männerbund, but, in another loaded phrase, a “criminal enterprise,” which is to say an enterprise, a business, which no longer operates under society’s laws. In contemporary terms, one might cite Wall Street in general, especially the gigantic frauds and outright thefts (MF Global) that have gone entirely uninvestigated, to say nothing of punished. Who indeed is sovereign?

    Contrary to the “free market” myth, from Adam Smith to Ayn Rand to Alan Greenspan, business transactions are not a “natural” activity, prior to, and superior to, the State. As seen most recently in the ex-Soviet Union, the collapse of the State does not produce a peaceful society of “capitalist acts between consenting adults” but a gangster’s paradise.[10]

    Later in the film, we’ll get a chance to see Capone discoursing on “teamwork” only to wind-up by bashing in a gang member’s skull with a baseball bat. Like Captain Ahab, Capone uses the rhetoric of Traditional honor and leadership, but despite his “charisma and “romantic aura” he is

     . . . not just some fine old warrior-aristocrat who has somehow fallen into the wrong age. Ahab is just such a man as nineteenth century America was producing, a man who could and did ruthlessly exploit the land and the people for his own grandiose, self-aggrandizing ends.[11]

    We next meet his presumed nemesis, Elliot Ness, with his wife and children. Well, we know that the family unit isn’t going to be the source of a Männerbund. But when he goes to work, carrying the lunch he wife has made for him, we learn that the Chicago Police aren’t either. They’ve been corrupted, penetrated, as it were, by Capone. His first ridiculously earnest raid — “Let’s do some good!” — is an embarrassing “bust out,” netting him only a shipment of Japanese parasols and a nickname in the press: “Poor Butterfly.” (Even the press is on Capone’s side — during the raid Ness mistakes a reporter for a gangster.)

    Ness learns he is not cast as a Hero, this time, but a clown — perhaps Canio in Pagliacci, a bit of which we see Capone enjoying later in the movie — or even a forlorn geisha. He started the day as a little boy, he ends it completely emasculated.

    As Jack Donovan says in The Way of Men, while Ness is a “good man,” but he’s not so “good at being a man.”[12] Despite his empty boast, he doesn’t know how to “do some good.” To learn how to be good at being a man, Ness will obviously need a teacher; but as we have seen, the primary method of initiation in the West has been not the teacher as such, but the Männerbund,[13] which also, conveniently, has been the primary means of establishing, and re-establishing, the State.

    Ness won’t surrender to, and certainly won’t join, Capone; he won’t go along with the corrupt cops or politicians, or curry favor with the press. To beat them, he can’t join them; he needs to find another group, or create his own.

    From Sack Lunch to Blood Oath

    “The first and most important feature of groups is the fact that groups are not constituted according to the wish and choice of their members. Groups are constituted by the teacher, who selects types which, from the point of view of his aims, can be useful to one another.” — Gurdjieff[14]

    Enter the last honest cop, Jimmy Malone (Sean Connery) who will become the teacher who selects the men who will become known as The Untouchables. Malone is so honest that he’s never risen above beat cop. It’s not clear why Ness trusts Malone to be the last honest cop in Chicago. Connery’s bogus “Irish” accent alone might set bells off.[15]

    As we shall see, however, Connery’s character will indeed manifest a shamanic ability to shape-shift. One more clue we have that Malone is on the up and up is that they meet on a bridge.

    The sorcerer and warrior are always liminal, while they may enter into the community their values and allegiances set them apart. Sorcerers, shamans and witches in most traditions are often pictured as living at the edge of the village or in forests or caves.[16]

    Malone will eventually agree to teach Ness “the Way,” in this case, “the Chicago Way,” which is a kind of karma-yoga in which appropriate, or svadharmic, action is all:

    Malone: You wanna get Capone? Here’s how you get him. He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue!

    Malone starts with the first of many tricks and inversions of society’s norms, in this case, both inverting Ness’ oath of duty and tricking him into affirming a new one:

    Malone: I’m making you a deal. Do you want this deal?

    (Unlike Ness’ wife, who only made him a meal, the characteristic family activity)

    Ness: I have sworn to put this man away with any and all legal means at my disposal, and l will do so.

    Malone: Well, the Lord hates a coward. Do you know what a blood oath is, Mr. Ness?

    Ness: Yes.

    Malone: Good. ‘Cause you just took one.

    At the trial, Ness admits he has “foresworn” himself by eventually being led to choose to hunt Capone with Capone’s own methods, not the State’s.

    Now Malone begins to put together the warrior band. But who can they trust in the department?

    Malone: If you’re afraid of getting a rotten apple, don’t go to the barrel. Get it off the tree.

    The allusion to the Garden of Eden is clear, although we will see that it is Malone’s double, Frank Nitti, who embodies reptilian evil.

    The . . . leader [of] any Männerbund must take great care when selecting comrades and develop a preinitiation training program which will weed out those unsuited or unwilling to commit. Such programs should not only be intellectual but include “homework” to prove dedication and “challenges” would-be comrades should overcome. . . . It should be made very clear to any potential comrades the nature of the commitment, that a Männerbund is an Androphilic organization and that no outside relationships are permitted.[17]

    First, though, Ness makes his own demand: no married men, even though, as Malone quickly points out, Ness is himself married. Ness doesn’t seem to have quite figured out what will be required of him. When Nitti threatens them with the ironic “It’s nice to have a family,” Ness ships them off the countryside.[18]

    Thor curses Starkadr telling him that if undertakes Odin’s requests he will have no children, no individual land or property and be despised by the common folk.[19]

    Malone rejects with contempt a recruit who recites the police motto, then insults and strikes another, whose violent but controlled response passes the tests.

    Malone: Why do you want to join the force?

    George Stone: “To protect the property and citizenry of . . .”

    Malone: Ah, don’t waste my time with that bullshit. Where you from, Stone?

    George Stone: I’m from the south-side.

    Malone: Stone. George Stone. That’s your name? What’s your real name?

    George Stone: That is my real name.

    Malone: Nah. What was it before you changed it?

    George Stone: Giuseppe Petri.

    Malone: Ah, I knew it. That’s all you need, one thieving wop on the team.

    George Stone: Hey, what’s that you say?

    Malone: I said that you’re a lying member of a no good race.

    George Stone: [He cuffs Stone across the face. As he draws back his arm again, Stone presses a gun under his chin] Much better than you, you stinking Irish pig.

    Malone: Oh, I like him.

    This is the first racial note in the movie. Obviously there are no blacks on the force, but the ‘racial’ antagonisms are there nonetheless. Between Ness, Malone (with Connery’s confusing Irish-Scot accent) and “Stone” (another blurry shape-shifter) we seem to have an early attempt at what Greg Johnson has suggested:

    What is emerging is a generic white American, with a sense of his interests merely as a white… America may be the place where we recreate the original unity of the white race before it was divided and pitted against itself.[20]

    Ironically, these men are joining together to enforce Prohibition, which was largely the attempt of small town WASPs (like Ness, whose family is now hiding out in the countryside) to “control” the “thieving wops” and “stinking Irish pigs” of the big cities.

    Finally, Ness has already been assigned Wallace, a meek little accountant from Treasury. Physically and professionally, he seems to be the Designated Jew, but nothing is ever made explicit, and so for our purposes we can treat him as White. Ness is still living in ignorance, and does not yet appreciate the value of Wallace, both as man, and as the key to the capture of Capone.

    [3]

    Wallace epitomizes the role of the geek or nerd, as Jack Donovan describes it:

    Advanced levels of mastery and technics allow men to compete for improved status within the group by bringing more to the camp, hunt or fight than their bodies would otherwise allow. Mastery can be supplementary—a man who can build, hunt and fight, but who can also do something else well, be it telling jokes or setting traps or making blades, is worth more to the group and is likely to have a higher status within the group than a man who can merely build, hunt and fight well. Mastery can also be a compensatory virtue, in the sense that a weaker or less courageous man can earn the esteem of his peers by providing something else of great value. It could well have been a runt who tamed fire or invented the crossbow or played the first music, and such a man would have earned the respect and admiration of his peers. Homer was a blind man, but his words have been valued by men for thousands of years.[21]

    Or put away Capone by decoding his secret account books.

    Ness: We need another man.

    Wallace: Mr. Ness? This is very interesting. I’ve found a financial disbursement pattern which shows some irregu . . .

    Malone: You carry a badge?

    Wallace: Yes.

    Malone: Carry a gun.

    There are, then four Untouchables. The number four is

    [A] code for its related letter in the Elder Futhark which is Ansuz. Traditionally Ansuz is related to Odin but reversed is related to the trickster Loki so the correlation seems correct. The rune also means the Aesir in general and hence the use of this rune emphasizes that Loki has left the community of the gods and become a true spiritual outlaw. Ansuz is related …to Venus. In the community Venus or love holds the family together while in the Männerbund Venus is androphile and focused on individual immortality through sorcery.[22]

    Initiation I: “Outsidering” — “Hey. This is the Post Office . . .”

    The first rites of Initiation are those which help the comrade consolidate his rejection of the functions of the society around him.[23]

    As shamans and sorcerers they must move beyond the tribe and become separate from the rules and regulations of the community. Essentially they become spiritual and social outlaws.[24]

    Malone: There’s nothing like vaudeville.

    Police Chief: What the hell are you dressed for? Hallowe’en?

    Malone: Shut up. I’m working.

    Police Chief: Where? The circus?

    Malone has shape-shifted into civilian garb, but still uses his beat cop knowledge to strip the mask off another public institution: behind the façade, literally, of the Post Office is one of Capone’s warehouses.

    This is the turning point in Ness’ career, and the movie, with Morricone’s soaring theme music underlining it for us. So does the dialog and action, which pound away at the liminal theme: crossing the street, crossing Capone, crossing the doorway.

    Malone: Everybody knows where the booze is. The problem isn’t finding it. The problem is who wants to cross Capone. Let’s go.

    Ness: You’d better be damn sure, Malone.

    Malone: If you walk through this door, you’re walking into a world of trouble. There’s no turning back. Do you understand?

    Ness: Yes, I do.

    Malone: Good. Give me that axe.

    The axe, of course, is a traditional symbol of male power, as well as the root of the fasces symbol.

    After making his violent and uninvited entrance, Malone is confronted by a portly thug, or postal worker — once more, ambiguity — who demands his “rights.”

    Portly Thug: Hey! This isn’t right! Hey! This is no good! You got a warrant?

    Malone: Sure! Here’s my warrant. [Delivers the stock of his shotgun to the thug’s crotch]

    Malone: How do you think he feels now? Better . . . or worse?

    Malone delivers butt to crotch, the warrior band’s deviant inversion of sodomy, making quite clear that they have gone beyond concern for rights, warrants, and the social good.

    Here is the scene, seen, as it were, through Grimsson’s lens:

    When I look at the tale I see an initiatory rite, a ritual whereby Loki is becoming a sorcerer. He is ceremonially rejecting his role among the Gods and the tribe [the cops] and becoming a spiritual outlaw. It begins as Loki is refused entry to the feast. This is unusual as Loki as a member of the Aesir would have been invited to such an event even if he sometimes behaves erratically. [Malone as a cop would ordinarily be “in on “the crimes, but he is the one honest cop, whose goody-goody ways are joked about]

    He then kills Fimafeng, the name Fimafeng means service [the Postal Service?] and he represents the normal activities of a community such serving, working and feasting. By Loki killing Fimafeng he is making it clear he is going beyond his prior role within the Aesir and within the society.

    He enters the hall but Bragi says he is unwelcome. Bragi is the god of poetry and the storyteller of the community [The Post Office?]

    Loki’s insults are staged and meant to symbolise him separating from each of the Gods and their functions.[25]

    Initiation II: The World Tree — “Many Things are half the battle”

    As the initiate moved through the bund other rites were used including the initiation of the world tree which was a form of northern vision quest giving the initiate an experience of the power of the runes. I believe that the Männerbund was also secretly devoted to Loki as Odin’s blood brother and darker rites were used in his honour. These rites included those of shape changing and the techniques of the Berserker.[26]

    Ness has sworn a blood oath, joined a Männerbund and crossed the threshold. Now he and the others face further initiations to acquire further powers — shape-shifting, reading the runes, and the fighting skills of the Berserker.

    After the successful raid, Ness decides to take the battle to Capone, heading North in an airplane — at time when such flights were rare among ordinary folk, though a common achievement for the shaman — to the Canadian border where a shipment of whiskey (from Joe Seagram to Joe Kennedy, perhaps) is scheduled to be exchanged for cash on a bridge.

    Not just a bridge but a border; obviously we are meant to understand this is another, more intense, liminal situation.

    Mountie: Thus taking them by surprise from the rear. And surprise, as you very well know, Mr. Ness, is half the battle.

    Ness: Surprise is half the battle. Many things are half the battle. Losing is half the battle. Let’s think about what is all the battle.

    The Mounties riding in is a film and cultural icon. Here, however, they seem to have forgotten their motto, “We always get our man” and become symbols of careful, bureaucratic procedure, like Canada itself. They are another false Männerbund, mere agents of the State. They’re not corrupt, like the Chicago cops, but they’re not helpful either. Their pudgy “captain” (as Ness mistakenly calls him, as if he were a cop) hands out safe and complacent orders (attack from the rear, for surprise), settling for a safe second best, which Ness rejects with some quiet contempt, preferring to be instructed by his guru:

    Malone: Wait and watch.

    Ness: Are you my tutor?

    Malone: Yes Sir. That I am. [YHVH?]

    “Many things” indeed happen in this complex scene, and most of them, I suggest, involve either the acquisition or demonstration of shamanic powers.

    This suffering was part of a birth, death and rebirth motif but without the role of the biological female, the male is reborn through the agency of men alone and hence becomes part of a new “family” structure which is of a single sex.[27]

    The bureaucratic Mounties’ safe and secret strategy goes awry, creating chaos (from behind, au rebours indeed) in which the men are tested.

    Since belonging to Odin means becoming a comrade of the Einherjar (or Odin’s Army), this means the comrade can be taken to Valhalla at any time, and he is considered already dead or literally dead among the living, regardless of whether he literally dies in battle or not.[28]

    This condition also creates a unique psychological state for the warrior preparing him for Berserker training, if he is already undead and eternally in Odin’s service then pain and death are minor transitionary stages and nothing to be feared.[29]

    Stone is the first and as yet only one of the Untouchables to be shot, thus pierced, but quickly jumps back up; he is either invulnerable, a trickster, or already dead and hence fearless.

    The candidate is first given a basic education in ethics and the teachings of the lore. He then withdraws from the community and fasts and undertakes ascetic activities including being pierced with a spear.[30]

    Stone however is down long enough to literally infuriate the meek Wallace, who acquires the spirit of the Berserker; shrieking in rage, he rushes the gangsters like Achilles avenging Patroclus, killing several and, when out of shells, resorts to what is now the signature Untouchables method, using the butt of the shotgun to dispatch the last thug.

    Ness escapes being run over by diving under the car, a symbolic death, and then, trailing a gangster back to their cabin, himself kills his first man.

    Finally, Malone, the Trickster, will use the dead man to fool the captured bookkeeper into agreeing to decode the account books. Only he and Ness know the man on the porch is the one Ness killed earlier; Malone goes outside, picks him up, holds him against the window, pretends to threaten him, sticks his gun in the corpse’s mouth, and blows out the back of his head. The Canadian is horrified by all this violence.

    Finding the code has been their ultimate goal, not just stopping a shipment of whiskey. In other words, interpreting the runes. The corpse, pushed up against the window and pinned their by Malone’s pistol, may suggest Odin’s self-hanging to acquire the knowledge of the runes.

     Malone: Translate this ledger for us!

    Thug: In hell.

    Malone: In hell?! You will hang high unless you cooperate.

    And we can also go back to a bit of comic relief, when Wallace, after his Berserk outburst, and to solidify his Outlaw status, helps himself to some of the booze leaking from the truck. The use of socially forbidden intoxicants is a well-known Shamanic, and Tantric, technique; one also may recall Siegfried who drinks the blood of the slain dragon and acquires understanding of the language of the birds.[31]

    Sacrifices

    As a result of Malone’s capture of Capone’s books, and trick with the corpse having convinced the bookkeeper to talk, Wallace can now prove Capone’s tax evasion. Unfortunately, Nitti manages to kill all three, leaving Ness without his sole witness. Once more, Ness is unmanned.

     Capone: And if you were a man, you would’ve done it now! You don’t got a thing, you punk!

    Since none of the “real” Untouchables was killed, it’s hard to see why De Palma kills off half of them. Wallace’s death is particularly unmotivated; in the language of Internet movie discussions, they all seem to have the Stupid Ball at this point — ironic, since Wallace is presumably the smart guy. It may be just cinematic: create conflict, pare down the cast to focus on Ness, etc. Or what?

    The Untouchables has been a fairly “PG” film up to this point: no ears cut off, no gangsters being carved up in trunks, no exploding heads, the obsession with which Scorsese seems to be satirizing at the end of The Departed (which also involves a main character killed in an elevator by a rogue cop). Starting with Malone’s shooting the corpse in Canada, blood starts to flow; in Malone’s case, ridiculous amounts, as befitting the importance of his character.[32]

    The only sense I can make out of them is that both deaths are sacrifices, part of some kind of ritual. Wallace, having already made his point about Capone’s tax liabilities, is expendable. Malone’s death seems to be some kind of payback or “boomerang” from the etheric realm for his corpse shooting stunt.[33]

    Thus we don’t have to rack it up to stupidity. When Nitti fools Malone with the decoy killer (few people who quote it remember that Malone’s “Just like a wop, bringing a knife to a gun fight” line is followed by his being cut apart by a machine gun) it’s psychic payback for the corpse stunt. Malone, like the corpse, is already dead anyway (“It’s a dead man talking to me” said the corrupt cop earlier) and as Grimsson emphasizes, the whole point of being initiated into the warrior band is to be already dead, hence able to fight fearlessly.[34]

    If Nitti is Malone’s’ twin, then he seems to play the role of Loki to Malone’s Wotan, in accordance with Grimsson’s suggestion that the Männerbund were led by Wotan but had more secret rites associated with Loki. Nitti’s gender-ambiguity, sudden or subliminal appearances around crimes, and above all his fooling Malone with the decoy assassin (cleverly inverting Malone’s gun vs. knife with shotgun vs. Tommy gun) suggest Loki’s shape-shifting, while his Loki-like boasting about Malone’s death will lead to his own demise, and Ness’s triumph.

    Malone’s death, then, is a self-sacrifice, and just as Wotan’s sacrifice leads to knowledge of the runes, both of these deaths are related to communication in some way, an appropriate role for the dead.

    Nitti has hung Wallace’s body in the elevator, suggesting one of the odd ways Loki would “assist” Wotan, and used his blood to smear the message “touchable” on the elevator wall, reminding Ness of his mortality. Malone, despite losing about 90% of his blood, is still able to gasp out the train information, but more importantly, he inspires Ness; first, when Ness discovers him and Malone asks, “What are you prepared to do?” and later, when Nitti makes the mistake of mocking his ridiculously bloody death, leading us to see just what Ness in fact is prepared to do. Like Obi-Wan, Malone is even able to inspire Ness after what we would call “death.”

    The Train Station sequence, while the final bravura set piece, is really quite dispensable. De Palma added it to Mamet’s script[35] perhaps to show Ness is still capable of defending “family values” despite his increasingly outlaw status,[36] or to re-enforce our memory of the child’s death at the beginning, as well as the threats to Ness’ family; or just as a homage to Eisenstein.

    The Law on Trial: “Your Honor, Is this Justice?”

    Using the knowledge provided by Wallace and Malone, Ness is able to bring Capone to trial, but perhaps not to justice; the judicial system is as corrupt as the police.

    Nitti seems to have the stupid ball now; in other words, some kind of karmic payback for his previous cleverness. First, he stupidly lets Ness spot his gun in the courtroom (even Ness mumbles an incredulous “Unbelievable”), which gives him a perfectly good excuse to have him removed and searched, which yields the list of bribed jurors. Then, Nitti hands over a matchbook that links him to Malone’s death. (What? Has he been carrying it around for weeks?) Panicking, Nitti steals a gun, shoots a cop, and makes his escape up the stairs to the roof. (Has this ever worked out in movies?)

    After failing to escape from the roof by — stupidly — climbing down the ivy-covered building (another Eden connection), Ness captures Nitti by successfully executing the same trick, using his superior shamanic powers of deathlessness and shape-shifting. He rolls over the edge of the building, and when Nitti — stupidly — ambles over to check out the corpse, Ness, in corpse pose, has the drop on him.

    Ness seems willing to let the system take over at this point, but in a final Act of Stupid, Nitti decides have a little Loki-like laugh about Malone’s death:

    Nitti: I said that your friend died screaming like a stuck Irish pig. Now you think about that while I beat the rap. (Nitti is now doubling Stone, who called Malone “a stinking Irish pig.”)

    Which causes Ness to revert to full Berserker mode, frog-marching Nitti right off the roof, and shape-shifting him into Malone:

     Nitti: [Screaming as he falls to his death]

    Ness: Did he sound like that?

    As he falls, Nitti not only shrieks like a little girl, he flaps his arms wildly, as if trying to transform into a white bird against the bright blue sky (or blue screen). But his shamanic powers to fly or shape-shift have been misplaced along with his wisdom.

    It’s conceivable that Malone’s death was an elaborate scheme to not only lead Ness to Nitti but insure he would be enraged enough to kill him outright. As Grimsson has pointed out, the member of Odin’s band, the initiate, is already dead, and so does not fear death.

    From the alchemical thriller, Red Dragon:

    Dr. Frederick Chilton: You caught him. What was your trick?

    Will Graham: I let him kill me.

    Now Ness has to finish with Capone. Knowing about the bribed jurors, Ness the Trickster bluffs the judge into thinking Ness knows his name is in Capone’s coded ledger, and the judge responds by executing the largest shape-shifting yet:

    Judge: Bailiff, I want you to go next door to Judge Hawton’s court, where they’ve just begun hearing a divorce action. I want you to bring that jury in here, and take this jury to his court. Bailiff, are those instructions clear?

    Bailiff: [puzzled] Yes, sir, they’re . . . clear . . .

    Capone: [to his attorney] What’s he talking about? What is it?

    Judge: Bailiff, I want you to switch the juries.

    Bailiff: Yes sir.

    Defense Attorney: Your honor, I object!

    Judge: Overruled!

    Remember, Capone is in a civil court, for tax evasion; not murder, but now he will face a family court jury, since in the film’s terms he is guilty of the child’s death at the beginning, the child whose mother asked Ness for justice.

    Capone’s attorney reacts by switching his plea to guilty (unlike the jury switching, not really a possible defense motion at this point, but whatever, this is a philosophical fiction) and, as the cliché has it, the courtroom “explodes.”

    Ness has achieved his shamanic purpose: he and his androphilic band has inverted reality, ripping the facade off society, and even turned back time. We are back at the beginning of the movie. The elite courtroom of false justice explodes, not the bar full of honest working people. Frank Nitti has exploded into a pile of bloody flesh in the back of a car, not the little girl who found his bomb in the bar. Capone, who we first met telling us that there was no violence in Chicago, at least “not by me,” is now swinging punches wildly, like a common juvenile delinquent.

    Capone: I’m askin’ Your Honor, is this justice?

    Better he should ask the child’s mother, or Ness’ family in hiding.

    “Here endeth the lesson.”

    In the aftermath, Ness is cleaning out his office, and finds Malone’s call box key, with its religious medal, St. Jude, patron saint of police and lost causes (“God, I’m with a heathen” Malone had said when having to explain it to Ness). Ness gives it to Stone: “He’d wanted a cop to have it.” Apparently, while Ness is moving on, back with his family (choosing The Path of the Ancestors), Stone will remain.

    Here we uncover a final Männerbund: the Twelve Disciples (there were 11 Untouchables in reality, the 12 minus Judas). Stone, born Giuseppe Petri, has received the key(s), and upon this rock a new, uncorrupt police force and cleansed society will be built, safe for Ness and his family to return.[37]

    We’ve learned that the Männerbund is not an archaic, literally primitive feature of Aryan culture in a dead past, as the Christians and secular “Progressives” would have us believe (conveniently for them) but an eternal principle, which can always and anywhere be re-accessed and re-created when needed. As Krishna said, in a verse frequently quoted by Savitri Devi:

     yada yada hi dharmasya
    glanir bhavati bharata
    abhyutthanam adharmasya
    tadatmanam srjamy aham

    Whenever there is decline of righteousness
    and rise of unrighteousness;
    To protect the virtuous, to destroy the wicked and
    to re-establish Dharma,
    I manifest myself, through the ages.[38]

    Notes

    1. For example, “It isn’t ancient Sparta (like 300), or The Trojan War (as in Troy). But make no mistake, De Palma brings to The Untouchables the same archetypal flourishes we might reasonably expect in any cinematic depiction of those legends. He transforms real historical figures into larger-than-life scoundrels, saints, and angels. As dramatized by De Palma, The Untouchables is nothing less than the Timeless Heroic Poem of Avenger Eliot Ness.” See John Kenneth Muir’s Reflections on Film/TV, Friday, July 31, 2009, at http://tinyurl.com/yf2psv7 [4].

    2. I want to emphasize that these reflections are based on the Brian de Palma film, not the 1950s TV show, the autobiography Ness wrote near his death to make money for his family, or “actual” history, whatever that is. For what it’s worth, “the real Al Capone and Eliot Ness never met face-to-face; there were 11 “Untouchables” who all lived after Prohibition; but most notably, the real Frank Nitti lived several years after Capone’s conviction, rather than being thrown off a roof by Ness” (tvtropes.org [5]). Incredibly, though, the most absurd scene (other than the train station shoot-out), namely, the switching of the juries, really did happen. As Aristotle said, art was more true than history, as it narrates what ought to be.

    The script is by David Mamet, who here, and in Glengarry Glen Ross, shows a most un-Judaic, perhaps unconscious, understanding of male group dynamics.

    Finally, it needs to be pointed out that it is emblematic of the misunderstanding, at times perhaps deliberate, of Tradition by Westerners and Westernized Hindus like Gandhi, to portray as “untouchables” the supposedly downtrodden lowest castes. Actually, the Untouchable was the highest caste, the Brahmin. See Alain Daniélou, The Way to the Labyrinth: Memories of East and West, (New York: New Directions, 1987), p. 137, where he adds “One of the most typical characteristics of the European mentality is the ability to present everything backwards.”

    3. Hans Blüher: Wandervogel. Geschichte einer Jugendbewegung. (Berlin-Tempelhof, 191/23); Die Rolle der Erotik in der männlichen Gesellschaft: Eine Theorie der Menschlichen Staatsbildung (Jena, 1917/19). Neither has ever appeared in English, other than a few excerpts, but see Alisdair Clarke’s “Hans Blüher and the Wandervogel,” a talk from sixth New Right meeting in London, February 2006, available at http://tinyurl.com/24cwn5f [6].

    4. “It was this Männerbund, in which the qualification of “man” had simultaneously an initiatory (i.e. sacred) and a warrior meaning, that wielded the power in the social group or clan. This Männerbund was characterized by special tasks and responsibilities; it was different from all other societies to which members of the tribe belonged. In this primordial scheme we find the fundamental ‘categories’ differentiating the political order from the ‘social’ order. First among these is a special chrism – namely, that proper to ‘man’ in the highest sense of the word (vir was the term employed in Roman times) and not merely a generic homo: this condition is marked by a spiritual breakthrough and by detachment from the naturalistic and vegetative plane. Its integration is power, the principle of command belonging to the Männerbund. We could rightfully see in this one of the ‘constants’ (i.e. basic ideas) that in very different applications, formulations and derivations are uniformly found in theory or, better, in the metaphysics of the State that was professed even by the greatest civilizations of the past.” See Julius Evola, Men Among the Ruins., trans. Guido Stucco (Rochester, Vt.: Inner Traditions, 2002).

    5. All available at http://lulu.com/spotlight/lokisway [7]. Grimsson, by the way, agrees with Aristotle when it comes to dealing with history: truth is “more often than not in myth legends, traditions and symbols; literal history needs to be decoded by it, not vice versa” (p. 19).

    6. Grimsson, p. 7.

    7. Grimsson, p. 89.

    8. Grimsson, p. 7.

    10. One could argue, in another essay, that the particular law, Prohibition, was itself responsible for the breakdown in respect for the Law as such, as well as providing the entrée for Capone. In this way, Prohibition is a synecdoche for the Judeo-Christianity which brought about the regression of the castes, or degeneration of the functions, by demonizing the Männerbund (Judaism’s well-known and unique ‘homophobia’). See Grimsson, ch. 6. In addition, not only did ordinary citizens learn to fraternize with criminals, they also became accustomed to hobnobbing with Jews, the financier and businessman par excellence, and even welcoming them into their homes. Once more, the small town Protestant, in their war against big city immigrants, shot themselves in the foot.

    11. Tony Tanner, “Introduction” to the Oxford World Classics edition of Moby Dick (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), p. xix.

    12. Jack Donovan, The Way of Men (Portland, Or.: Dissonant Hum, 2012).

    13. “. . . the point is that a ‘group’ is the beginning of everything. One man can do nothing, can attain nothing. A group with a real leader can do more. A group of people can do what one man can never do.” — G. I. Gurdjieff, quoted in by P. D. Ouspensky’s In Search of the Miraculous: Fragments of an Unknown Teaching (New York: Harcourt, 1949), p. 30.

    14. In Search of the Miraculous, p. 222.

    15. While Connery won his only Oscar for the role, his performance has been voted “Worst Movie Accent of All Time” in several surveys over the years; in 2009, his runner up was co-star Kevin Costner, for Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. See http://tinyurl.com/boy79nv [8]

    16. Grimsson, p. 65.

    17. Grimsson, p. 79.

    18. Interestingly, the real Capone was married, like the standard Mafia “family man,” but in the movie we see no women anywhere around him or his mob, and Capone lives in sybaritic splendor in a swank hotel suite. Malone also lives alone, but in a rundown apartment; also like Capone, his listens to opera, but on a gramophone, not at a meet-and-greet with Caruso. Unlike Capone, or Ness, he cooks for himself, and even serves Ness tea; all somewhat unmanly traits by the social standards of the time, but right at home in the world of the Männerbund.

    19. Grimsson, pp. 90–91.

    20. Greg Johnson, Confessions of a Reluctant Hater (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2010), pp. 12–13.

    21. Donovan, The Way of Men, ch. 2.

    22. Grimsson, p. 95.

    23. Grimsson, p. 90.

    24. Grimsson, p. 93.

    25. Grimsson, p. 94.

    26. Grimsson, p. 36.

    27. Grimsson, p. 90.

    28. Grimsson, p. 97.

    29. Grimsson, p. 98.

    30. Grimsson, p. 101.

    31. Discussing this “Language of the Birds,” René Guénon recalls that in the Gospels the “birds of the air” that settle in the branches of the tree that grows from the mustard seed of faith, represent angels in various levels of the spiritual hierarchy, the tree itself being the World Tree which links all the levels, bringing us back to Odin’s hanging, the bridge at the border, which like the tree is a means of changing states, and even the airplane flight with which the sequence opens. See The Sword of Gnosis: Metaphysics, Cosmology, Tradition, Symbolism, ed. by Jacob Needleman (New York: Penguin, 1988), pp. 299–300.

    32. Malone’s literally operatic death has been mocked endlessly; even Connery refused to do more than two takes, saying it epitomized “everything he hates about moviemaking.” See the analysis at The Movie Deaths Database: http://www.moviedeaths.com/untouchables,_the/jim_malone/ [9]

    33. Baron Evola observed that the Magus, despite his powers, may appear poor, downtrodden, or even in danger of death or injury in this realm, precisely because of his achievements in the higher realms, due to the law of cosmic compensation.

    34. Nitti is the shape-shifting Malone’s own double. He’s dressed entirely in white, which is a nice flipping of conventions, like Henry Fonda’s blue-eyed killer, also named Frank, in Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America, also scored by Morricone. It works nicely cinematically, as his stark white figure is seen yet barely registered on the edges of his crimes, but not so well against the blue screen in his fall. As played by B-movie favorite Billy Drago, he takes the womanless Capone gang over the edge into effeminacy, although perhaps he’s just European. (Later he’ll play the call-boy that ruins Steven Lang’s life in that monument to despair, Last Exit to Brooklyn.) When a bailiff puts a hand on his shoulder, he shakes it off with the haughty annoyance of a drag queen dismissing an unwanted bar patron. He suggests both the feminine and the reptilian, and thus the snake in the Garden, thus forbidden knowledge, and ultimately his own Fall. He is the Evil Tutor to the Evil Männerbund, just as the real Frank Nitti was not a killer but more of a consigliore. (While red-haired Tom Hagen was always shown as a family man, in accordance with the Don’s views, the balding actor, Robert Duvall, suggests a kind of James Carville snakiness.)

    35. “That cockamamie baby carriage”; see “David Mamet Talks About The Untouchables on Tax Day” by Ben Kenber of Yahoo Voices at http://voices.yahoo.com/david-mamet-talks-untouchables-5905806.html?cat=2 [10]

    36. “Ness collects a small bunch of would-be vigilante cops (vigilante in the sense that since the rest of the force is corruptly suckling on the teat of organized crime payouts, their righteousness could be considered transgressive)” — Eric Henderson on October 4, 2004 http://www.slantmagazine.com/dvd/review/the-untouchables/463 [11]

    37. If assimilating the Apostles to the warrior band seems forced, it is, like the switched juries, absurdly real. Christianity was presented to the Germanic tribes in the form of a revamped gospel story, the Heliand, in which Jesus leads his warriors on raids between Fort Rome and Fort Jerusalem. See G. Ronald Murphy, S.J., The Saxon Savior: The Germanic Transformation of the Gospel in the Ninth-Century Heliand (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995) and James Russell, The Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity: A Sociohistorical Approach to Religious Transformation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996).

    38. Bhagavad-Gita, Chapter 4, Verse 7.

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Of Costner, Corpses, & Conception:Mother’s Day Meditations on The Untouchables & The Big Chill
    [1]

    Isabel Samaras, "Behold"

    2,864 words

    Okay, I missed Mother’s Day, but hey, every day’s a holiday for the unemployed! So, in the holiday spirit, I offer some Second Thoughts on a couple of films recently discussed here.

    Malone’s Death

    Readers of my review [2] of The Untouchables as an intiatic work will recall that I was somewhat puzzled by the reasons for Malone’s death. I speculated that he had sacrificed himself, rather like Odin, to further Ness’s initiatory journey.

    I was recently re-reading an essay by “Abraxas” (Ercole Quadrelli) collected by Baron Evola in the first volume of his Introduction to Magic, viz. “Three Ways.”

    You must generate— first by imagining and then by realizing it—a superior principle confronting everything you usually are (e.g., an instinctive life, thoughts, feelings). This principle must be able to control, contemplate, and measure what you are, in a clear knowledge, moment by moment. There will be two of you: yourself standing before “the other.” Then you will know the meaning of “inner dialogues,” the inward commanding and obeying, the inward asking for and obtaining of advice, as in the case of many Christian and Muslim mystics, and similarly reflected in many Hindu texts that were compiled in dialogue form; the characters depicted in them are not real persons, but are seen by a skilled disciple as two parts of his own soul.

    All in all, the work consists of a “reversal”: you have to turn the “other” into “me” and the “me” into the “other.”

    Then, in contrast to the mystical, or Christian, path, where the Other remains Other, and the Self remains in the feminine position of need and desire,

    In the magical, dry, or solar way, you will create a duality in your being not in an unconscious and passive manner (as the mystic does), but consciously and willingly; you will shift directly on the higher part and identify yourself with that superior and subsistent principle, whereas the mystic tends to identify with his lower part, in a relationship of need and of abandonment.

    Slowly but gradually, you will strengthen this “other” (which is yourself) and create for it a supremacy, until it knows how to dominate all the powers of the natural part and master them totally.

    Then,

    the entire being, ready and compliant, reaffirms itself, digests and lets itself be digested, leaving nothing behind. (1)

    In short, as the New Agers like to say, if you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.

    If Malone is a projection of Ness, embodying what Ness knows about being a man, but manifested as an external being able to function as a teacher and then dismissed (like Tyler Durden in Fight Club), this would not only be consistent with the shape-shifting and other shamanic attributes of Malone, but also explain most of the oddities I called attention to. How do they just happen to meet on a bridge at Ness’s point of greatest need? If, as Malone himself says, the whole police force is corrupt, why does Ness trust Malone himself?

    And above all, why does Malone, an Irish cop, speak in a quasi-Scottish brogue? Because Ness, the ur-Norwegian Midwesterner, has probably never heard a real Irishman; Ness has just arrived in Chicago; talkies were only recently invented; even Cagney’s The Public Enemy won’t be released until after he leaves in 1931.

    She’s Having My Baby

    Speaking of Kevin Costner playing dead, I also failed to point out that Costner made his big screen debut playing a corpse. This was in The Big Chill, where the opening credits play over a body being dressed for viewing. According to the commentary track by the writer-director, Lawrence Kasdan,(2), Costner was to portray Alex, the erstwhile leader of the gang back at the U of M whose suicide brings them back together for the funeral. These flashbacks were the first scenes shot — the whole film was made in chronological order for effect — but Kasdan decided to scrap them and only deal with present time. As a sop, Costner was given the unaccredited role of Alex’s corpse.

    Kasdan’ commentary goes on to state that audiences were supposed to be fooled, thinking that a woman was dressing a man for a formal event, perhaps Glenn Close and Kevin Kline, as just seen in the previous sequence, and then the last shot was a “reveal” of the sutured wrist of the corpse. Perhaps I had seen a review beforehand, but I don’t recall ever being fooled that way, always taking it to be Alex’s corpse. On Kasdan’s interpretation, though, we have another layer: not only is (real) Costner playing a (fake) corpse, but the (fake) corpse is playing a (fake) Costner.

    Readers will also recall that I previously discussed, briefly, The Big Chill in “The Gilmore Girls Occupy Wall St.” but only in the context of what might be called Liberal Psycho-Geography, their strange preference for living in small towns, even rural communities, once they have been cleansed of those dirty White Others who actually created the towns and communities.

    In the case of the sad sacks gathered at Alex’s funeral, they were only happy living together back in Ann Arbor, under the charismatic leadership of Alex, some kind of sophomore Tim Leary or Mark Rudd (these would have been the deleted Costner scenes). Now, his suicide has brought them back together in a similar locus, the conveniently large house of the most adult couple among them, now living in conveniently rural but Yuppie-friendly South Carolina.(3)

    The gang is clearly some kind of Männerbund, now bereft of their spiritual leader. But it’s an unusual one, multi-sexual and multi-ethnic,(4) and above all, a fake and a failure.(5)

    Nick: Wise up, folks. We’re all alone out there and tomorrow we’re going out there again.

    Rather than the more obviously Männerbund-ish features, I’d like to focus on something at first glance entirely different: Sarah has the bright idea to solve Meg’s worries about never finding a man to have a child with, by loaning her husband, Harold.

    In my previous essay, I passed this off as an ostentatious, Bloomsbury-like nose-thumbing of “bourgeois morality.” Oddly enough, Hans Blüher, the theorist of the Männerbund, provides a more interesting perspective.

    Through Wulf Grimsson, whose work we drew on for our Untouchables review, I’ve obtained one of the few English translations of one of Blüher’s public lectures, in which he lays out his theory of sexuality, the family and the Männerbund.

    In “Family and Male Fraternity,” he discusses at one point the role of creativity in responding to the demands of new situations. Traditions, to be vital, must respond to new conditions, and in the process, what once were sins may become moral, as they facilitate the creation of a new tradition. (One thinks perhaps of Carl Schmitt’s doctrine of the Exception.) In considering the modern problems besetting the tradition of monogamy, Blüher spurns the advocates of “free love” as not having thought out and found a creative solution to the practical problems, such as jealousy. Here he writes:

    Jealousy is the will to have an exclusive right on the sexual partner and illustrates all over again the myth of the human being cut in two and deprived of his other half. Because after all there can only be one other half! Jealousy is really the destructive element within a polygamous marriage. Jealousy can never be eliminated by affectionate persuasions, by calming appeasements or any kind of rational arrangement, but only by a great creative act of the Eros itself. Let me give a comparison from German philosophy. Arthur Schopenhauer speaks at several points in his work of so-called “conversions.” A criminal, who is just going to the scaffold and who until recently has had no remorse for his crime, is suddenly enlightened. . . .

    A man is not purified through a gradual diminution of sin — to believe this would just be muddled ignorance and rationalism — but through a sudden change of his whole nature. The bigger his sin was, the more he is purified. The same thing can happen with jealousy.

    Jealousy is the real sin against the creative Eros. In the case of exceptional women, there are rare moments where this usually destructive passion can turn around, can place itself into the service of the former rival and can increase the love of two women for the man whom they both love. On such a basis the will of the man is creating the sacrament of polygamy. Without this sacrament, which the Greeks called (mysterion), all polygamous relationships are doomed to end in the most distressful disaster. Something permanent can only come about where a sacrament (a mystery in the Greek sense) stands between people, where devotion, sacrifice and service are involved. Polygamy needs a state of grace and cannot be “made.”

    Are Meg and Sarah such exceptional women? (Note Blüher’s use of the Schmittian term.) Sarah, despite her marriage, children, and homemaking, and her general “earth mother” portrayal,(6) and Meg, despite her distinctly non-hip obsession with finding a man to have a child with (which would be mocked as ’60s stupidity on Mad Men today), are both played by decidedly “mannish” actresses. Glenn Close won her very first Oscar this year, for a role in which she portrays a woman living as a man, while Mary Kay Place eventually “came out” as a lesbian.

    When she first arrives, Meg wears neither the ’80s shoulder-padded woman’s “power suit” nor the later Hilary-style “pants suit” but what looks like a boy’s suit, complete with white shirt, striped tie, and attache case — in the contemporaneous Official Preppy Handbook, women were advised to check out the boy’s department at Brooks Brothers for appropriate attire.

    She and Richard are the only ones dressed like real grown up men, and both have thought a lot about what a man should be. Like Richard’s late night speech, she provides a surprisingly contemporary meditation on modern manhood:

    Meg: They’re either married or gay. And if they’re not gay, they’ve just broken up with the most wonderful woman in the world, or they’ve just broken up with a bitch who looks exactly like me. They’re in transition from a monogamous relationship, and they need more space. Or they’re tired of space, but they just can’t commit. Or they want to commit, but they’re afraid to get close. They want to get close, you don’t want to get near them.

    Finding no acceptable men, Meg has had to become a man, or a facsimile thereof, just as Costner’s Ness had to learn how to become a man by creating his own double, the wise and honest Malone.

    Meg: It’s a cold world out there. Sometimes I feel like I’m getting a little frosty myself.

    As Capone says, “If you were a man, you’d have done it.” And we know what “doing it” means. As Blüher says, “Where is the important man who would be content with just one woman?”(7)

    Meg accepts Sarah’s offer of Harold only as last resort, having considered and dismissed all the inadequate man-children available that weekend (including a “return engagement” with the Jew, Michael). Her choice, adultery if not quite a ménage à trois, is made to further a higher tradition, motherhood.

    It’s even possible, though it passes as a joke, that Meg’s wisdom was what killed Alex:

    Meg: The last time I spoke with Alex, we had a fight. I yelled at him.
    Nick: That’s probably why he killed himself. . . . What was the argument about?
    Meg: I told him he was wasting his life.

    In The Untouchables, Costner’s Ness conjures up an authentic teacher of manhood and then kills him off when no longer needed for the task of re-establishing the ideal of justice. In The Big Chill, Costner plays a fake guru — or perhaps, a Guru of Fakeness — who is killed off by Meg, in order for her to set up the funeral weekend where she will finally conceive a child. Meg is the authentic Shaman, who can shape-shift across gender lines and break traditional vows — monogamy — in order to pursue a higher calling: motherhood.

    Notes

    1. Julius Evola, Introduction to Magic (Rochester, Vt.: Inner Traditions, 2001), pp. 88-91. The process of “cultivating” the Other as part of the process of initiation is referenced in The Silence of the Lambs, where Buffalo Bill cultivates a rare species of moth: “Somebody grew this guy, fed him honey and nightshade, kept him warm. Somebody loved him.”

    2. Kasdan was one of the most bankable men in Hollywood, and thus able to make this more personal project, due to his work on Raiders of the Lost Ark, which connects him to Sean Connery, who plays Indiana’s father in the later sequel, The Last Crusade, which is based on the figure of Otto Rahn, author of Crusade Against the Grail and Himmler’s pet grailologist; suspected of disloyalty and homosexuality, he wound up a corpse as well, committing a Cathar-style suicide in the frozen Alps, like Alex before the Big Chill starts in.

    3. Kline and Close are adults because, not only are they married homeowners with children, all this is possible because he has set up a company, “ironically” called Running Dog, which seems to be on the ground floor of the running shoe phenomenon. The Big House, subservient locals — even the infamous “Southern Sheriff” is a friend and “some kinda guy” — and no doubt slave labor abroad for products sold to inner city youth strongly suggests some kind of Southern antebellum fantasy. But we know he’s a “good guy” because Procul Harum and Motown are “the only kind of music here.” Kline angrily announces “I’m dug in here” while, unlike the “12 Southerners” who defended agrarian rootedness in I’ll Take My Stand, wearing a “Michigan” sweatshirt. As I mentioned before, this shot is perhaps the iconic Modern Liberal, and I like to imagine his shirt has a Made in Thailand tag.

    4. Jeff Goldblum plays what can only be called “a Real New York Jew” (Annie Hall) and is consequently intensely unlikable, unlike his later roles as gawky but sympathetic and even heroic (The Fly, Jurassic Park, Independence Day), or indeed any Jew’s movie portrayal since about 1945.

    Michael: Everyone does everything just to get laid.
    Karen: Who said that? Freud?
    Michael: No, I did.

    Michael: That’s the great thing about the outdoors, it’s one giant toilet.

    Harold: (preparing to order shoes for everyone) Feet grow as you get older.
    Michael: I wish everything did.

    Despite his smarmy approaches to every woman around, he is the only character to not manage to get laid that weekend.

    5. The complete failure of their lives, most dramatically Alex himself, might lead one to question his bona fides as a guru, but like most Liberals, what they’ve learned is mostly an intense self-regard, which makes it impossible to “check their premises” as Ayn Rand used to say. Jo Beth William’s square, stodgy husband, played by Don Galloway — I remember thinking, hey, it’s that guy from Ironside!– delivers the only words of wisdom in the film — no one every said it was supposed to be easy.

    Richard: [Richard is having a late-night snack while talking to Sam and Nick] There’s some asshole at work you have to kowtow to, and you find yourself doing things you thought you’d never do. But you try and minimize that stuff; be the best person you can be. But you set your priorities. And that’s the way life is. I wonder if your friend Alex knew that. One thing’s for sure, he couldn’t live with it. I know I shouldn’t talk; you guys knew him. But the thing is . . . no one ever said it would be fun. At least . . . no one ever said it to me.

    That’s because he didn’t have the misfortune of falling under Alex’s spell, with Alex’s fake-Zen “ironic” non-sequiturs:

    Nick: I know what Alex would say.
    Harold: What?
    Nick: What’s for dessert?

    His insomnia may be supposed to indicate one of those “sublimated” conditions Frankfurt Schooled Leftists like to postulate to explain why their opponents happily ignore them, but I would suggest it hints at a natural talent for vigils and contacting the Jungian active imagination, source of wisdom. No one pays attention to him, of course. William Hurt’s insufferable character just walks away when first introduced to him, and he is shipped home to Detroit to take care of the kids so that Williams can finally sleep with, and be disappointed with, her old flame. But before he goes he both predicts her disillusionment with Sam and hints at the essential fakeness of this group: “I can’t believe these are the same people you’ve been talking about all these years.”

    6. Close in the film bears a strong resemblance to ’60s female icon Carole King — who wrote the theme to, and appears occasionally in, The Gilmore Girls! Cringingly but all too appropriately, King’s “You make me feel like a natural woman” is the music of Meg and Harold’s coupling, although, also in keeping with the proto-SWPL atmosphere, it’s Aretha Franklin’s version — so much more earthy!

    7. A similar triangle occurs in the WWII German film Opfergang; see Derek Hawthorne’s “Opfergang: Masterpiece of National Socialist Cinema, here [3].

     

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Essential Films . . . & Others
    [1]

    Edward Hopper, New York Movie, 1939

    3,774 words

    Looking over Trevor Lynch’s list of his “Ten Favorite Films [2]” in his forthcoming collection, Son of Trevor Lynch’s White Nationalist Guide to the Movies, it occurred to me that I couldn’t possibly put together such a list, even if I could decide on a criterion or two.

    I then remembered that Elmer O’Brien, S.J., in introducing his Essential Plotinus, faced a similar difficulty and suggested that there was an “essential” Plotinus as Coleridge had said there was an “essential’ poetry: “that to which with the greatest pleasure the reader returns.”[1] And I recalled that when I finally broke down and bought a DVD player, around 2005, I made a similar rule, to buy discs for movies that I was again and again stopping to watch if they showed up on my cable TV guide.

    With the thought that some Counter-Currents readers might find it somewhat diverting, I have put together a little list of such “essential” films, the ones that I constantly default to. Constant Readers will recognize a few, since they are the films whose Constant Viewing has inspired one or more essays here at Counter-Currents, which are linked below. 

    Casino [3] (Martin Scorsese) — Like Leone, Scorsese is a master of what I like to call bravura filmmaking (de Niro’s barroom entrance in Mean Streets, Ray Liotta’s Copacabana entrance, Henry Hill’s last day of freedom in Goodfellas, etc.); Welles’s movie studio as “the best train set a boy every got.” The usual bag of tricks are here: goofy but murderous gangsters, explanations of how the money is made, etc. On repeated viewings, it’s the story of Ace and Sharon Stone’s marriage. “I’ve found a new sponsor” is the epitaph for the New Liberated Woman of the ’70s. But all the critics saw was “another Goodfellas.” Even the pop music cues are here, but what’s memorable is Howard Shore’s score, channeling Samuel Barber, linking Videodrome to Lord of the Rings. You might think I’d choose Gangs of New York, but despite its merits I find I only return to the final time-lapse of downtown Manhattan, and for that I have Once Upon a Time in America.

    JFK [4] (Oliver Stone) — Love the re-creation of ’60s USA. Thematically, Stone sets out to rip the lid off the Kennedy Assassination, but was eventually sold on the least plausible theory — Jim Garrison’s Theory of Guilt by Geographical Proximity — making his film a covertly pro-Warren Commission psy-op.

    Along the way, though, Stone gives some of Hollywood’s best actors the chance to regale us with the most extreme political opinions you’ll ever hear on screen — “Lou Grant” isn’t so cuddly was he drinks to the death of “a bullshit President . . . That’s what happens when you let the niggers vote. They get together with the Jews and the Catholics . . . and elect an Irish bleeding heart . . . Here’s to the New Frontier. Camelot in smithereens.”

    I love Garrison’s idea of a covert squad of right-wing homosexual spooks running guns to Cuba and generally doing more for the cause of the Right than 50 years of “conservative” politicking, while Kevin Bacon steals the movie by channeling Francis Parker Yockey through a male hustler: “You a liberal, you don’t know shit ’cause you never been fucked in the ass. This ain’t about justice! No, this is about order! Who rules? Fascism is coming back!” As always, only the bad guys get to talk sense. I wonder if Yockey sounded like that in jail?

    Kiss Me Deadly [5] (Robert Aldrich) — An Angry Liberal attempt to rub out Mickey Spillane’s “sadistic fascist” Mike Hammer goes wildly astray and winds up being condemned by the Legion of Decency; as if American Sniper had been intended as an anti-war protest film. Blindingly over-exposed night views of ’50s Los Angeles, seemingly after a super-nova, all boiling acid and chrome. But nothing can outshine the satanic brilliance of Gaby Rogers, Husserl’s niece and Anne Frank’s playmate, as the most fatal femme fatale of all; her eyes are like jellied fire and burn through the screen long before she sets herself, and the film, ablaze with an ending (in the original or now restored version) stolen from Ed Wood’s Bride of the Monster. “Kiss me, Mike. I want you to kiss me. Kiss me. The liar’s kiss that says I love you, and means something else.” Bang! (See my “Mike Hammer, Occult Dick: Kiss Me Deadly as Lovecraftian Tale [6],” reprinted in The Eldritch Evola . . . & Others [7].)

    The Maltese Falcon [8] (John Huston) — Again, three versions, but only one worth seeing. The first is interesting as a pre-code film that ramps up the sleaziness of Sam Spade; the second tries to be a screwball comedy, starring forgotten matinee idol Warren Williams and Bette Davis, who quit the studio in disgust. Third time around, everything is perfect. Especially the finest ensemble cast ever. Mary Astor essentially plays herself, the 1940s Drew Barrymore. Bogart creates the template for modern Aryan manhood, while interacting with three modes of queer: loudmouthed but incompetent Elisha Cooke, Jr., the archetypal runt (“The cheaper the hood the gaudier the patter” sneers Spade); effeminate but surprisingly competent Peter Lorre (“I intend to search your offices.” “Go ahead, I won’t stop you.”); and Sidney Greenstreet’s wise elder (“I care for you as if you were my own son. But, well, you can always get another son, but there is only one Maltese Falcon.”) (See my “Humphrey Bogart: Man Among the Cockroaches [9],” reprinted in The Homo and the Negro [10].)

    Manhunter [11] (Michael Mann) — I like everything about this film that people don’t like. Yes, the music is “from the ’80s.” It takes place in the ’80s, what kind of music do you expect, ragtime? Not only time-appropriate, it sets up Mann’s brilliant use of the non-diagetic “In a Gadda Da Vida” to represent the Tooth Fairy’s consciousness, trapped in the endlessly repeating past. And, I happen to like ’80s music; what critics mean is “the last time white music was allowed on the radio.” (In today’s “culture,” music, like athletics, is off-limits to whites). In general, it supplies my diet of the ’80s without having to choose Scarface (for which the same idiots want a remake using rap music).

    As for Hopkins vs. Cox, the argument is moot, since they are in different film universes. Demme went for the easy Grand-Guignol approach, and so Hopkins is doing Phantom of the Opera (Boo!); Mann has chosen the actual but unreal world of Miami Vice, and so Cox is the smug, Bill Murray type guy who sits next to you on the train, strikes up a conversation about nothing, and the next thing you know you’re tied up in his basement.

    Speaking of Phantom of the Opera, Tom Doonan’s Tooth Fairy is the archetypal psycho (though ironically Lambs’  Ted Levine is one of Mann’s rep players; Demme also recasts a policeman from Manhunter as Barney the orderly, as if Hopkins needs to be surrounded by Mann’s actors).

    The shot of Doonan from above, holding Reba’s hand over his scarred mouth — where, in a remarkable bit of acting by Tom Noonan, directing by Michael Mann, cinematography by Dante (!) Spinotti (and yes, scoring by Shriekback’s The Big Hush), we seem to see his entire face collapse into a kind of corpse or skull (referencing the subliminal ending of Psycho), as the realization sinks in that he has found a fellow human, but it is too late, his stupid “killing and posing the victims to conjure up social acceptance” idea has doomed him already — is worth the whole Hopkins trilogy.

    (See my “Thanks for Watching: Awakening Through Repetition in Groundhog Day, Point of Terror, & Manhunter, Part 1 [12]” and “Phil & Will: Awakening Through Repetition in Groundhog Day, Point of Terror, & Manhunter, Part 2 [13].”)

    North by Northwest [14] (Alfred Hitchcock) — The whole New York sequence is Mad Men [15] in real time. But overall, a time capsule of period when the rest of the country still existed; escaping a manhunt via train! (Ed Platt and that guy who spots Cary Grant at the station will later star in another train caper in Chicago film, the awful The Rebel Set). “George Caplan”’s itinerary of classy hotels: Philadelphia, “Dee-troit,” and even “Rapid City, South Dakota” (although James Mason does seem a little puzzled by it). Even the latter is home to Van Dam’s luxurious lair, a Bond villain hangout designed by Frank Lloyd Wright; Joseph Wiseman will shamelessly plagiarize Martin Landau’s ambiguously gay henchman for his own Dr. No.

    Once Upon a Time in America [16] (Sergio Leone) — Supposedly Leone was sick of Hollywood making movies about Italian gangsters, and decided to remake Godfather II from Hyman Roth’s perspective. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West suggest themselves as well, and if they were shorter I might try the same stunt as with my combo of Rope/Dial M, but I don’t really return to them for more than a few scenes in each.

    Like Ambersons, it was taken away and butchered by the studio, who re-edited it into chronological order (like Coppola’s “special edition” of the Godfather Saga), the awful result thereby proving the superiority of Leone’s Einsteinian storytelling; if you really can’t follow it, you’re too young to be going to movies by yourself.

    A meditation on the presence of the past in the present that needs no fancy “sci-fi” trappings. “All that we have left now are our memories.” We first see James Woods as a charred corpse in 1933, but his eventual reveal in the present (1966) is more heartbreaking than any Phantom of the Opera, rivalling Tom Doonan’s in Manhunter (even though we see it coming a mile away; and it’s not his fault the old-makeup is on a level with Kane’s), as is De Niro’s quiet decision to, for the first time in his life, not resort to violence, preferring to keep living with the memory of Max as a friend (“You see, I have a story too, Mr. Bailey. I had a friend once. A dear friend. I turned him in to save his life. He died. But he wanted it that way. Things went bad for my friend, and they went bad for me, too.”) rather than admit Max’s incredible betrayal (“I took away your whole life from you. I’ve been living in your place. I took everything. I took your money. I took your girl. All I left for you was years of grief over having killed me. Now, why don’t you shoot?” — seemingly referenced in Casino: “Why protect a friend who would betray you like that?”).

    Like Scarface, the intense violence earlier only serves to create the best “don’t do the crime” afterschool special ever. Again, a time when the flyover states mattered; Burt Young’s Detroit crime boss (related to “this old wreck from Detroit” in Casino?) delivers the film’s essence, right at the midpoint, when Woods and De Niro go astray: “Life is stranger than shit.” Oh, did I mention, Elizabeth McGovern and Jennifer Connelly?

    Rope [17] / Dial M for Murder [18] (Alfred Hitchcock) — a bit of a cheat, two Hitchcock movies that seem essentially the same, at least to me. Hitch claimed that during dry spells he’d buy a theatrical property just to film it, as is, all the work having been done by the playwright. Yes, I know that these are essentially filmed plays, and everything is “fake,” but these highly artificial productions have, precisely for that reason, the kind of flat, Technicolor hyper-reality that makes me think I’m actually living in the past [19].

    There was a time, some years back, when every late Saturday afternoon I’d make a pitcher of Martinis, open a pack of cigs, and drink and smoke along with the Happy Homicidal Homos of Rope, as the sun set on screen and in my apartment, which I calculated was directly across the East River from the diorama outside their penthouse.

    It’s the little things, as Vince Vega might say: notice how Ray Miland and Grace Kelly are supposed to be rich, but their apartment is almost empty, barely furnished — only a handful of the Right Things, and no electronic gadgets to clutter it up.

    In Rope, the rich WASP homo subtext (hidden crimes, tauntingly asking to be “found out,” etc.) is a blind for the real message: smarty-pants Jews (based on Leopold and Loeb) distort Aryan teacher’s version of Nietzsche. (“All fah-shist supermen were brainless fools, I’d hang any that were left . . . but you see, I’d hang them first for being stupid.”)

    Rather than “opening up” the play, Hitch uses gimmicks: one is filmed without cuts (sort of) while the other was originally released in 3D. The latter, Dial M, on repeated viewings, leads the viewer into speculating on how it could possibly be updated for a world of locked doors, electronic banking, and cellphones.

    The Fountainhead [20] (King Vidor) — 1940s black and white Hollywood studio sets are the perfect medium for Ayn Rand’s tale, which, considering her years working for the studios, perhaps provides the true origins of Objectivism. If only Rand had managed to get Clifton Webb as Ellsworth Toohey! As it is, the real star is the architecture, as is only appropriate, though my favorite design isn’t Roark’s: it’s Gayle Wynand’s office. If I built my dream house, that would be the living room.

    The Girl Hunters [21] (Mickey Spillane; yes, that Mickey Spillane) — Mickey Spillane hated the satirical approach taken in Kiss Me, Deadly, and decided to exact cinematic revenge, with the view as collateral damage. An unprecedented and unsurpassed conceit; as if Ayn Rand (a fan, I hear, of Spillane himself), unsatisfied with The Fountainhead, had put together financing for Atlas Shrugged and cast herself as John Galt; a much more interesting idea than the Atlas films that eventually emerged.

    Interiors shot in England, due to his financers being there (with a post-Carry On and pre-Bond Shirley Eaton), but the selling points are the early ’60s Manhattan shots — Mad Men in black and white.

    Spillane plays himself, straight and utterly un-ironic, and he’s actually pretty good, I think. Swanning around his favorite hangouts in a white trench coat (“. . . [imagine tailing somebody in a white trench coat. Trying to pass as a fag I guess] . . . — Naked Lunch), the compulsive taking on and off of which constitutes his stage business, it’s the ultimate Method performance.

    It’s especially amusing to see him interacting with apparently real friends, (including a long-forgotten newspaper columnist), who constantly remind him what a great guy he is, and how they hate the “commie punks” as much as they do. Mike Hammer’s climactic acts of “justice” are more literal but just as violent as the “ironic” violence of Kiss Me.

    Taxi Driver [22] (Martin Scorsese) — New York City — and thus, by implication, America — at the bottom of its trough; a modern Inferno seen through the guilty imaginations of Catholic director Scorsese and Calvinist screenwriter Paul Schrader (who’d go on to produce the heartland version, Hardcore). Only Bernard Herrmann could score the anti-North by Northwest. Featuring future alt-Right icon and Mel Gibson collaborator Jodi Foster.

    The Testament of Dr. Mabuse [23] (Fritz Lang) — Originally I thought M, but since acquiring the Criterion discs (again, two versions, German and French, to say nothing of the American dub) I spend more time here. Along with Manhunter (‘m’, manhunt, get it?) it fulfills my quota of Hannibal Lecter, since initial sequences of Mabuse, under imprisoned study but mute, are clearly the template for Silence of the Lambs; Jonathan Demme’s Grand-Guignol approach in particular is derived from prewar Euro horror. There’s even a proto-Starling among the students if you look closely (she’s the one with the monocle).

    Like Lecter, Mabuse is able to communicate with the outside world and even order up elaborate crimes, and does so by “getting into the head” of the head shrink (“You don’t want Hannibal Lecter in your head”). He does so literally in the posthumous transformation scene; where Mabuse goes beyond Lecter’s petty revenges is in the ensuing “Empire of Crime” speech: supposedly a “warning” about the National Socialists, the latter were happy to let audiences make the more natural inference that it referred to the chaos of the Weimar Republic.

    It remains the template for every bogey-man from Keyser Sosei to Osama bin Laden; and note how the wildly erratic USA has now been dubbed “The Empire of Chaos.” Unnecessarily slow and complex death traps for the hero to escape, check! And look for the Mercedes hood ornament-cam in the final chase, which Hitchcock deliberately references in North by Northwest.

    The Shining [24] (Stanley Kubrick) — Masterpiece of paranoiac-critical filmmaking. Dr. Strangelove is great but too painfully arch to view more than once every few years; besides, the refueling footage is recycled in The Starfighters, q.v. below). Like W. C. Fields, Kubrick knew that all attention would be on the kid, so pay attention to what happens around Danny: notice how the arrows on the carpet change direction, how his sandwich goes from whole to half-eaten to whole? The obsessive Kubrick is in control over everything in the frame, so there are no accidents. Many people assume it was filmed at a hotel, but it’s all a set in London, even the maze. Everything is planned. Listen to the ambient noise too (deliberately recorded): are those words of cabalistic significance being whispered at certain moments? “Schwaaaa.” Dopey Stephen King complained about the ending, but that’s what makes the film, metaphysically: Danny leaps sideways out of the maze; Jack runs round and round and eventually freezes (symbolically identical states of stasis), stuck in past time.

    The Skydivers (Coleman Francis) — Not an “ironic” choice; the more I watch the “Coleman Francis Trilogy” the more I suspect that, as with Ed Wood, professional “incompetence” allows a glorious serendipity to take place, à la Zen painting or surrealist poetry. And no one created a directorial emptiness like Coleman Francis: the anti-Kubrick. And like Zen, what you “let happen” may not be all hippie-happy. A somber masterpiece seemingly filmed in “Despair-vision,” possibly the saddest, bleakest film ever made; if Bergman had autism. Yet I find it oddly comforting. “I like coffee!”

    The Untouchables [25] (Brian De Palma) — Revenge of the Nerds, but with shamanism and the Männerbund. White ethnics unite to expel the invasive immigrant. (See my “‘God, I’m with a heathen.’ The Rebirth of the Männerbund in Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables [26]” and “Of Costner, Corpses, & Conception: Mother’s Day Meditations on The Untouchables & The Big Chill [27],” both reprinted in The Homo and the Negro [10].)

    They Live! [28] (John Carpenter) — Another Liberal fantasy goes awry, birthing a potent new Rightist meme. And they wonder why they keep losing, even though they “control” the media! Meg Foster! For her alone, I might also have selected Masters of the Universe. Unlike Gaby, Meg’s eyes are clear, cold, alien ice blue, like a huskie from Pluto. Contrary to MST3k, this is the movie competing for the “Quiet Man Longest Fight” award. (See my “He Writes, You Read, They Live! [29]” reprinted in The Homo and the Negro [10].)

    Touch of Evil [30] (Orson Welles) — The sweet spot of Welles’ career; Kane is too gimmicky, The Magnificent Ambersons a fragment of what was, and I find his post-Hollywood “fugitive” productions too cheap and shoddy, barely a step above Ed Wood or even Coleman Francis (who also had problems with financing and post-production) for this American film-watcher to take seriously. Only Hitchcock could rival the sense that every shot is an innovation. Welles’ narrative art is so objective as to make almost anyone else’s pretense to such laughable; a die-hard commie-symp, Welles here creates the ultimate sympathetic cop/fascist in his own person. The existence of at least 5 versions makes it the ultimate “postmodern” masterpiece before the Europeans even thought up the word. (See my “Breaking Badge: Touch of Evil Through the Lens of Breaking Bad [31].”)

    Videodrome [32] (David Cronenberg) — James Woods again! Essaying the sleazeball he’d perfect in Casino. Urban Canada as I lived it; cold and blue, like Meg Foster’s eyes, perfect for TV reproduction. Uploading your consciousness to a cable network makes perfect sense when there’s 12 inches of snow outside and Debbie Harry is on the tube. Long live the New Flesh!

    . . . & Six Dishonorable Mentions

    Constant Readers also know that I loves me some badfilm. Some are so bad as to exert almost the same magnetic attraction to compulsive viewing as actual movies, so for the record, here are the ones I find myself drawn to probe over and over, like a broken tooth.

    The Beast of Yucca Flats [33] — Of interest only because Coleman Francis would go on to make The Skydivers and Red Zone Cuba. Otherwise, incredibly bad; literally, there’s nothing there, nothing at all, though Coleman would eventually perfect this as a directorial strategy.

    Manos, the Hands of Fate [34] — Nothing to add to this internet legend, except to warn those seeking it out that the non-MST version is not only a bit longer, but almost literally unwatchable.

    Monster a Go-Go [35] — Beyond general incompetence, aspiring Midwest auteur Bill Rebane ran out of money, then sold what he had to schlockmeister Herschel Gordon Lewis, who filmed new scenes years later, dropping characters whose “actors” were unavailable; the “twist” ending is that the movie just stops. Almost becomes postmodern enough to be interesting, but not quite. Oddly even the DVD is lousy, with a stupid commentary by “director” Rebane that blames his problems on “unions,” while Lewis also tries the “it’s supposed to be funny” cop-out.

    The Dead Talk Back [36] — Topping Bill Rebane, this one was actually finished by the writer/director/producer in 1957, but then sat on a shelf at the photo lab until 1993, when MST3k discovered it. Bad on every level — one shot includes the reflector front and center, the sort of goof even Ed Wood never made — and after a few viewings you suddenly realize the dead never talk back! Though some of the over-exposed street filming of ’50s Hollywood Blvd. accidentally rivals Kiss Me, Deadly.

    The Starfighters [37] — So, NATO doesn’t want to buy the ridiculously dangerous F-101 Starfighter (a.k.a. the Flying Brick or The Widowmaker)? Just make a movie to show how fun it is! To paraphrase Joe Bob Briggs (who’s in Casino, by the way), instead of having the actors fly jets, they had jet pilots act. Stars future congressman Bob “B-1” Dornan in what is retrospectively Mission Accomplished: The George W. Bush Story.

    The Wild World of Batwoman [38] — Even worse than it sounds. Unbelievably, unendurably bad. Atop everything else, a supposed “comedy,” making it 70 minutes of continual douche chills.

    Note

    1. The Essential Plotinus, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 1975, v.

     

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    (Review Source)
  • “Where are the People that Run this Place?” Arch Hall, Jr., King of the ’60s Psychos
    (”The Untouchables” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    4,944 words

    [1]The Sadist [2]
    1963; B&W, 93 minutes
    Directed by James Landis
    Starring Arch Hall, Jr., Helen Hovey, Richard Alden, Marilyn Manning, Don Russell

    “The whole film is filled with a feeling of heat and agony, a constantly blazing sun shining down into a barren waste land of dead cars and dead bodies. Flashes of hope are rare and always beaten down with such hatred and force that the viewer almost hopes it won’t come back . . .” — (IMDb review)

    Like most who fancy themselves aficionados of the B, or even the “bad” film, I was familiar with the rather, ah, distinctive performances of the teenaged Arch Hall, Jr. in both Eegah! (1963)[1] and Wild Guitar (1962). I have not seen his cinematic swan song, The Nasty Rabbit (1964, also by James Landis[2]). But this year, my Thanksgiving Treat was finding, buying, and viewing a DVD of Arch Hall, Jr. in his penultimate, and greatest work, The Sadist.[3]

    Now, the tale of Arch Hall, Sr. and Jr., is well known to the bad film community. Basically, Arch Sr., an independent producer of sorts, decided his son, Arch Jr., could be the next Elvis, and began to craft a series of films to introduce the love-starved masses to their new teen idol.

    [3]

    Arch Hall, Jr., Teen Idol

    Unfortunately, for the Halls and their audiences, Arch Jr.’s most notable feature, bedsides a pudgy, doughy body, is a rather unusual face.[4] It’s an odd, pushed-in kind of baby-face, surmounted by several inches of greasy pompadour hair.

    Despite the general mockery, not only on MST3k, some directors seem to like this kind of look. It rather reminds me of Ettore Garofolo, in Pasolini’s contemporaneous Mamma Roma [4] (1962); more recently, a similar kind of face and pompadour certainly hasn’t hurt Leonardo di Caprio’s carrier, first as teen heartthrob and then as serious actor with Martin Scorsese.[5]

    But I was not at all prepared for Arch Hall, Jr.’s transformation here. This is the birth of a cinematic legend.

    [5]

    Arch Hall, Jr., Psycho Killer

    Before Terrence Malick’s Bandlands, before Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers, before the book and movie In Cold Blood, there was a stomach-churning little serving of under-cooked turkey called The Sadist.[6]

    So here’s the set up:

    Three people driving into Los Angeles for a Dodgers game have car trouble and pull off into an old wrecking yard where they are held at bay by a bloodthirsty psycho and his crazy girlfriend. (IMDb)

    Three math teachers, that is, on their way to ball game — whoo hoo! With the admirable swiftness of the B movie, a number of things are quickly established — apart from being math teachers on the way to a ball game, when the car breaks down we learn that both men know a lot about fixing cars (plot point!) and the woman, Doris, doesn’t seem to understand the simplest rules of baseball when patiently explained to her by the elder teacher; she may teach math but, being a woman, she’s not that bright.[7]

    Now, the latter is what would be called typical ’50s, B movie misogyny, but I’m more interested in the first point. The two male teachers, one old enough to be the other’s father, both belong to the last generations when men were expected to be able to do things. If your car broke down, you fixed it. These new-fangled postwar electrical appliances were a different thing, of course, being both complicated and dangerous;[8] for those, there were specialist (men, of course) who ran repair shops and even made house calls. If your son (me) needed a bookcase, you (my father) didn’t go to IKEA, you went to a lumber yard, bought enough planks and built it yourself.[9]

    When danger arrives, in the form of the new postwar generation, represented by one Charlie Kidd (note the name: child, pirate, Wild Boy) the two male teachers, old enough to be father and grandfather, figure he should be easy to handle; “He obviously doesn’t know much about cars” is the key to their cunning plan.

    But as the real men of that generation learned, all that being good around the house won’t save them. Another thing carefully established is that they took the mountain route to avoid the desert in the afternoon; this is a liminal spot, between mountain and desert, suitable for some sort of mythological tale or initiatic ritual.[10]

    The elder teacher for some reason put me in mind of Gary Oldman’s version of Commissioner Gordon (a point we will return to) while also for some reason suggesting, along with the black & white photography and minimal setting, one of those old “industrial films” by companies like Centron or Jam Handy that Mystery Science Theater would mock. It’s a relevant connection (industrial films, not MST3k) since it was around this time that Herk Harvey broke out of the world of Centron with his independent horror legend, Carnival of Souls (1962).

    Looking around the wrecking yard,[11] the elder teacher finds a house, presumably the owner’s, where lunch is laid out for four, “apple pie still warm” on the table[12] as he reports back (having given it a pat or two, purely in the interests of science).

    With the black and white photography, the minimalist setting, the absence of other people despite evidence of habitation (we never do find out exactly what happened to “the people that run that place”), the ’60s time period, I began to get a kind of Twilight Zone vibe[13] (with the elder teacher looking more like Burgess Meredith now). We’re about ten minutes in — did I mention, the movie takes place in real time, even with a few bursts of radio commentary from the missed game?[14] — and things sudden take a decided turn for the worst.

    But first, about that cinematography. With that crack about “industrial films” and the minimalist, apparently vérité setting, I may have led you to think it looks cheap and washed out. Not at all; and here’s the first sign things are not as they seem with this “B” production.

    The camera work is by one “William Zsigmond.” If that sounds familiar, he is; you know him as Vilmos Zsigmond, possibly the greatest cinematographer of the American film world.[15] The following year, the Hungarian immigrant “got his union card” by filming The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies [6] for Ray Dennis Steckler[16] (along with fellow future camera legends Joseph V. Mascelli [7], author of the still-standard textbook The Five Cs of Cinematography [8], and László Kovács [9] (listed as Leslie Kovacs).[17]

    This, however, would be his first American film, and I can’t help but think that the presence of such a future legend would account not just for the high quality of the camera work, but the sudden upturn in Arch Hall Jr.’s film presence.[18]

    For it is Hall, Jr. who strides onto the screen at this point, towering over his 5 foot nothing teenage lover/accomplice,[19] waving around a .44 Magnum, and any thought of this being a snaky campfest goes out the window. Or rather, gets shot in the face.

    Some reviews of Hall, Jr.’s performance as “thrill killer” Charlie Kidd:

    This is a characterization of fierce, elemental horror: a damaged young man on a killing spree, devoid of mercy and unwilling to listen to any rational thought. Hall has a beady-eyed, pudgy-faced look that is the stuff of nightmares. And he is accompanied by an incredibly creepy, whispering girlfriend (Marilyn Manning) who seems to feed him ideas.

    The black and white close-ups of his demonic face are terrifying, as is the rest of the camera work.[20]

    Both at the beginning of the film (a chilling introductory voice over by Arch Hall, Sr.) and at the film’s climax, the audience is given a close up of Charlie’s crazed, beady eyes peering out of the shadows — a striking effect, recalling Bela Lugosi’s famous glare in White Zombie of 30 years earlier.

    We’ll discuss the relevance of the notion of “white” and “zombie” a bit later. For now, let’s just say Hall, Jr. manages to create an on-screen persona that is probably the greatest example of the white trash nut job film archetype.

    In addition to his beady eyes and pudgy face, Hall, Jr. has admitted to studying Richard Widmark’s legendary psychopathic gunsel Tommy Udo [10] in Kiss of Death; that would explain the giggling. He also has an odd, loping walk that he sometimes forgets to use, which suggests Dennis Weaver’s fool “Chester” from Gunsmoke.[21] What also comes and goes is little bits of James Cagney; at times, he even suggests one of Jim Carrey’s dangerous idiots, especially with his odd hair and big, scary teeth.[22]

    As we’ll see, Charlie is not given to elaborate explanations, so it’s hard to tell what Hall, Jr. is trying to play, what Charlie‘s “damage” is.[23] Mental illness? Brain damage? Simple illiteracy? He certainly has a grudge against teachers. Incest victim? Inbred?[24]

    In the end, I can only imagine that he managed to channel all the frustration and public humiliation he had had to endure being Susie to his father’s Charles Foster Kane.[25]

    What’s really important hear, though, is the incredible, thoroughgoing Nihilism of this plot, written by director James Landis. We’ve seen this set up hundreds of times, going back to, what, The Petrified Forrest? We’ve seen all the moves, the deserted desert locale, the “clever plans” of the captives, the last minute rescues, over and over, albeit with occasional “surprise twists.”

    What we haven’t seen, is a film in which each and every one of those plans fails, and people, hostages and lawmen, are easily, methodically tortured and killed one after another, by a gleefully giggling psychopath. Charlie is simply an amoral killing machine, with no interest in anyone’s story, plans, or badges.[26]

    He simply loves to intimidate, threaten and murder. Period. (IMDb)

    The Sadist is more violent, more nihilistic, more transgressive, than the entire catalog of Tarantino and Stone, or even Eli Roth.

    He tears up pictures of their families he snatches from their wallets, gropes the terrified female teacher and rubs her face in the dirt, rips their clothing and pretty much makes it clear he’s going to kill all of them once the car is fixed. He also guns down two cops and shoots someone point blank right in the face. Charlie and his woman spend a lot of time sitting around sipping soda and laughing while watching their victims squirm.

    [It shows that] overkill gore, music video speed editing, loud soundtracks, computer effects, murky photography, shakycam and break-neck pacing of today often do little but distract from the meat of the story. This one takes place is broad daylight and manages to be starker, more tense, more suspenseful and scarier than most movies being passed off as horror these days. No distractions, no flash, no gloss, done on a small budget, no tabloid celebrities rounding out the cast. . . . Just a well-made film that knows what to do, how to do it and when to do it.[27]

    Landis clearly knows all the film clichés, so his contempt for them seems to suggest another agenda than Saturday afternoon B movie entertainment. Remember, this spare, deserted junkyard is located between mountain and desert, a liminal space, suitable for teaching or delivering a message. But what is the message or teaching? I suggest we look at another, more recent screen nihilist.

    Remember when I said that the elder teacher reminded me of Gary Oldman’s Commissioner Gordon? I must seriously wonder if Heath Ledger’s Joker was in any way based on Arch’s Kidd. He’s the only other example I can think of such a completely realized psychopath, by which I mean a character so crazy he doesn’t just violate society’s rules — while still serving a function within some “well crafted” screenplay — but even the rules of cinema itself.

    In neither case do we get a clear “origin” story — the Joker makes up several just to toy with his victims, while Kidd just mumbles some boilerplate about being disliked; he makes James Dean seem like Demosthenes. One thing this does is prevent any audience empathy or sympathy.[28] In the Joker’s case, his multiple bullshit stories reflect his contempt for stories, words, plans and “schemes.” Kidd, too, notices right away that these are not just teachers but people, like the rest of us, who live by telling themselves and others stories: “big talkers” he calls them, and he loves forcing them to try to account for themselves, beg for their lives, and then coldly shooting them — plans and planners — down.

    The climactic — or anti-climactic — plan, shows us the younger teacher finally able to run off,[29] but eventually trapped in a dead end. Turning on his pursuer, he chooses his final gambit, the Berserker trope [11][30]: screaming like a banshee, he runs toward the still armed Kidd. Kidd’s gun, of course, now jams. Surely now the “hero” will win the day? No, Kidd just keeps pulling the trigger until it kicks in and shoots the guy dead. Then, he amuses himself further by standing over him, emptying the rest of his clip, giggling.[31]

    It clearly recalls the sequence in The Dark Knight where the Joker dares Batman to run him down; but here, the cops — and Commissioner Gordon — are already dead and can’t save the day.

    Both Kidd and the Joker are men who have realized that the modern world is an illusion whose end time has come[32] and while away their lives amusing themselves by forcing Oridnary Joes — us — to admit it to ourselves. In this they perform a perverse kind of teaching function. In The Sadist, the teachers get taught a lesson.

    Speaking of guns and plans, one foiled cinematic cliché has the teachers trying to keep a running count of his shots, anticipating that he’ll soon run out. (They are, after all, math teachers). Kidd, of course, easily foils this by simply having more clips, and taunts them for their idiocy. One wonders if this is the origin of Dirty Harry’s famous “Do you feel lucky [12]?” speech in 1971, especially we are told that Kidd carries the same .44 Magnum as Harry. Of course, Harry Callahan is supposed to be the Good Guy, fighting the Zodiac-inspired psycho, but Harry seems so crazy to both ordinary citizens and fellow cops, and the psycho is such a pantywaist compared to Kidd, that Harry and Kidd may be playing the same role as Psycho Teachers.

    Though it may be doubtful or impossible to determine now if Arch Hall, Jr. influenced Ledger, I’m certain the influence can be found inn Rob Zombie’s House of a 1000 Corpses, as well as its sequel, The Devil’s Rejects. All three films share the same nihilistic worldview, the same “white trash” contempt for city slick-talkers too busy gabbing away to see what’s in from of their faces.[33]

    Cinematically, both share the audience-expectation-overturning trope of two investigating cops being summarily killed; the second dies like the elder teacher, forced to kneel and wait (along with the audience) for the headshot — Zombie presents this Tarantino-style, a long overhead shot with loud, “ironic” country music (Slim Whitman?) while Landis has a tighter, more original idea: Kidd chugs down a Coke, having promised to kill the old man when he’s done.[34]

    Above all, The Devil’s Rejects shares The Sadist’s nihilistic rejection of movie-style heroism. Otis drags his motel captives out to a similar desert junkyard wasteland and taunts them as they feebly try to resist and escape.

    “Boy the next word that comes out of your mouth better be some brilliant fucking Mark Twain shit. Cause it’s definitely getting chiseled on your tombstone.”

    “Ha, that’s what they all say, ‘Fuck you.’ Well it ain’t gonna save you. It don’t scare me none. And it certainly doesn’t make you a fuckin’ hero! You want to see what happens to heroes boy? You want to see bad ass motherfucker! I’ll show ya badass!”

    Because, quite simply,

    “I am the Devil, and I am here to do the Devil’s work.”

    And what is the Devil’s work? A tradition, parallel (Steiner) if not necessarily hostile to Christianity (Evola, Crowley, La Vey), would identify the Devil’s function as initiation, in preparation for the end of this cycle and the start of the next, which begins by stripping us of our old, everyday, bourgeois illusions. As one reviewer at IMBD noted, “the victims . . . become real people upon the appearance of the Sadist,”

    In all these films, appearing in a tight cluster from 1958 to 1972, but mostly in the early ’60s, we see, in appropriate ’50s “B” movie fashion, some kind of atomic mutation has taken place. The world is ending, but the old folks — the GI Joes suckered into fighting WWI and WWII[35] — don’t know it.[36] The kids, like Nietzsche’s Mad Man, to be “psychos” (a new, dismissive word of the time) as they live out, and deliver, the new gospel of nihilism.

    Like Tura Satana’s Varla in Faster Pussycat, Kill Kill! (1965), Charlie Kidd is an implacable, amoral force of nature. At first, when he drives out into the desert to chase down Doris, and abandons the car when the tires sink into the sand,[37] I thought she would use it to run him down, just as Tura is finally mowed down by the Final Girl, but instead, in a bravura B movie move, he falls into a pit filled with rattlesnakes, giving us a few more minutes of his wonderful shrieking and eye-popping.

    [13]

    But like Faster, the ending is no triumph for the Good Guys over the Bad Guys. As I’ve said before, these kinds of deaths are not “just desserts” as in moralistic fiction, but mere genre conventions, serving to bring to an end a drama that theoretically would go on indefinitely — if Charlie and Varla are forces of nature, then they can truly come to an end only with nature itself: the Apocalypse, which hasn’t quite arrived.

    The Good Guys, if they survive, have listened to and absorbed the gospel of nihil; they are “changed, changed utterly.”[38] Doris simply walks away from the car, as the baseball game continues to play out inanely on the radio. But soda pop, apple pie, and baseball will never be the same.

    Notes

    1. Otherwise notable for the performance of Richard “Jaws” Kiel as the titular caveman, and for an inexplicable shout of “Watch out for snakes!” that has become the stuff of internet legend.

    2. And not to be confused with Judaic culture-distorter and actor-killer John Landis.

    3. This is the 2003 Alpha Films release, which is its usual bare bones presentations: six chapter stops and that’s it. There seems to be some kinda “high definition special edition” from 2008 available as an “instant download” at Amazon, but Grandpa here hasn’t figured that stuff out yet. As we’ll see, if I were a man of an earlier generation, I’d have it all figured out by now.

    4. “I get it, he’s a Cabbage Patch Elvis!” — MST3K, Eegah!

    5. I complained about the indistinguishable baby-faces of di Caprio, Matt Damon and Mark Walberg, in contrast to Jack Nicholson, in Scorsese’s The Departed in my review of Andy Nowicki’s Under the Nihil, here and reprinted in The Eldritch Evola … & Others.

    6. “This is believed to be the first feature film based on real life serial killers Charles Starkweather [14] and Caril Fugate [15]. Mainstream Hollywood would not produce films inspired by the pair until a decade after this one. A number of films were inspired by the duo (some very loosely) and included such major examples as Terrence Malick [16]‘s Badlands [17] (1973) and Oliver Stone [18]‘s Natural Born Killers [19] (1994).” IMDb.

    7. Although later she’s smart enough to take off her heels before trying to run away.

    8. The eponymous Agent for H.A.R.M. [20] (1966), whom we’ll refer to again, rigs up a TV set to electrocute someone trying the doorknob; remember, kids, TVs are dangerous!

    9. In the educational short “Why Study Industrial Arts,” a gym teacher explains to some prospective shop students that although, yes, his industrial arts classes haven’t help his teaching gym (“Look at me now” sneer the MST3k gang), it did give him “a mechanical interest, and know-how” that help him to fix his own car if it breaks down on the road, or, when buying a house, inspect it for himself. The MST3k kids find this absolutely hilarious. (“’Why study industrial arts?’ Uh, because you’re no good at math?”).

    10. “The thing that astounds me most is how well this film has aged. The junkyard location is sort of timeless, the dialogue isn’t stilted and dated like most other films of the era and no pop culture (except Coca-Cola) date it to any specific place and time. Even “Psycho,” a film whose success they’d intended to ride the coattails of, is far more dated than this one. It’s a psychological character movie, pure and simple. And it’s because of the simplicity of the whole thing that it’ll continue to stand the test of time.” (IMDb reviewer)

    11. An interesting corollary to “back then no one locked their doors” that no one seems to realize is that at the same time, everyone felt entitled to open your door and just walk in. Several of Lovecraft’s protagonists are caught in sudden rainstorms, and just “take refuge” in some too conveniently located old manse. So do Wodehouse’s characters in suburban London of the 20s, such as in “Uncle Fred Flits By.” When was this replaced by the “pounding on the door” trope? I experienced this myself when visiting Fire Island; there were no locks, and people would not just walk into the front room, but walk all the way through the house until they found someone to visit with. This is an aspect of the re-created “small town with no rednecks” that the elite prefer to live In; see “The Gilmore Girls Occupy Wall St.” here [21] and reprinted in The Homo and the Negro (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2012).

    12. Adam Chance [22]: “You think you can’t get hurt, Doctor, because this is America? Apple pie and all that jazz? [Crow: And hula hoops and dungarees?] Well, it’s my job to keep the pie on the table, and nobody asks me how I do it!” — Agent for H.A.R.M. [20] (1966); MST3k Episode 815.

    13. According to Wikpedia, the film is a favorite of Joe Dante, who owns the 35mm print used for DVDs, and also directed a segment of the Twilight Zone movie.

    14. “It follows real time from start to finish, imprisoning the viewer (like the victims) within every second by second development.” (IMDb reviewer).

    15. The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies [6] (1964); McCabe & Mrs. Miller [23] (1971); The Hired Hand [24] (1971); Deliverance [25] (1972); The Long Goodbye [26] (1973); Scarecrow [27] (1973); The Sugarland Express [28] (1974); Obsession [29] (1976); Close Encounters of the Third Kind [30] (1977; Academy Award); The Deer Hunter [31] (1978); The Rose [32] (1979); Heaven’s Gate [33] (1980); Blow Out [34] (1981); The River [35] (1984); The Witches of Eastwick [36] (1987); The Bonfire of the Vanities [37] (1990); most recently, Woody Allen’s You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger [38] (2010). Zsidmond was one of the Top 10 Most Influential Cinematographers Voted on by Camera Guild, [39] being ”in the front ranks of a new wave of filmmakers who transformed the art form beginning in the 1950s. They were “outsiders” with diverse backgrounds and different ways of thinking than the Hollywood cinematographers who worked under contracts at studios.”

    16. Who appeared briefly in Eegah! and co-starred with both Halls in Wild Guitar.

    17. See, or hear, Joe Bob Briggs’s “Introduction” and commentary track on the Guilty Pleasures DVD release.

    18. I actually rather like the cinematography of Eegah! It’s a brightly lit time capsule showing us the sweaty, greasy bodies of people wearing white dinner jackets in Palm Springs in the early ’60s.

    19. The real Starkweather’s girl was 14, but a convenient police bulletin tells us she’s a high school grad, so as to chill out the censors.

    20. As he would next year in Incredibly Strange . . . there are a few expert touches that reveal the talent behind the B-movie camera, such as a couple of Killer-can POV shotes, and a nicely done tracking shot.

    21. Weaver also played the motel “night man” in Touch of Evil (1958), which was a clear influence on Tony Perkins’ Norman Bates in Psycho (1962).

    22. Zsigmond certainly helps here, giving Charlie’s teeth and eyes a really frightening appearance in the black & white filming. Charlie’s eyes in extreme close-up fill the top of the screen in the opening; like Gaby’s in Kiss Me, Deadly, they seem to boil like jellied fire. The latter movie shares the same blinding, post-apocalyptic, hyper-real cinematography, although taking place largely in LA rather than the desert beyond; see my “Mike Hammer, Occult Dick: Kiss Me, Deadly as Lovecraftian Tale,” here [40] and reprinted in The Eldritch Evola . . . & Others (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2014).

    23. Another dangerous White idiot with a gun … excuse me, rifle: “Private Pyle, what is your major malfunction?” — Full Metal Jacket.

    24. “Star Arch Hall Jr. (“Charlie Tibbs”) and Helen Hovey (“Doris Paige”) were actually first cousins; his mother and her mother were sisters.” (IMDb). Even better: Arch Sr., film producer, plays the crooked music producer who exploits Arch Jr. in Wild Guitar; Arch Jr.’s girlfriend in both Eegah! and The Sadist is the same actress, Marilyn Manning (not Manson); Manning was Arch Sr.‘s secretary, and supposedly having an affair with him, which explains the odd cave scene in Eegah! where he seems overly amorous with Manning, who is playing his daughter.

    25. It’s not likely Robert Blake took any influence for his own baby-faced killer in the later In Cold Blood, but Hall Jr. also suggests Michael J. Pollard, who would soon debut in the equally violent, kinda Starkweather based Bonnie and Clyde (1967; young white trash lovers on the run, including cop shooting and face shooting) as well as, more recently, Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses, (2003), which we will soon look at again.

    26. In Coleman Francis’ 1961 desert apocalypse, The Beast of Yucca Flats, the eponymous beast is described by the ever-present narrator as “Joseph Javorsky, respected scientist. Now a fiend prowling the wastelands, a prehistoric beast in a nuclear age. Kill, kill just to be killing.”

    27. Review at The Bloody Pit of Horror, here [41].

    28. The movie is not so much influenced by as hoping to ride on the coattails of Hitchcock’s Psycho (1962); I would argue The Sadist may well be superior; for one thing, Hitchcock ruins the ending by bogging us down in several minutes of Freudian bafflegab (relieved only by our amusement at noticing that one of the cops is Ted Knight). Sadist starts off with some off-screen narration about the definition of a sadist, apparently delivered by Arch Hall Sr., in what is thankfully his only contribution to the film, but our attention is really on the crazy eyes staring at us at the top of the blacked out screen (see poster), and there’s 90 more minutes to recover the momentum. The self-defense scene in Fritz Lang’s M similarly goes astray; the National Socialists detourned it by adding it to The Eternal Jew as an example of the typically Judaic defense of the unfit and degenerate. By the 80s, “FBI manhunter” Will Graham is “sick of all you sons of bitches” and, however the Tooth Fairy was abused as a child, just wants to “shoot him out of his socks” — and does so; see “Will and Phil: Awakening Through Repetition in Groundhog Day, Point of Terror and Manhunter,” here [42] as well as my review of Andy Nowicki‘s Beauty and the Least (Chicago: Hopeless Books, Uninc., 2014), here [43].

    29. After eighty minutes of stand-off, it finally turns out to be rather easy to just run and get away, especially if all three had done so right from the start; he‘s not very good at moving targets, but if he can persuade you to kneel down he can make the headshot as well as Lee Harvey Oswald that same year. He does accidentally kill his girlfriend as she‘s running, but she was running towards him. Is this a flaw in the screenplay, of is it meant to suggest that it’s their cowardly/heroic reliance on escape “plans” that ultimately dooms them? On the other hand, Hall Jr. was supposedly a crack shot himself, and after several mishaps with blanks, convinced the director to let him shoot real bullets, apparently quite successfully.

    30. We discussed this in reviewing Brian De Palma’s Aryan initiation epic, The Untouchables, here [44] and reprinted in The Homo and the Negro.

    31. In 1962’s Dr. No, audiences were taken aback when supposed new “hero” James Bond not only shoots an unarmed man (after emptying his gun for him) but then shoots him several more times in the back. Of course, he was trying to kill Bond in the first place, but it just didn’t seem cricket. While Connery at least didn’t giggle, one might suggest his famous post-killing bon mots (“Shocking, positively shocking”) serve the same function.

    32. “The end of a world never is and can never be anything but the end of an illusion.” René Guénon, The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times (Ghent, N.Y.: Sophia Perennis, 2001), p. 279.

    33. I discuss these aspects of Zombie’s films in “The Return of Repressed White Wisdom in Rob Zombie’s Firefly Family Films” here [45].

    34. If its OK to wax nostalgic during such a film, one of the lovely period details is the Coke chest — not machine — that the teachers make for right at the start and which provides delicious icy cold bottled refreshment throughout the action.

    35. “I fixed tanks in the war” boasts the younger teacher.

    36. “Something’s happening here/What it is ain’t exactly clear” — Buffalo Springfield; “Something is happening but you don’t know what it is/Do you, Mr. Jones?” — Bob Dylan.

    37. Perhaps a call-back to Eegah!, where Hall’s dune buggy, he proudly points out to his girl, has tires filled with water.

    38. W. B. Yeats, “Easter, 1916.”

     

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Breaking Badge:Touch of Evil through the Lens of Breaking Bad
    (”The Untouchables” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    [1]7,344 words

    Breaking Bad [2] (AMC)
    Created and produced by Vince Gilligan.
    January 20, 2008 – September 29, 2013 (62 episodes)

    Touch of Evil [3](Universal)
    Written, directed, and starring Orson Welles
    “Preview” version (108 min., released on DVD 1993); Theatrical release, 1958 (93 min.)
    “Restored” version, 1998 (112 min.)[1]
    Based on the novel Badge of Evil [4] by Whit Masterson [5]

    “Bad” to the Bone; “Breaking Bad” Creator Vince Gilligan Brings More Than a Touch of Evil to a New Season.[2]

    “I’m the man who killed Gus Fring.” He wears his conquering of Fring like a badge, as the one thing that should strike fear in their hearts more than any other.[3]

    Lead actor Bryan Cranston stated in an interview that: “The term ‘breaking bad’ is a southern colloquialism and it means when someone who has taken a turn off the path of the straight and narrow, when they’ve gone wrong. And that could be for that day or for a lifetime.”[4]

    Mad Men and Breaking Bad are sort of the Beatles vs. Stones of the AMC network universe.[5] Constant Readers will recall that I’ve described the Youth Whitopia (or White Youtopia) of Detroit in the ’60s as involving such things a sovereign independence from coastal media driven trends such as Beatlemania and a preference for such working class acts as the Stones or the Who.[6]

    Now you might think that this would incline me to Breaking Bad, but you’d be wrong. First, Mad Men’s story arc lead up into and through that very period (making Don’s oldest son my Doppelgänger), while Breaking Bad is all too contemporary. Moreover, I found the whole “White guy proves his manhood by shaving his head and becoming murderous drug dealer” motif to be to be far too “negro” to be of any positive interest.[7]

    Recently, however, I obtained the 50th Anniversary release of Touch of Evil[8] circumstantially with AMC broadcasting a multi-week marathon of Breaking Bad, and actually sitting down to watch the latter with the former still in mind, I experienced a sense of imaginal déjà vu.

    Having previously suggested that The Gilmore Girls is a seven season long TV version of Orson Welles’ The Magnificent Ambersons,[9] I may be forgiven for imagining that Breaking Bad is a 5 season long TV version of Welles’ Touch of Evil.

    Walter White is a loser of a high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. Not only is the treatment unaffordable, his inevitable death will leave his family destitute. Walt decides to make lots of money, fast, by turning his skills to the manufacture of meth, and it turns out he’s pretty good at it — both the manufacture itself as well as the related distribution and, inevitably, enforcement. He revels in being good at something,[10] but periodically expresses some concern about his transformation into the criminal genius known only as “Heisenberg.”

    I suspect this is what interests the alt-Right; as Jack Donovan would say, Walt was a good man who was bad at being a man, while “Heisenberg” is a bad man, who is good at being a man.

    “This is a love-affair story of Walt and his love of science, and [“Blue Sky” meth] was his greatest product — his greatest triumph as a chemist. It wasn’t about Walter White as a criminal or a murderer or an awful person. It was him ending on his own terms. It felt creatively right.”[11]

    Walt may love science, but it hasn’t loved him, and that’s why he has no money, and his family will be left destitute:

    Once a promising chemist who greatly contributed to the breakthrough of a multi-billion dollar company Gray Matter Technologies, Walt abruptly left the company and sold his financial interest for $5,000. The founders of the company Elliott Schwartz and Gretchen Schwartz later married and made a fortune. Walt harbors animosity and blames Elliot and Gretchen for stealing his hard labor and contributions to become a highly successful foundation, without giving Walt any credit. Walt then bitterly blames Gretchen for his financial problems and his lot in life.[12]

    Watching and listening to Walt repeatedly returning to this aspect of his situation, I began to hear another voice: Orson Welles’ Hank Quinlan, justifying himself as, unknown to him, the end is near:

    Quinlan: “Don’t you think I could have been rich? A cop in my position. What do I have . . . after thirty years, a little turkey ranch — that’s all I got. A couple of acres.”[13]

    One difference, since this, as I said, is a movie, not a series, is that Breaking Bad, luxuriating in the kind of time and budget and studio regard Welles could only dream of, presents us with the full transformation of Walter White,[14] while Hank Quinlan, when we meet him, has already become the local Heisenberg:

    Adair: “Vargas, you’ve heard of Hank Quinlan, our local police celebrity.”

    Vargas: “I’d like to meet him.”

    Coroner: “That’s what you think.”[15]

    But I see I’ve started talking about Touch of Evil without cluing some of you in. Here’s a neat summary from DVD Verdict:

    A car crossing the border from Mexico into the U.S. blows up, killing the driver, a wealthy older man, and his passenger, a blonde stripper. Witnessing this are Mexican narcotics investigator Mike Vargas (Charlton Heston) and his American wife, Susie (Janet Leigh). Soon, the “legendary” local police captain, Hank Quinlan (Orson Welles), arrives on the scene and commences the investigation.

    Vargas has been running an investigation of his own, bringing down the Grandi family, drug-dealing gangsters headed up by Uncle Joe Grandi (Akim Tamiroff). The trial of Joe’s brother is about to start, and the Grandis want Vargas to call it off. . . . Uncle Joe has [an] idea of how to persuade Vargas, and it involves terrorizing Susie. When she goes to an out-of-the-way motel to wait for her husband, the Grandis get their chance.

    Meanwhile, Vargas is tagging along on the murder investigation. Quinlan’s fabled instincts tell him that the killer is the Mexican boyfriend of the dead man’s daughter. During an interrogation at the man’s home, some incriminating evidence turns up in a shoebox—but Vargas had seen the shoebox before, and it was empty.

    Now, Vargas realizes that Quinlan is corrupt and that his “legend” has been built from planting evidence and framing possibly innocent suspects. But Vargas has bigger problems: the police found his wife passed out and reeking of drugs in a strange hotel room—with a dead [Joe Grandi].[16]

    Already we see a metamorphosis: “local police celebrity.” Walt becomes Heisenberg, but Hank is already the Bad Captain.

    Pete Menzies: You’re a killer.

    Hank Quinlan: Partly. I’m a cop.

    Now, talking about “bad,” what I want to be suggesting here is that in both works we find an idea that I’ve called Passing the Buck. It’s the notion, disconcerting to many, that the Enlightened or Realized Man is not necessarily — or perhaps necessarily not — the Good Man. Since the goal of enlightenment is usually thought of as being “beyond the contraries,” including those of good and bad, why should we imagine that the path involves conventional “goodness”?[17] More particularly, perhaps the way to reach the state of freedom from karma is to dump it on some poor sucker and just keep moving.

    You could say that this is a metaphysical version of Jack Donovan’s thesis: the (conventional-morally) good man versus the man good at being (the Realized or Universal) Man. Thus, any really compelling dramatic work — as opposed to some “morality tale” — will involve men who are mad, bad, and dangerous to know.

    The men of Walt’s world are killers and kingpins and assassins — but at least they are still men. One of the larger philosophical issues raised by this series — too large for me to explore here — is the tension that sometimes exists between masculinity and law and order; or: between primal masculine virtue and the virtues necessary to sustain civilization.[18]

    Hence, the curious ambivalence audiences — and creators — feel towards characters like Walter White and Hank Quinlan.

    Walt ends up saving the day by beating the big bad neo-Nazis with ingenuity. He goes on to avenge his brother-in-law’s death, releases “old yeller” from captivity so he can personally kill that “Opie dead-eyed piece of shit,” poisons the (other) crazy “bitch” that dared to challenged his potency, gives the original emasculating bitch a get out of jail free card and gets all that money to his estranged son via payback to the couple that wronged him in the first place. Instead of emerging as a defeated anti-hero, Walter White’s evil alter ego somehow rises from the ashes like a superhero.[19]

    Again, as music supervisor Thomas Golubić said about the finale:

    It wasn’t about Walter White as a criminal or a murderer or an awful person. It was him ending on his own terms. It felt creatively right.[20]

    But let’s get back to how this all plays out in the film and TV series under review. Since Sr. Vargas, the “Good Cop,” has implicitly pushed his way into our reflections, just as he pushes his way into Quinlan’s sweet little setup, let’s look him over. Vargas is our nominal hero, not only a gang-busting cop (he’s just put the head of the Grandi gang in jail, a kind of south of the border Tom Dewey) but a romantic leading man, escorting his new, American wife over the border for an ice-cream soda. Everything about him exudes smug rectitude (his “I’m a Latin Lover” moustache actually recalls Tom Dewey), but the first problem is that he’s played by Charlton Heston.

    Now, this is a faux pas so legendary that it’s become a pop culture reference point:

    Ed Wood, Jr.: Do you know that I’ve even had producers re-cut my movies?

    Orson Welles: I hate when that happens.

    Ed Wood, Jr.: And they always want to cast their buddies. It doesn’t even matter if they’re right for the part.

    Orson Welles: Tell me about it. I’m supposed to do a thriller for Universal. They want Charlton Heston as a Mexican.[21]

    Like many such pop cultural memes, it’s more about what pleases current dogmas than historical truth. We “know” that studios are philistines; we “know” that Whites should never play non-white roles (though the opposite is just fine). But in reality, Heston was already cast, and it was Heston who used his star power to force Welles on Universal as director instead of just actor. And that star power is important to the film as well, since, as we’ll see, our nominal hero proves to be so lame, so paper-thin, as written, that only an actor with the screen presence of a Heston could prevent him from fading away entirely, lost in the malignant shadow of Welles’ monstrous Hank Quinlan.[22] And there simply weren’t any Hispanic actors in Hollywood who could act alongside Orson Welles — Caesar Romero, you think?[23]

    As for his Spanish, it sounds pretty good to me, although I don’t, like Quinlan, “speak Mexican.”[24] I’m not an expert, just an ordinary movie-goer, and isn’t it all about creating an illusion?[25]

    Quinlan: I don’t speak Mexican. Let’s keep it in English, Vargas.

    Vargas: That’s all right with me. I’m sure he’s just as unpleasant in any language.

    Sanchez: Unpleasant? Strange. I’ve been told I have a very winning personality. The very best shoe clerk the store ever had.

    Oddly enough, Heston’s supposedly fractured Spanglish provides yet another link to Breaking Bad, in the person of Gus Fring. For some reason Fring seemed to get most of the supposedly Spanish lines, and I remember trying to follow along, as I usually do, especially with the Spanish cable channels, to try and pick up some of the lingo and test my knowledge thereof. Apparently, Gus was doing the same, earning the show an entry at TV Tropes, right alongside Touch of Evil, for

    Not Even Bothering with the Accent [6]: Many people singled out the show Breaking Bad, and the character Gustavo “Gus” Fring, for falling flat on language. Tamara Vallejos writes, “Gus’ Spanish and accent were so painful to listen to, and it made me super angry that such a pivotal and fantastic character would have such a giant, noticeable, nails-on-a-chalkboard flaw.”[26]

    Well, I would think that such a delicate flower shouldn’t be watching such a violent show in the first place. And here too Gus provides a link to the film. Another way Touch of Evil reminds one of Breaking Bad is that both, for their own time, are remarkably violent; in fact, even the movie, from 1958, has moments that can match anything in the cable show.

    Adair: An hour ago, Rudi Linnekar had this town in his pocket.

    Coroner: Now you can strain him through a sieve.

    Quinlan: An old lady on Main Street last night picked up a shoe. The shoe had a foot in it. We’re gonna make you pay for that mess.

    There’s even that B-movie staple,[27] “acid to the face”:

    In an alley outside the club, Vargas is attacked by one of the Grandi gang members who throws acid at Vargas’s face. In Welles’ original script, the acid misses Vargas and hits a cat asleep in the trash. This was changed in the film and the acid instead explodes in a smoky hiss against the poster of the dead stripper.[28]

    Speaking of faces, even the TV show’s most infamous scene, where Walt kills Gus Fring with a bomb that leaves him staggering out of Uncle Tio’s room with half his face gone, is matched by this quick shot of another dead uncle, Uncle Joe Grandi:

    [7]

    Lending perhaps a new significance to Uncle Joe’s earlier speech, leading Quinlan into the scheme that will, unknown to Uncle Joe, lead to his own death:

    Uncle Joe Grandi: “We are both after the same exact thing, Captain. If Vargas goes on like this, shooting his face off . . . Somebody’s reputation has got to be ruined. Why shouldn’t it be Vargas’s?”[29]

    Welles was quite aware of how much he was pushing the envelope:

    As Welles said in conversations with Peter Bogdanovich (This Is Orson Welles by Orson Welles and Peter Bogdanovich) “It was perverse and morbid . . . one of those go-as-far-as-you-can-go–in that kind of dirty department . . . when [Tamiroff] looked at the gun, it was every cock in the world. It was awful, the way he looked at it–made the whole scene possible.” Make no mistake about it, this is an ugly scene. Tamiroff is a much smaller man than Welles, and is just about consumed by Welles. Tamiroff’s character is dragged around the room, his shirt torn at the chest, his toupee knocked off. Eventually Quinlan strangles him with one of Susan’s stockings, leaving Uncle Joe’s face hanging over the bed, eyes bulging out by a nice effect of using painted contact lenses. Welles wanted the shot of the bulging eyes short enough so it would be almost subliminal — something people wouldn’t be quite sure they saw — but the studio added extra frames to that shot.[30]

    While we’re on the face, let’s talk about hair. Walt sports the aforementioned iconic chrome dome, first due to chemo, then presumably to cement his “gangsta” image. Is Quinlan bald? Like most men of his era, he wears a hat. But if you stop and think about it, he always wears a hat — that is, we literally never see him without it, from the first time we see him, getting out of his car, to the last, as he floats dead in the river.

    We do on one occasion see the hat without him — we see it at Tana’s whorehouse, where Quinlan is presumably off-screen, passed out from his drinking binge; even here, it’s that hat that tells us he’s there somewhere. The hat is effectively the same icon, depriving or at least hiding his hair, a symbolic castration.[31] Uncle Joe is an inept stand-in for the real Grandi boss, whom Vargas has on trial in Mexico, as shown by his constantly lost or misplaced toupee.

    The same with his candy bars, which he supposedly gnaws on to avoid drinking, as some people do for smoking. The whole scene is chock-full of sexual defeat:

    Quinlan: Have you forgotten your old friend, hmm?

    Tanya: I told you we were closed.

    Quinlan: I’m Hank Quinlan.

    Tanya: I didn’t recognize you. You should lay off those candy bars.

    Quinlan: It’s either the candy or the hooch. I must say, I wish it was your chili I was gettin’ fat on. Anyway, you’re sure lookin’ good.

    Tanya: You’re a mess, honey.[32]

    Quinlan might also seem symbolically un-manned by his cane, but Quinlan, like Ahab, has turned it into a source of strength. He needs it not due to old age but from a heroic act, stopping a bullet aimed for his partner/stooge, Menzies.[33]

    Most importantly, the cane/wound gives Hank his power, his “famous intuition,” a twinge that supposedly tells him who’s guilty, which he then “proves” by planting evidence. And when Vargas first suggests that Quinlan planted the dynamite in the shoe clerk’s apartment, Quinlan raises his cane between them as if to strike him dead.[34] One might indeed compare it to Wotan’s spear, and Quinlan’s one mistake is to leave it behind, symbolic of a temporary loss of wits, thus implicating himself as Uncle Joe’s murderer.

    So, back to Vargas. As Heston and Welles agreed, Vargas is only the Hero by genre conventions. He’s actually quite inept: no competent cop, certainly not one of Vargas’ supposed importance, would poke his nose into some hick town murder, on the other side of the border, even, and certainly would not have done so with his new bride by his side. When Susie is kidnapped, his only tactic is to go around the bars beating up random people, and when he speeds out to confront Quinlan he roars right past the hotel where his wife is hanging out the window, screaming for help.

    In fact, so inept is Vargas that I was reminded of the disgusted crew of the Satellite of Love, faced with the continuing, irritating ineptness of the protagonist of Manos: The Hands of Fate, generally agreed to be one of the Top Five candidates for the worst movie ever made:

    “When is this guy going to demonstrate some simple competence!?” – MST3k

    The resemblances start with the fractured Spanish title (manos means, as even I know, “hands,” so the title amounts to Hands: The Hands of Fate. Wow, how long did they take to dream that up?) and the Southwest background (the director was a fertilizer salesman in El Paso and shot it on weekends in nearby locales, as Welles did in Venice, California; the main action was filmed at a judge’s decrepit ranch, not unlike Quinlan’s I suppose). In both movies, the supposed “hero” (here played by the director, again like Welles), also named “Mike,” (Heston plays Ramon Miguel ‘Mike’ Vargas) takes his wife (and child, here) on a pleasure trip that turns into a nightmare. Along the way she’s groped in a motel-like room, like Susie, there’s a creepy, oddly gaited “night manager” (here, the immortal Torgo), gunplay at the end, etc.

    The two most important similarities, however, are that along the way, our “hero” proves to be immensely incompetent, and, at the “twist” ending, he is apparently (the film is too badly made to make any sense) reincarnated as . . . the new keeper. Both these themes can be found in Touch of Evil, and may help us better understand the Breaking Bad finale.

    Vargas, then, is our “good man” who is far from “good at being a man.” Even if we grant that he’s a good cop (he does, at least, have the head of the Grandi gang locked up) he’s a pretty piss-poor husband, either romantically or as a protector. If Menzies hadn’t killed him, Quinlan likely would have succeeded in framing Vargas, and he seems genuinely surprised that Quinlan doesn’t care when he points out that he can’t arrest him in Mexico (if only Vargas had been so wise in the first place!), since he plans to shoot him anyway.

    Vargas doesn’t prove himself when he decides Quinlan is corrupt and goes after him (that’s more Ned Flanders bein’ a busy-body and all) but precisely when he realizes Susie has been kidnapped.

    Vargas: Listen, I’m no cop now. I’m a husband! What did you do with her? Where’s my wife? My wife! (Grabbing and slapping people around left and right)

    But what’s interesting here is that Vargas doesn’t, say, figure out how to use his cop skills to rescue his wife; instead, the only way he knows how to go about rescuing her is to stop being a cop. What he really means, is, stop being a Good Cop and become a Bad Cop. To be good at being a man, and save his wife, he must become Quinlan.

    Schwartz: Intuition?

    Vargas: Why not? Quinlan doesn’t have a monopoly on hunches.

    What’s happened is that our two themes have coalesced: Vargas, a (morally) good cop, to become good as a man (find the killer, stop Quinlan’s reign, save his wife), must become a bad cop, like Quinlan himself.

    Schwartz: Well, Hank was a great detective all right.

    Tanya: And a lousy cop.

    And thereby Quinlan is able to escape his karma, passing it off to the perfect sucker: Sr. Vargas. [35]

    Like all genre films that last and become objects of fascination (“cult” films) there’s more going on here than meets the eye, or even than the “auteurs” know. We have at least three levels here:

    There’s the superficial plot, which satisfies the studios and the audience, seeking either pastime or reassurance in a cruel world: the Good Guy (Vargas) wins, the Bad Guy (Quinlan) vanquished.

    At a more profound level, the audience must get the masculinist message that to be good at being a man may require becoming, however briefly, a Bad Man.[36]

    Menzies: You didn’t have to make it dirty.

    Quinlan: I don’t call it dirty. Look at the record . . . All those convictions.

    Menzies: Convictions, sure. How many did you frame?

    Quinlan: Nobody.

    Menzies: Come on, Hank. How many did you frame?

    Quinlan: “No one — nobody that wasn’t guilty, guilty, guilty. Every last one of them — guilty.” (And indeed, “the last one,” Sanchez the shoe clerk, does confess, off screen).

    Vargas and Quinlan are more alike than either (one anti-Mexican, the other anti-corruption) would like to admit. Vargas is famous enough to be recognized by the border guards, and almost immediately he meets “our local police celebrity.”

    More particularly, both men’s metamorphoses are tied to their wives (as Walt’s, at least officially, is to his family). At the start of his police career, Quinlan’s wife was murdered — supposedly strangled by a Mexican whom he was never able to bring to justice.

    In fact, although I can’t find many critics explicitly making this inference, it seems clear to me that Quinlan was the murderer, and the Mexican, who conveniently died in WWI, is simply a racially-charged alibi. He has dealt with his guilt by a life-long, obsessive pursuit of “justice,” finding and punishing the guilty by whatever means necessary.[37]

    All his murder cases have become a replay of his own psychodrama, wherein he plays judge and executioner in the unproven affair of his dead wife and her lover. He strangled his wife . . . and now he hunts the shadows of the border town Los Robles for the surrogates who must pay the price for his ancient trauma.[38]

    Menzies: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Drunk and crazy as you must have been when you strangled him. I guess you were somehow thinking of your wife, the way she was strangled.

    Quinlan: Always thinking of her, drunk or sober. What else is there to think about? — Except for my job, my dirty job.

    Menzies: You didn’t have to make it dirty.

    Quinlan: I don’t call it dirty. Look at the record . . . All those convictions.

    Menzies: Convictions, sure. How many did you frame?

    Quinlan: Nobody.

    Menzies: Come on, Hank. How many did you frame?

    Welles’ genius was such as to allow him to view his characters objectively. Though Welles was a hard line com-symp, Quinlan gets more than enough sympathy as portrayed by Welles himself. The eye-rolling he gives Vargas’s little speech about a police state[39] is intensely funny (Welles the ham is in his element) but it also meets the audience’s eyes, thus implicating them as well — “Can you believe this guy?”[40]

    [8]

    And finally, at the most profound level, it is insinuated that to reach Realization, one must find a way to offload one’s karmic attachments, and given a demonstration of just how to do it.

    Now, I mentioned just now (see note 35) Vargas use of a wire to entrap Quinlan, and that reminds me that I should give some attention to the Other Hank, TV’s Hank,[41] Walt’s brother-in-law, and half-witted Holmes to Walt’s Prof. Heisenberg.

    Is Walt White Hank Quinlan? The most natural doubling is Hank Quinlan/Hank Schrader. Both are Southwestern border-town lawmen, named Hank — duh! Hank matches Welles’s bulk, and like Welles speaks no Spanish (or rather, “I don’t speak Mexican”). Unlike Welles, he’s a basically honest cop, but not above roughing up a suspect — his beating of Jesse matches up with Welles’ “third degree” of the shoe store clerk (but smarter — Welles knows how to not leave a mark, while Hank’s beating of Jessie gets him in some hot water).

    Quinlan (off camera): What’re you scared of? I’d only slap you again if you got hysterical. Wouldn’t be brutal. Even in the old days, we never hurt people in the face. It marks ’em up. We gave it to ’em like this. [Blow landing, Sanchez grunting]

    Movie Hank walks with a cane, the result of a bullet intended for Menzies:

    Quinlan: That’s the second bullet I stopped for you, Pete.

    TV Hank is also crippled, temporarily, by a bullet. Movie Hank’s cane will betray his presence at Grandi’s murder. TV Hank’s medical bills are secretly paid by Walt, which enables Walt to stymie Hank’s subsequent investigation.

    Most interestingly, Hank delivers the line that most directly links the two works:

    While wiring Jesse for audio surveillance in the scene at the plaza, Hank instructs him, “Don’t cross your arms, if you can help it.” In Touch of Evil (1958), Charlton Heston as Vargas delivers a similar line, “Now remember, don’t cross your arms,” while wiring Sgt. Menzies to record Orson Welles’ character Hank Quinlan.[42]

    The line is Vargas’, though; this emphasizes that TV Hank stands for a generalized notion of the Good Cop, what Movie Hank was but now can only perceive as a threat. Movie Hank is both TV Hank and Walt; by making Movie Hank himself a cop the film helps fit Walt’s story arc into 100 minutes, and intensify the story, by absorbing TV Hank’s story as well. Movie Hank shows the corruption of TV’s Hank/Walt combo.

    It’s at the end, appropriately enough, that we witness the transfer of karma, and find the clearest similarities between the two works.

    Touch of Evil, of course, opens with a legendary three-minute uninterrupted crane tracking shot, that covers four blocks from start to finish. But it is implicitly connected to the end, where Vargas crossing the Mexican border on foot with his wife is echoed by Vargas running over the bridge from Mexico[43] and jumping into Susie’s car and then roaring off, forgotten by the action and ignored by the camera.[44]

    Breaking Bad ends with a crane shot, frequently discussed not so much for its technique, which is run of the mill today, as its emotional implications.

    “But in came the dailies, with that wonderful crane shot moving over Walter White, and once we played the song, [we thought], ‘Oh, I get it now,'” Golubić continues. “This is a love-affair story of Walt and his love of science, and this was his greatest product — his greatest triumph as a chemist. It wasn’t about Walter White as a criminal or a murderer or an awful person. It was him ending on his own terms. It felt creatively right.”[45]

    I’m not sure if a crane was used at the end of Touch of Evil, but Welles is now being shot from above, rather than the previous shots from below that emphasized Quinlan’s menacing bulk. These shots show the similarity of their ends:

    [9]

    [10]

    Conventional movie grammar has these kinds of shots symbolizing the defeat of the Bad Guy, his “fall” if you will. As I’ve suggested many times, this can also be given a positive meaning, at least esoterically. The body falls horizontally, resolved into the elements, (with Quinlan, water) while the spirit is released, upwards, freed from the burden of karma.[46]

    Tanya: Isn’t anybody going to come and take him [the corpse] away?

    Quinlan, thanks to Menzies’ betrayal, can now find rest; his karmic burden has been passed on to the naïve, inane Vargas, who happily speeds away:

    Vargas: It’s all over, Susie; I’m taking you home.

    Of course it isn’t; Vargas has changed, and will likely spend the rest of his career enjoying the application of the third degree in Mexico’s notorious jails.

    But who, then, is Walt’s sucker? His partner, Jesse.

    Like Menzies, Hank Quinlan’s apprentice sucker, Walt takes a bullet for him and, like the second bullet Hank Schrader takes, it kills him. Like Vargas, the ultimate sucker, he jumps in his car and roars away, laughing with glee.

    At least one fan has put his figure on exactly why this denouement fails to satisfy:

    I thought the ending sucked. What the fuck was Jesse so happy about? He was still destined to be a miserable (and now broke) fuck having to live with his shitty life choices.[47]

    Both endings also have music which is “non-diagetic,” as the critics say, meaning it is not natural but presumably conveys a character’s POV. Quinlan’s corpse is eulogized by the gypsy/madam Tanya (Marlene Dietrich!) as the sentimental pianola music from his brothel is, through the magic of the movies, somehow audible way out by the bridge. Tanya had already clued us in on its archeofuturistic significance:

    Tanya: The customers go for it — it’s so old, it’s new.

    And indeed, Hank — or his karma — is now Vargas.

    Also “so old it’s new” is the music of Breaking Bad’s finale, “Baby Blue” by Badfinger. The first line, “Guess I got what I deserved,” is clearly ironic in this context; in terms of the threefold analysis I proposed earlier, Walt has I suppose received his conventional comeuppance, but we know that on the levels of manhood and metaphysics, he has found both true manhood and transcendence.

    To those of us of Walt’s generation (I admit to being somewhat creeped out by the realization that I’ve outlived him), Badfinger’s song irresistibly recalls an even older tune, Bob Dylan’s “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,” which not only seems appropriate enough for a finale, but also literally recalls Vargas’ valediction:

    Vargas: It’s all over now, Susie.

    As we’ve said, nothing could be more false than Vargas’ naïve happy ending. But if we’re looking for the proper epitaph for both Quinlan and Hank, nothing can beat Tanya’s famous line:

    Schwartz: Is that all you have to say for him?

    Tanya: He was some kind of man . . .

    Notes 

    [1] There’s no room here to even attempt to sort out the deliriously proto-postmodern production history of the film: “It was taken away from Welles during the editing process, and though he submitted an infamous 58-page memo of suggestions after seeing a later rough cut, only some were followed in the version ultimately released. Time has brought change, however, and there are now multiple versions of Touch of Evil for the viewer to choose from; but whereas history often resolves one version of a film to be the definitive article, it’s hard to know which that is in this case. Indeed, it’s so contentious that Masters of Cinema went so far as to include five versions on their 2011 Blu-ray (it would’ve been six, but Universal couldn’t/wouldn’t supply the final one in HD).” There is literally no “director’s cut” since Welles, in his memo, actually agrees with and accepts several of the changes made by the studio, and would have incorporated them into his own “final” version, if there ever had been one. I will avail myself of any shot that seems significant for this essay.

    [2] Article by Neal Justin, Minneapolis Star Tribune, July 14, 2012, here: http://www.startribune.com/entertainment/tv/162294376.html [11]

    [3] http://www.popmatters.com/feature/174332-go-home-walter-gustavo-fring-as-the-greatest-villain-in-television-h/ [12]

    [4] http://breakingbad.wikia.com/wiki/Breaking_Bad [13]

    [5] Of course, Don Draper doesn’t “dig” the psychedelic Beatles, unlike his younger second wife. She leaves a copy of Revolver around and suggest Don listen to “side one, last track” — i.e., “Tomorrow Never Knows” — but Don turns it off after a few measures. (Season 5, Episode 8 [14]) Like James Bond, he thinks that “some things just aren’t done . . . like listening to the Beatles without earmuffs”(Goldfinger); Don returns to compliment by listening to the theme to “You Only Live Twice“ on a barroom jukebox (Season 5, Episode 13 [15])..

    [6] See my review of Dave McGowan’s Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon: Laurel Canyon, Covert Ops & the Dark Heart of the Hippie Dream, here [16].

    [7] See, of course, the title essay of The Homo and the Negro (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2012).

    [8] An “outrageously good re-release: Two discs, all three versions of the film, four commentaries, two featurettes — and a print version of the infamous memo, so you don’t have to squint at your screen to read it.” — DVD Verdict [17].

    [9] “The Gilmore Girls Occupy Wall Street,” reprinted in The Homo and the Negro.

    [10] “He develops a skill set.” — Bryan Cranston on his character, “Walter White,” interviewed during AMC’s 2014 “Breaking Bad Binge.”

    [11] “Why ‘Breaking Bad’ Chose Badfinger’s ‘Baby Blue’ — Music supervisor Thomas Golubić explains Walt’s send-off song” by Steve Knopper; Rolling Stone, October 1, 2013, online here: http://www.rollingstone.com/tv/news/why-breaking-bad-chose-badfingers-baby-blue-20131001#ixzz3PU9xCFfm [18]

    [12] http://breakingbad.wikia.com/wiki/Walter_White [19].

    [13] The turkey ranch, we later realize, is the first thing we hear about Quinlan, right at the start — “Where’s Captain Quinlan? Got him out of bed at his ranch. He’s on his way,” providing a neat cyclicality.

    [14] “Vince Gilligan, who had spent years writing the series The X-Files, expressed interest in creating a series in which the protagonist of the story became the antagonist. Gilligan has stated numerous times that his goal was to turn the protagonist, Walter White from Mr. Chips into Scarface.” — ibid.

    [15] “You clearly don’t know who you’re talking to, so let me clue you in: I am not in danger, Skyler. I am the danger. A guy opens his door and gets shot, and you think that of me? No! I am the one who knocks!” ―Walter White

    [16] http://www.dvdverdict.com/reviews/touchofevil50th.php [17]

    [17] The Christian might object here, and this indeed divides Christianity, in its original or “purest” form, from the other (or the real) Wisdom traditions. This is why the “good Christian” presents such a sorry spectacle: a goody-goody like Ned Flanders, Hell seems so much more interesting than Heaven, and the Devil has all the good tunes. The pagan notion survives or intrudes into Mediaeval Europe in the form of chivalry and knighthood; the hermit wonders at Parzival: “Never has the Grail been won by violence [until now].” Even Protestantism, rejecting “good works” as a path to salvation, still finds itself obsessed with worldly morality. (“The Church has become a moral regulation society” — Alan Watts). We see the same notion in the Greek mysteries, where the philosophical conundrum arose at why a great criminal, if initiated, could merit a better posthumous fate than a “good man,” and of course in Tantrism. See Evola’s Introduction to Magic (Rochester, Vt.: Inner Traditions, 2001) for the former, his The Yoga of Power: Tantra, Shakti and the Secret Way (originally titled The Man of Power; translated by Guido Stucco; Rochester, Vt.: Inner Traditions, 1992) for the latter. “Rascal gurus” (Watts) like Gurdjieff follow the “Way of the Clever Man” and regard their disciples as “Idiots.” Uncle Joe: “Why should I be tailing him [Menzies], he’s an idiot.”

    [18] Jef Costello, “Breaking Bad: A Celebration,” here [20].

    [19] “Why Do We Feel So Good About Walter White’s Bad Behavior?” by Steven Aoun 7 October 2013, here: http://www.popmatters.com/feature/175686-cop-out/ [21]

    [20] Knopper, op. cit.

    [21] Ed Wood (Tim Burton, 1994).

    [22] After filming wrapped, Heston told Welles he had only made one mistake: there were several scenes that were only there to show Vargas was the hero, but really, “The film is about the fall of Hank Quinlan.” Welles said “I know. So we won’t have any problem with the cutting, will we?” – DVD commentary.

    [23] The liberal elite “knows” Heston must be a bad actor, since like Reagan, he’s a “conservative”; asked about his politics, people will say “gun nut” rather than, say, “marched in Washington arm in arm with Martin Luther King” or “gave jobs to blacklisted actors.”

    [24] Welles crafted a whole backstory about Vargas coming from a wealthy family, attending Stanford, etc., making him more Anglo than your standard illegal. Mexico, like most Third World countries, is ruled by a caste of light-skinned, European natives, as a look at the last few Mexican presidents would confirm. Speaking of Universal, I understand that when Edgar Bronfman, the Seagram’s heir who “always wanted to own a movie studio,” if I may paraphrase Kane, put together the Seagram’s/Universal/Vivendi deal, he was easily outsmarted by his French counterparts since, though a native of Quebec, he understood French not at all, having, like the rest of the Jewish elite, spent his life entirely among the anglophonic; French was for the peasants.

    [25] These are the people who sneer that “wrestling is fake, man”; sure, isn’t Selma too? And I bet Spielberg didn’t “really” kill anyone on Schindler’s List either.

    [26] http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/10/04/353516402/does-television-spanglish-need-a-rewrite [22]

    [27] Joe Bob Brigg’s intro to the Guilty Pleasures DVD release of The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Become Mixed-Up Zombies (Ray Dennis Stekler, 1963; 2004).

    [28] http://newimprovedgorman.blogspot.com/2012/05/really-extraordinary-piece-by-dave.html [23]

    [29] Done with contact lens and a cow’s tongue. Ironically, Welles had wanted a quick, almost subliminal shot, but the studio, as part of its re-editing, demanded a longer one.

    [30] http://newimprovedgorman.blogspot.com/2012/05/really-extraordinary-piece-by-dave.html [23]

    [31] Everyone knows the Negro has the worst hair of any race; hence the plethora of “Black Hair” magazines — corresponding to the White man’s self-help literature — the obsession with wigs and barbershops, extensions and weaves (always Asian hair, recognized as the best) and ultimately, for many males and even some females, application of the razor to eliminate the problem altogether. The free, proud White man wears his hair long and wild — the cavalier, cowboy, Gen. Custer, etc. The hair is shorn for boot camp or prison, and hence, like baggy (no belts!) pants, appeals to those degenerate Whites who ape the supposedly “manly” Negro, from skinheads to whiggers. And hence, my aforementioned aversion to Heisenberg as a role model for White men.

    [32] Audiences today need to remind themselves that Welles, though no longer exactly boyish, was still a handsome enough Hollywood leading man, not the bloated, shambling talk-show clown he later became. The fat-suit and fake nose are far more convincing than the “old Kane” makeup (although at times, like while thrashing Grandi around in the tiny hotel room, his he recalls middle-aged Kane smashing up Susan’s room — here, it’s Vargas’ wife, Susie), and audiences in 1958 would have been genuinely shocked by his appearance. In a classic Hollywood story, Welles attended a party right after a day of filming, without time to clean himself up. He hadn’t been in Hollywood for a few years, and was created with cries of “Orson, you haven’t changed a bit! What’s your secret, you old dog?” and the like.

    [33] Menzies, as befits his stooge role, is truly unmanned when Quinlan finally shoots him at the end: unlike Quinlan, he loses his hat, and even after shooting Quinlan he drops his gun as well, as Quinlan sneers “That’s the second bullet I’ve stopped for you, partner.”

    [34] Is “raising Cain” related to “breaking bad”?

    [35] Menizies had been, as he himself says, Quinlan’s “sucker” all along, unknowingly helping to plant evidence and build Quinlan’s reputation, but, as Uncle Joe says, he’s too much of an “idiot” to replace him. Instead, like Judas, his role is to betray Quinlan. He switches sides, and when he shows up at the whorehouse, after Vargas wires him up, the drunken Quinlan says “I thought you were Vargas.” After discovering the bug, he shouts “I’m talking to you, now, Vargas, through this walking microphone [Mike-rophone] that used to be my partner.” Menzies is, at best, what Jack Donovan would call a “runt”; see my use of this concept in my review of De Palma’s The Untouchables, reprinted in The Homo and the Negro.

    [36] As we quoted Cranston at the start, to “break bad” means to “turn off the path of the straight and narrow, when they’ve gone wrong. And that could be for that day or for a lifetime.”

    [37] “He mother never really love him / He crimefighting covers up a basic insecurity” is one of the lines in MST3k’s English “translation” of the Jet Jaguar theme song’s Japanese lyrics in “Episode 212: Godzilla versus Megalon.”

    [38] http://www.culturecourt.com/F/Noir/TEvil.htm [24]

    [39] Quinlan: Our job is tough enough.

    Vargas: It’s supposed to be. It has to be tough. A policeman’s job is only easy in a police state. That’s the whole point, Captain — who’s the boss, the cop or the law?

    [40] On the other hand [25]: “Amusingly, Bazin is indeed forced to admit that ‘in the interviews which he gave me . . . Welles challenged this interpretation. He maintains that his moral position is unequivocal and he condemns [Quinlan] absolutely.’ ‘The personal element in the film is the hatred I feel for the way the police abuse their power . . . The things said by Vargas are what I would say myself . . . that’s the angle the film should be seen from; everything Vargas says, I say.’ You can get pretentious about it all you want, and bring to bear political views that the film doesn’t support (after all, within the film Quinlan is punished for his crimes and the ‘mediocre’ [Truffaut’s word] moral hero triumphs), but sometimes a spade is a spade; sometimes a villain is a villain; sometimes your disgusting moral perspective isn’t being covertly supported by a film that seems to condemn it.” Of course, I will argue that Quinlan isn’t “punished” at all (death being a successful release from a realm of material futility), Vargas hardly “triumphs,” and Welles’ second-hand ACLU platitudes are irrelevant to what the film actually presents. Pretentious, moi?

    [41] Not to be confused with TV’s Frank of the MST3k cast.

    [42] IMDB on Breaking Bad: Rabid Dog [26] (2013) (TV Episode).

    [43] Border and bridge are archetypal liminal locations, appropriate to such alchemical procedures; see my De Palma review referenced above.

    [44] As the car chase starts up at the beginning of The Beast of Yucca Flats (another Southwest epic) the camera “incompetently” lingers on the second car while the first roars off-screen. “Off-camera excitement, the Coleman Francis way.” – MST3k, Season 7, Episode 21.

    [45] See note 11, above.

    [46] The finest example of this I know of is the last scene of the last movie of supposedly “bad” director Coleman Francis. Here, in Red Zone Cuba, Francis, like Welles, stars as the, literal, heavy. He runs across a field (the warp and woof of the material universe) and is shot down from a helicopter (a Francis trademark, replacing the crane shot and allied to shamanistic themes of flight); as he falls, he spins around (the whirl of manifestation, symbolized by the polar symbol of the swastika). Is this “the end of Rico” (as in the iconic end of Little Caesar)? No! A narrator suddenly appears for the first time, and it Coleman Francis himself, his character obviously delivering the epitaph — “Griffin. He ran all the way to Hell” — from a higher realm. I intend to explore the entire Shamanistic oeuvre of Coleman Francis in an upcoming essay.

    [47] http://www.theburningplatform.com/2014/10/16/either-youre-the-butcher-or-youre-the-cattle/ [27]. This fan also “was never sold on Walt being a badass tough guy so that never worked for me. He was more of an extremely lucky, bumbling idiot!”

     

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Manos Redivivus: “The Master is Gone, But He is With Us Always”
    (”The Untouchables” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    [1]6,627 words

    Manos: The Hands of Fate – Restored Edition [2]
    Written and Directed by Harold P. Warren
    Restoration Producer: Ben Solovey
    Synapse Studios, 2015

    “Why is he sleeping on a pile of dirt?”
    “This movie has deep philosophical significance.”
    “What about the beer bottles?”
    “Oh . . .”[1] 

    Well, here it is: the bottom of the bottomless barrel,[2] the worst of the worst — the loathed[3] and legendary Worst Movie of All Time: Manos, the Hands of Fate.[4] Comes now this two-disc version, on DVD and Blu-Ray, that surely must be considered definitive.[5] And there’s nothing in all this restoration and commentary that comes close to in any way challenging the film’s reputation.[6]

    But why? Why this film of all films?[7] Other films certainly have their own urgent, unique claims.

    It’s not like there are no other candidates, even within the somewhat arbitrary universe of “movies I saw on Mystery Science Theater 3000.” For example,[8] The Crawling Terror shares Manos’ origins in a bet (that the director could make a scary movie just like those guys in Hollywood), casting of the director in a starring role (though under the pseudonym, “Vic Savage,”), entirely overdubbed soundtrack (the original having been lost, supposedly, in Lake Mead), and above all, arguably the worst cinematography in history — some shots are so over-exposed that the screen is almost entirely white, making Manos, even in its unrestored state, seem like a Technicolor blockbuster.

    Other films share the incompetent filmmaking but go one better in post-production. Monster A Go-Go and The Dead Talk Back also dispense, for whatever reason, with sound sync, in favor of narrators; but the first was never even finished (Bill Rebane sold the remains to schlockmeister Herschel Gordon Lewis, who patched in new scenes, using some but not all of the original actors[9]), while Dead, finished, sat on a film lab shelve from 1957 to 1997 when it was discovered and shipped directly to Mystery Science Theater. Both movies also share the supremely irritating trait of cheating the ending: “There was no monster,” the narrator sternly informs us, and, as Tom Servo exclaims, “Hey, the dead never talked back!”

    The attentive reader will have noted that so far all these movies (one hesitates to call them “films”) are of the sci-fi/horror genres. It’s true that these genres, much to the chagrin of their fans, do tend to produce a lot of junk.[10] Or it may be, that their fans are seriously devoted enough[11] to demand a high level of performance to match the seriousness of the theme, making the gap between aim and achievement more visible, and risible, than in, say, a failed Hollywood rom-com like Gigli.[12]

    But it can happen elsewhere: take The Wild World of Batwoman, where the sci-fi elements (a superheroine with no particular abilities or fashion sense, a mad scientist whose role is realized mainly through splicing in scenes form The Mole People and a Mexican wrestling movie) are combined with an apparently[13] deliberate attempt at “comedy” or satire of some kind; the gap here produces 80 minutes of continuous douche chills.[14]

    Douche chills, however, will keep you awake. Just as its craggy non-actors have “broken the face barrier,” The Starfighters is easily the most boring, sleep-inducing movie ever made.[15] Designed, apparently (more research is needed on this), to convince NATO that the F-104 Starfighter was worthy of purchase, despite a comically deadly accident record,[16] its combination of stock footage and non-actors [17] creates a cinematic black hole.

    “It’s like they forgot to have things happen.”

    “I really think there’s more nothing in this movie than any we’ve ever seen.”[18]

    “Nothing,” however, can only remind us of the final challenger to Manos, the first entry in the Coleman Francis Trilogy (the Godfather Saga of bad films), The Beast of Yucca Flats.

    “About the most nothing film I’ve seen . . . little more than a home movie someone might make.” (Bob Burns, “film historian and erstwhile movie gorilla”).

    “An incredibly deadening experience” (Larry Blamire, B-movie director)

    “Before this movie, there was no such thing as clinical depression.” (Tom Servo, robot)[19]

    And yet . . .

    Bad as it is, Beast does edge out Manos, if only on points.

    Beast’s narration has its own Dadaist charms.[20] The cinematography is really rather good; although this was cameraman Lee Strosnider’s first chance to film 16mm, he had just come form several years making industrial films, while Hal Warren came straight from industry — fertilizer, in fact — and was actually using little more than a home movie camera.[21] Larry Blamire comments on the “heartbreaking” quality of the shots of the Flannery O’Connor-esque mother wandering around looking for her lost boys, and Frank Conniff (“TV’s Frank”) refers to the “dark kind of lyricism” seen in the next film, The Skydivers (although, as he admits, no one else agrees).

    And that’s the main reason: Beast is part of a trilogy, and needs to be judged as such.[22] Above all, it’s only in the context of the three films together that the elements of repetition and futility emerge which make Francis’s work the mythological masterpiece that it is.[23]

    Repetition and masterpiece: that brings us to Manos. If you’ve read this far, you likely know the “plot,” which has been summarized as [3]:

    The peculiarly-paced story of a deeply uncharismatic man (director Warren) taking his wife Margaret (Diane Mahree) and daughter Debbie (Jackey Neyman) on a vacation that runs afoul of a cult led by the plurally-married Master (Tom Neyman) and his jittery, big-kneed manservant Torgo (John Reynolds).[24]

    So why does anyone care about this cinematic turd, and why care about polishing it? Why any “bad” movie? Consider this:

    In attempting to explain the film’s appeal, the Los Angeles Times hypothesized, “After screening Manos for probably the 10th time, I’ve concluded it has to do with intimacy. Because it is such a pure slice of Warren’s brain — he wrote, directed, produced and starred, and brooked no collaboration — Manos amounts to the man’s cinematically transfigured subconscious.”[25]

    But I, at least, am not interested in some Judaic pseudo-science like “psychoanalysis,” but rather in the super-science of Traditional metaphysics.[26] As Luis Varady has recently pointed out, the ancient wise men may have lack our physics and astronomy, but since they had the ancient teaching that “As above, so below,” the Microcosm is the Macrocosm . . .

    All things mirror all things and to fully understand even a small fragment of reality gives an insight into reality as a whole — this is a common teaching in the mystical traditions of the world.[27

    . . . they could learn the deeper truths about reality by studying their own consciousness, the results of which study they encoded in stories we call “myths.”

    Cosmological myths were used as a means to convey spiritual truths, and these spiritual truths pointed directly at the true nature of our psychology.

    And so:

    It is not the reasonableness or likelihood of a myth that attracts human beings to it. Rather, a myth’s attraction is its potential ability to convey spiritual or moral truths to every member of society, from the most intellectual to the illiterate.[28]

    In the same way, it is not the “reasonableness or likelihood” of a movie — the myths of the 20th century — that explains their appeal, but their “potential ability to convey spiritual or moral truths to every member of society.” Antd this potential is stronger in bad movies, which lack the pseudo-intellectual “sophistication” of the “quality production,” which is usually just a big budget rehash of Judaic PC-ideology, instead, most often accidentally, flying under the radar of both the director’s consciousness and industry censorship.[29]

    Furthermore, that “bad” movies should be the focus of attention makes sense, since humans have an odd relationship with truth, especially metaphysical truths about themselves and their situation: they crave it, yet fear and loathe it at the same time.

    And this, I think, is the key to the “bad film”: it sounds themes we suspect are true and important, but which we don’t want to admit; hence, we mock it, as the Roman soldiers and crucified thief mocked Christ. “It’s only a movie, and a bad one at that.”

    Writing about the Gnostics, and why they lost out to the “orthodox” Christians, Michael Hoffman writes:

    Why did people embrace childish lower-level Christianity (i.e., literal interpretation of the myths)?

    People were starting to shy away from some of the painful truths revealed in the mysteries. They had mixed feelings about being mere puppets of gods/fates.[30]

    The scriptures offered a choice between supernaturalist Literalism that takes pseudo-history as reality, and allegorical myth that reveals determinism — most people chose to stay in the supernaturalist reading.

    If some Michael,[31] Captain of the Deterministic Angels were to actually do as the New Testament prophecies and reveal the Christian mystery of God’s kingdom, and this kingdom turns out to be entheogenic Christ-myth determinism, and “eternal” life is experienced only during this life, most people would plug their ears.

    What use is a mere revelation of the metaphysical truth about moral agency, especially when such a revelation robs us of infinitely open possibilities and puts strict limitations on the types of freedom we can have? This is the already famous red pill versus blue pill choice from the movie The Matrix: would you rather slumber in often-comfortable fantasy or awaken to often-uncomfortable truth? Do you want the bliss of fantastic, uncritical, wishful thinking, or the sober intellectual satisfaction of high rational integrity?

    If you could resolve your metaphysical intellectual discomfort by waking up to deterministic consistency, would you want to?

    If God’s kingdom is deterministic, we don’t want it. It is no wonder the quantum physicists rejected (by fiat) finite, hidden-variables determinism and insisted on the endless magic of Copenhagenism instead. It is no wonder people chose the psychologically open-ended Literalist reading of Christianity rather than moving on to let the mystery of the deterministic kingdom of God be revealed.

    And, on a not-unimportant related point, boredom induction conduces to transmission of spiritual truth and ultimately to enlightenment, or at least, cultic membership.

    What is this mythological or metaphysical element that is feared by the masses? As already hinted, and as you might suspect from what you’ve heard about the movie, or seen yourself, it’s repetition. Obviously, the movie is about Fate, but specifically, in the words of the title of one of the soundtrack cues, “The Futility of Fate.”[32] Life here in the material world, on the samsaric plane, is an endless, horizontal round, a Circle, of the same, karma-induced events over and over; liberation/salvation/enlightenment is a matter of tossing aside karma (what I’ve called “passing the buck” and ascending vertically, via a Spiral (a Turn of the Screw), to a new level.[33]

    The cyclical nature of Manos’s plot is actually fairly common, even as a screenwriting technique. What raises Manos to its unique status are the ways in which Manos, deliberately or not, takes it up to eleven [4].

    The most notable, and perhaps the one “feature” that most everyone focuses on to explain the Manos Experience, is the extreme level of repetition in the dialogue, thus making it of a piece with the cyclical nature of the plot.

    Torgo: There is no way out of here. It will be dark soon. There is no way out of here.

    Torgo: He has left this world. But he is with us always. No matter where he goes, he is with us.

    Torgo: There is nothing to fear, Madam. The Master likes you. Nothing will happen to you. He likes you.

    Maggie: Likes me? I thought you said he was dead!

    Torgo: Dead? No, Madam, not dead the way you know it. He is with us always. Not dead the way you know it. He is with us always.

    And my personal favorite, Michael and Maggie’s rather philosophical — or fatalistic — duet in response to his daughter’s dog’s disappearance:

    Maggie: Pepe’s gone. I just hope Debbie will understand.

    Mike: She’ll understand. She’s my baby, she’ll understand.

    Maggie: I hope so, darling. I sure hope so.

    Mike: She’s my baby, she’ll understand.

    It’s like listening to Charlie Parker jam with Lester Young!

    Further increasing the echo-effect is the soundtrack, which, as mentioned before, is entirely post-production. For various reasons, only two men and one woman were available, so the characters’ voices quickly become indistinguishable,[34] and the child’s voice, clearly a woman’s falsetto, achieves a Brechtian level of alienation.[35] This kind of “dubbing” leads to the “doubling” I’ve frequently pointed out in films with mythological subtexts.[36]

    Most of the repetitive dialogue belongs to audience favorite Torgo, who also acquires the equally beloved and repetitive Torgo’s theme [5], which sums up the movie rather like some big Hollywood themes like those of Gone with the Wind or A Summer Place.

    And mentioning Torgo leads us to the second theme: who passes the buck? Certainly not Michael, who we see at the very end, has replaced Torgo, even (of course) repeating his lines:

    Michael: “I am Michael. I take care[37] of the place[38] while the Master is away.”

    No, surprisingly enough, it is Torgo who passes the buck to Michael. Yet, how can this be?[39] Torgo, when last seen, was running away, his coat sleeve aflame, while The Master held his burning, amputated hand aloft, laughing like a Bond villain.

    But that’s just the point: Torgo gets away. The obvious fakery of the burning hand suggests that there has been some kind of magic trick, on one or both their parts.

    First Wife: You are losing your control. Even Torgo defies you.

    This also makes sense of the odd moment right before, where the Master commands his wives to kill Torgo (or rather, in the Manos idiom, “Kill! . . . Kill!) and they proceed to enact a kind of “liturgical dance” (MST3k) that culminates in what looks like an attempt to kill through . . . massage. It’s all fake, a set-up.

    And finally, one can see, as Torgo is rolfed to death, that his hat has a large hole in the crown, alluding to the Traditional symbol of the vertical path of escape, like smoke through a the top of a teepee.[40]

    Or perhaps the hand, the symbolism of which is surely a displacement for the phallus, is sacrificed to the god Manos? Or is it the equivalent of the eye, which Wotan sacrifices for wisdom?[41]

    No one knows, or more significantly, no one seems to be curious about, what seems to me to be the most curious aspect of the whole production, the bizarre and unique hand symbolism[42] that permeates the film, from the title onward.[43]

    Presumably, our Freudian friends will suggest this is a phallic symbol. Actually, the “hands” in question, starting with Torgo’s staff, are usually upright, at the ends of arm-like structures, suggesting not so much hands as fists.[44] In any event, the symbolism seems muddled here; the vertical staff should symbolize escape or “upright” in the sense of virile and “upstanding,” as Evola says in The Hermetic Tradition;[45] yet both Michael and the First Wife are tied to upright poles or trees, and subsequently are vanquished, while Torgo is forced to lie on a horizontal slab during his tickle-torture, and triumphs.

    The symbolism is much clearer with a related theme: As Jackey Neyman (“Debbie”) points out with remarkable insight, her character is always falling asleep on the couch, and the family members are always falling down — i.e., falling horizontally into samsara. But, she adds, Torgo never falls down, despite his unforgettable stumbling walk.[46]

    Even the MST3k crew intuits this, observing that “Torgo wobbles but he won’t fall down.” The wobble/hand symbolisms come together when the Master once more spreads his arms to disclose the giant hands embroidered on the inside of his robe,[47] and the crew suggests “Push him over!” Ultimately, this is what happens; the “Master” returns to his suspended, samsaric state, while Torgo makes a break for it. Michael and his family, attempting to escape, ultimately decide to return to the house (I guess on the principle of “they’d never think to look for us there!”), a horizontal trek that leads us back to the beginning, again.[48]

    The idea that Torgo is the hero, or at least the protagonist, is not that forced. The featurette notes that the original (and only) review of the film, in the El Paso Daily Post, already referred to Torgo as “the hero.” The character of Torgo, along with his “haunting theme music” immediately piqued the imagination of the MST3k crew, who incorporated Torgo into their cast of recurring characters (played by head writer Mike Nelson, who would eventually replace Joel Hodgson as the human host). The 2008 making-of documentary is entitled Hotel Torgo. And as recently as March of this year,

    The murderers on the Elementary [6] episode “T-Bone And The Iceman [7]” used the physical features of Torgo (portrayed by John Reynolds) to compose a fake facial composite to get the NYPD off their trail. It worked for a while before they were caught, due to the character of Dr. Joan Watson having recognized Torgo’s features from the film.[49]

    What, then, of this restored edition? What was the condition of the earliest cut of the film, the so-called “workprint”; was the film always this hard to watch? Apparently not.

    The trick about the cost-efficient on 16mm Ektachrome reversal film on which Manos was shot is that there was never a negative: when the film from the camera was developed, what resulted was the actual picture, not a negative thereof. That developed film was then duplicated for editing, eventually being assembled into the workprint that Solovey now possessed. It’s a minor miracle that the workprint survived not only standard disposal, but also the 1994 Northridge Earthquake which (according to Emersons) destroyed all the other extant Manos materials. And it’s pretty, too, thanks to the inherent hardiness of Ektachrome material.

    The few audiences that saw Manos at the time certainly didn’t get to see anything as spiffy as the workprint. Once editing was complete, a 35mm blowup was made — making the picture twice as grainy — and prints for theaters were copied from that blowup. Not a single fuck was given about framing or color by the people who made those prints, resulting in a badly cropped picture with much of the color drained out. When the film hit VHS decades later, it was based on the horrible theatrical prints, and of course VHS is not exactly an archival format, so it made the picture look that much worse.

    Although the result is better than anything seen by audiences in 1966, Solovey, in the restoration featurette, is adamant that the idea was not to “upgrade” the film into contemporary quality, in sound or vision, but to strip away accumulated dust, fingerprints, splices, etc., and return it to what was originally on the editing bench.

    What we have here, then, is rather like the “historically informed performance practice” movement (misleadingly mislabeled “authentic practice”) that aims not at a metaphysically impossible and aesthetically irrelevant attempt to “hear what the music sounded like back then” but rather to strip away centuries of acquired interpretations so that we can form our own interpretation of the work itself.[50]

    So, how does the “restored” version differ from the theatrical version (included, dubbed the “Grindhouse” cut, on the Blu-ray two-disc set only) which was used on MST3k, and is available on numerous cheap DVDs (it’s in the public domain[51]) other than in presentation?

    Most notably, the infamous opening, a long, infinitely boring sequence of the family just driving along the highway (“The slowest car chase ever”—MST3k). The story is that this was supposed to have the opening credits superimposed, but for whatever reason — money, competence, or patience — it was never done. The non-MST DVD’s I’ve seen just lop it off, and start with a simple title shot.[52] The restoration keeps all this footage, but starts with some establishing shots (including an appropriate “Waste” container) of the Mordor-like surroundings of the director’s native El Paso (“Welcome to lovely Ground Zero” Joel says of a later “scenic” background, eerily foreshadowing 9/11).[53]

    There’s also the aforementioned sequence in which the Master taunts, slaps, and smears blood on his tied-up first wife. Otherwise, individual shots seem to sometime be slightly longer. Some sequences, like the family’s escape attempt, have more shots included, the voices better synced; I suppose over time the theatrical release was subject innumerable cuts and splices, either to speed it up [!] for TV viewing or due to accidental damage.

    There’s nothing in all this that comes close to in any way challenging the film’s reputation, for good or bad.[54]

    In the featurette “Restoring the Hands of Fate,” although he likes to use the word “schmutz” a lot, restorationist Solovey presents as an almost aggressively Aryan type in appearance, modest and plain spoken. He is a very trustworthy and pleasant person to listen to, considering the types one runs across in the film world.[55] He takes obvious pride in in speaking of the fine German scanner he managed to obtain for the task, and the amateur viewer tends to believe what he says about the difficulties and decisions involved in the restoration process.

    Solovey ultimately makes a very important point: movies, a 20th-century invention, must be preserved, since so much of our history is now in them.[56]

    Speaking of history: one tends to think of productions like Manos as being in some sense auteur productions, for better or worse,[57] and so most attention has been focused on writer/producer/director/star Hal Warren. One thing that emerges from the “Hands: The Fate of Manos” featurette is that Tom Nyman, who played The Master, may have had far more influence on the film, providing, as he says with ironic modesty, “everything”: he contributed his own daughter as the daughter, his dog is the dog, his car as one of the two cars (he’s not sure which at this point), and as “production designer” he designed all the costumes (which were sewn by his wife, except for Torgo’s overalls, coat, and hat, which were Tom’s own) and above all, the set decorations: all those hands. Turns out, he had already sculpted dozens of such things (“His art was going through a period of fascination with hands” says Solovey, deadpan). Indeed, “One day I suggested we just call it Manos: The Hands of Fate.”

    Graciously, Tom adds that Warren “was involved in everything on the film,” And on that note, the featurette ends with Neyman, still photographer Anslem Spring (a German soldier who was hiding out — I mean, living in — El Paso), and Solovey paying homage to Warren as the kind of DIY culture-creator I’ve lauded before; Neyman emphasizes that Warren knew he was making a B-picture (if only!) with local community theater talent, but thought it would serve as “the start of something big.” Solovey even attributes to Warren the start of “the kind of independent, self-financed” filmmaking we’ve become familiar with since, say, Easy Rider (made around the time and place of Manos).

    Funded by a Kickstarter campaign, the restoration process itself is an instance of the same kind of “hey, let’s make a movie” American can-do-ism as the movie itself — although, one must add immediately, on a far more successful level.

    Finally, the audio commentary track brings us the Neymans reminiscing about the production; rather than a couple of film nerds one-upping each other with trivia, it’s more like eavesdropping on a father and daughter still closely knit after all these years. Who knew Manos could be heartwarming?[58] [8]

    So, buy or not buy? Neophytes[59] should start with the MST3k’d version; it was available as a single disc from Rhino back in the day, now out of print, and currently Shout! Factory has a two-disc release, with the theatrical release and MST3k-centric special features.

    Once — if — you decide to experience it firsthand, this set is the way to go. It makes for a far more “pleasant” viewing experience, if that word can ever be used in the context of Manos, and, to paraphrase Tolkien, those who approve of courtesy (at least) to long dead Texas fertilizer salesman will purchase it, and no other.

    Notes

    [1] Jackey and Tom Neyman, commentary track.

    [2] “Coleman Francis is at the bottom of the barrel that’s beneath the one Ed Wood is in.” — Larry Blamire, interviewed in “No Dialogue Necessary: The Making of an Off-Camera Masterpiece,” a featurette on the DVD version of the MST3k episode Beast of Yucca Flats.

    [3] “Oh Joel, there’s a plethora of loathsomeness,” says Crow T. Robot as the end credits begin to roll.

    [4] According to Wikipedia: “Manos holds a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 11 reviews. The book Hollywood’s Most Wanted lists Manos as the #2 in the list of “The Worst Movies Ever Made,” following Plan 9 from Outer Space [9]. Entertainment Weekly proclaimed Manos “The Worst Movie Ever Made.” The scene in which the seven-year-old Debbie is dressed as one of the Master’s wives was included in a list of “The Most Disgusting Things We’ve Ever Seen” by the Mystery Science Theater 3000 crew.”

    [5] New 2K restoration; audio commentary; Hands: The Fate of MANOS Featurette; Restoring the Hands of Fate Featurette; FELT: The Puppet Hands of Fate Featurette; Manos: The Hands of Fate: Grindhouse Edition (Blu-ray only).

    [6] “Will I have a bad rep?” is a line suggested by Tom Servo as the teenage girl in Manos confronts the highway cops.

    [7] “But why? What’s the difference between 17 and 20?” demands the teenage boy in the educational short “Are You Ready for Marriage?”

    [8] I discuss these films, briefly, at the end of my “Essential Films . . . & Others,” here [10].

    [9] “This is like an entirely different movie” Joel says in stunned amazement during Episode 421; unfortunately, the new movie is just as bad.

    [10] Lovecraft, of course, was a frequent and rigorous critic of this fellow “authors,” while for sci-fi, the legendary Theodore Sturgeon defensively formulated his well-known Law, or Revelation [11], “90% of everything is crap.”

    [11] The stereotypical “nerd,” demanding to know why dome detail was changed, and proclaiming, like the Simpsons’ Comic Book Guy, “worst [blank] ever.”

    [12] Patton Oswald, apparently an MST3k fan (he moderates a couple of Comic Con MST3k panels that appear on the DVDs) has a bit where he fills in the blanks on the typical movie preview “From the director of BLANK and the star of BLANK, comes BLANK” with various flatulent noises. See Gregory Hood’s Counter-Currents review of Oswald’s implicitly White “black comedy” Big Fan here [12].

    [13] Directors frequently insist, like Martin Short’s Nathan Thurm [13] character, that of course, they were actually trying to be funny, why would you think otherwise? For example, Lewis insisted that whatever Rebane thought he was doing, he, Lewis, at least knew it was crap and tried to turn it into a Twilight Zone parody. As Mad magazine told us long ago (to the tune of “The Rain in Spain”), “An ad that’s bad will wind up spoofed in Mad.” As a further turn of the screw, directors began sending their own recent but unknown films to MST3k in hopes of generating enough “so bad it’s good” buzz to pump up home video sales or even, as with Hobgoblins, finance a sequel.

    [14] Angels’ Revenge, a Charlie’s Angels rip-off, has the same effect, not only humiliating TV sitcom legends like Alan Hale, Jr,. Jim Backus and Pat Buttram, but also dragging in the declining Peter Lawford and even Jack Palance, pre-Batman and pre-Oscar™ .

    [15] In color, at least. Radar Secret Service (1950), with its washed out, grey print, grey men and grey clothing and vehicles, takes the black and white title, employing what MST3k calls “sleep-induction through hypno-helio-static-stasis” (Episode 620).

    [16] The movie’s base commander proudly says “it’s even been called a rocket with a man in it,” but in the real world it was known as “The Brick with Wings” and “The Widowmaker.” Ten years later, Robert Calvert of Hawkwind would record a “satirical concept album” based on the Luftwaffe’s experience with the plane: Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters (UA, 1974) Musicians who appeared on the album include members of Hawkwind [14], The Pink Fairies [15], Brian Eno [16], Arthur Brown [17], Jim Capaldi [18], and Adrian Wagner. See the Wikipedia entry here. [19]

    [17] As the gang says about The Skydivers, Episode 609, rather than have the actors do their own flying, they had the flyers do their own acting.

    [18] MST3k, Episode 620.

    [19] All from the DVD extra “No Dialogue Necessary: The Making of an Off-Camera Masterpiece.”

    [20] “I thought I was listening to Spoon River Anthology performed by atomic mutants.” — Larry Blamire.

    [21] The MST DVD includes not only extensive contributions from Strosnider in the “making of” featurette — “No Dialogue Necessary: The Making of an Off-Camera Masterpiece” — he also gets his own interview segment, “Coleman Francis: The Cinematic Poet of Parking.”

    [ [20]22] Of a gunfight from ten feet away, after a careful, lovingly drawn out parking sequence, Crow remarks that “He’s trying things here he’ll perfect in Red Zone Cuba.”

    [23] As will be shown in my forthcoming essay, “Footprints on the Wasteland: The White Apocalypse of Coleman Francis.” Starfighters goes perhaps too far in the direction of entropy; the absence of “things happening” entails, of course, an inability to suggest the endless repetition of things. There is, however, the endless, repeated “refueling” stock footage, a lame practical joke that occurs twice (and actors so generic as to prompt the comment “Is that that one guy?”) as well stock footage of take-offs/landings; the latter perhaps suggest the puppet theme as well, although, since the emphasis is on how gosh darn safe the F-104 is, there’s only one bailout, and it’s off camera. Francis’s Skydivers (note the linguistic similarity) will by contrast be entire constructed of planes taking off and landing, and the eponymous skydivers diving, with the later a combination of stock footage and close-up shots of the actors hanging from harnesses in a warehouse.

    [24] “Manos: The Hands of Fate Restored — The So-Called “Worst Movie” Has Never Looked Better,” by Sherilyn Connelly on The Robot’s Voice, March 14, 2014, here [3].

    [25] Wikipedia, quoting Dan Neil, “Why We Love Bad Movies,” Los Angeles Times, August 7, 2005.

    [26] Let’s get the “psychology” out of the way. Judging from the recollections of the actresses in the “making of” featurette, Hal Warren seems to have been the usual horndog/control freak typical of the males of the Mad Man era: suggesting an actress take off her blouse, then quickly retreating to “just joking” when she refuses; entering the same actress in the Miss Texas contest without her knowledge, a publicity stunt that backfires when tells the judges that she’s an atheist, etc. This is clearly manifested in the film in three sequences: the infamous nightgown wrestling of the Master’s wives (the MST crew suggest “this is why the film was made”); the scene where one of the wives sees the husband/director unconscious and tied to a tree, whereupon she begins to kiss him, lick his face, and then slap him (as Tom Neyman says on the commentary track, “Sure, it’s what every woman wants); and a scene cut from the MST version, in which the Master slaps his own tied up wife. Misogynistic, yes, but too amateurishly made to be either erotic or disturbing. Hal Warren though had nothing on the director of the above-mentioned The Creeping Terror, the Bob Crane-like Vic Savage, who “makes Ed Wood look like Ward Cleaver” according to the recent bioflick, The Creep Behind the Camera [21] (Peter Scheurman, 2014).

    [27] “To know and love one other human being is the root of all wisdom.” — Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited.

    [28] Luis Varady: The Wisdom of the Serpent: The Gnostic Trinity of the Peratae (Amazon Kindle, 2015). For more on Varady, see “Lords of the Visible World: A Modern Reconstruction of an Ancient Heresy,” my review of his earlier essay A Life Beyond Change: The Gnostic System of Carpocrates (Amazon Kindle, 2015).

    [29] See my discussion of Robert Aldrich’s Kiss Me Deadly, whose PC-anti-anti-communism intentions were subverted precisely because the screenwriter “had contempt for the material” and “wrote it fast, on autopilot,” thus allowing Traditional themes to emerge. “Mike Hammer, Occult Dick: Kiss Me Deadly as a Lovecraftian Tale,” reprinted in The Eldritch Evola . . . & Others (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2014).

    [30] How appropriate, then, that included with the Restored Edition as a special feature is FELT: The Puppet Hands of Fate, a retelling of the Manos story — one is tempted to say, the Manos myth — with puppets.

    [31] Michael, of course, is our “protagonist,” but apart from the aforementioned lack of charisma, I will soon suggest our “hero” is someone else.

    [32] Oh, and the soundtrack, the kind of laid-back jazz noodling that older guys like Warren still thought was “cool” back in the early sixties, and which I, growing increasingly fogey-ish, have lately grown fond of, calling to mind as it does long summer afternoons, light rain, and the soothing tones of Jessica Walter asking Clint Eastwood to play “Misty” for her. Although Coleman Francis mainly used free “library” music, The Skydivers has two interesting exceptions: a brief excerpt from Lionel Hampton’s “Going Home” (prompting Tom Servo to whine “Dad, change the station!”) and, by contrast, an appearance by then-famous surf guitarist Jimmy Bryant playing his then-hit, “Stratosphere Boogie.” “The jazz-centric score for Hal Warren’s horror “Master”-piece is forthcoming from Brooklyn’s own Ship to Shore Phono Co. The company sourced its audio from the 35mm soundtrack negative that was created for making theatrical release prints. The master tapes have never surfaced, thus leaving this 35mm neg as the closest one can get to the original recorded material. The company is offering three vinyl variants that will total a press run of 2000 LPs. Expected release date is the end of this month. More info about MANOS and how to buy the different vinyl color editions is here [22].” — Manos: The Hands of Fate screening & soundtrack premiere in Brooklyn on Oct. 7th!” here [23]. Check out the soundtrack LP here [24]: “Utilizing sparse, jazzy arrangements, Robert Smith, Jr. [25] and Russ Huddleston [26]’s score evokes the same bizarre, yet oddly compelling, feelings that fans of the film know and love.”

    [33] See the essays reprinted in The Eldritch Evola, as well as my forthcoming collection, Passing the Buck: a Traditionalist Goes to the Movies, which will include “Thanks for Watching: Awakening Through Repetition in Groundhog Day, Point of Terror, & Manhunter, Part 1 [27]“ and “Phil & Will: Awakening Through Repetition in Groundhog Day, Point of Terror, & Manhunter, Part 2 [28].”

    [34] “Hey, that’s just one guy!” mutters Joel in muted wonder.

    [35] The poor child burst out in tears on hearing her “voice” during the premiere showing.

    [36] For example, in Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables; see my review reprinted in The Homo and the Negro (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2012).

    [37] In the first act, Michael, typically, shouted “Where the hell is that caretaker?” This is the only time Torgo is referenced as “The Caretaker.” Michael’s transformation at the end recalls — or rather, predates — Jack Torrance’s in The Shining. “You have always been the caretaker.”

    [38] “In dwelling upon the nature of God and the universe, the mystics of the Talmudic period asserted, in contrast to the transcendentalism evident in some parts of the Bible, that “God is the dwelling-place of the universe; but the universe is not the dwelling-place of God”. Possibly the designation (“place”) for God, so frequently found in Talmudic-Midrashic literature, is due to this conception, just as Philo, in commenting on Genesis 28:11 says, “God is called ha makom (המקום “the place”) because God encloses the universe, but is Himself not enclosed by anything” (De Somniis, i. 11).” — Wikipedia, here [29].

    [39] “How can this be? For he is the Kwisatz Haderach!” — Dune. If this were MST3k, I’d shout out here “Give a dog a bone!”

    [40] See the essays collected in The Door in the Sky: Coomaraswamy on Myth and Meaning by Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy, ed. by Rama P Coomaraswamy (Princeton, 1999).

    [41] See my comments on the Wotan theme embodied in the suicide of Lane Pryce in my latest collection, End of An Era: Mad Men and the Ordeal of Civility (San Francisco: Counter-Currents,2015).

    [42] “Manos” as the vibrant and diversity conscious modern viewer must know, is simply the Spanish word meaning “hands,” so the title is essentially Hands: The Hands of Fate, which already begins to enunciate the repetition theme we will begin exploring.

    [43] Apparently, quite arbitrarily. The “making of” featurette reveals that Tom Neyman (The Master) was also the production designer; he just happened to have a whole load of hand sculptures, since, as restorer Solovey says, dead pan, he had entered an artistic phase in which he was exploring the essence of hands. It was he (Neyman says) who suggested one day “Why don’t we just call this “Manos: The Hands of Fate.” But is not the theme of Manos that there are no “accidents”?

    [44] Did Warren anticipate the practice of “fisting,” which Edmund White called “the only new sexual act invented in recorded history”?

    [45] At least one hand is imbedded in a block of stone, thus literally “ithyphallic.”

    [46] “It’s like having Joe Cocker as your bellhop” (MST3k). Apart from being constantly high, John Reynolds was literally saddled with some kind of wire contraptions on his lower legs; people have speculated that he’s a satyr, or goat-man, but Tom Neyman, the production designer, again reveals that they, like the hands, were just some stuff he had lying around.

    [47] Neyman designed this himself, and his (real) wife sewed it, but he say that it was director Warren who insisted on his doing this over and over.

    [48] Torgo presumably heads for “the crossroads” where it was previously said the nearest phone is; this explains Michael’s curious initial idea of “hid[ing] out in the desert until someone comes to help.” The crossroad symbolism is obvious (the warp and woof of material elements) and it is from here that Torgo, like the initiate who has become the Realized Man, will ascend. See “The Corner at the Center of the World” in The Eldritch Evola, op. cit.

    [49] Wikipedia, here [30].

    [50] See Nicholas Harnoncourt’s remarks quoted in the liner notes to Telefunken’s Bach 2000 anniversary sampler disc (Teldec, 1999).

    [51] Or not: “Manos: The Hands of Fate is generally believed to be in the public domain because director Hal Warren failed to include a copyright symbol in the film (in the US in the 1960s this was enough to disqualify a film for copyright). When news broke of Solovey’s restoration, the son of Hal Warren, Joe Warren, started exploring the possibility that the film was in fact not in the public domain. Joe Warren discovered in 2013 that the script had been copyrighted, and he believes this means that the film is also copyrighted. However, no precedent exists for this case so the legal status of the film is uncertain. The release of the restored film is going ahead in spite of this.” — Wikipedia, here [31].

    [52] What with “manos” = hands, the title sequence subtly recalls the equally accidental doubling of the Larry Buchanan opus Attack of the Eye Creatures; as the MST crew says, “They just . . . didn’t . . . care.”

    [53] According to the commentary track, the road is, in fact, called Scenic Drive.

    [54] “Will I have a bad rep?” is a line suggested by Tom Servo as the teenage girl confronts the highway cops.

    [55] “Investigator Graham interests me. Very purposeful looking.” — Manhunter. “I like you, Tony, there is no lying in you.” — Scarface.

    [56] A sentiment echoed by Bob Burns in his Beast interview: “All films are interesting . . . It was a film, it did get made. . . . I think there’s a place for every movie that’s been made . . . It has a place. I’m not sure what that place is, but it has a place. I don’t think it should be forgotten.” And Larry Blamire concurs “Every movie is important to see, even the miserably bad ones.”

    [57] “Our auteur, ladies and gentlemen!” exclaims Crow as Coleman Francis sits down on the floor of a “Cuban”jail and spreads his legs wide in Red Zone Cuba (Episode 621).

    [58] “Say, I knew sex was corny, but who knew corn could be so sexy?” Another painful bit of “humor” from The Starfighters, delivered by the future Congressman Bob “B-1”Dornan.

    [59] “What’s a neophyte?” (MST3k, The Starfighters).

     

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Mad Men Jumps the Gefilte Fish Part One: Missed Collegiality
    (”The Untouchables” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    [1]6,493 words

    “Only act with Honourable Men: You can trust them and they you. Their honour is the best surety of their behaviour even in misunderstandings, for they always act having regard to what they are. Hence tis better to have a dispute with honourable people than to have a victory over dishonourable ones. You cannot treat with the ruined, for they have no hostages for rectitude. With them there is no true friendship, and their agreements are not binding, however stringent they may appear, because they have no feeling of honour. Never have to do with such men, for if honour does not restrain a man, virtue will not, since honour is the throne of rectitude” — Baltasar Gracián’s The Art of Worldly Wisdom, Aphorism #116

    “When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.” — Frédéric Bastiat, 1850

    While I was quite interested in Mad Men at the start, especially for its sense of fashion and décor — see my Counter-Currents essay “Mad Männerbund [2]?” reprinted in my new book, The Homo and the Negro [3](San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2012)I’ve been quite disappointed with the latest season, due to a perceptible ramping up of the “Judaics rule OK” factor; but the Memorial Day Weekend episode, involving a more than usually distasteful plot development — the partners of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce agree to whore out fan-beloved office manager Joan to reel in a client — seems to have finally generated some general disgust and rebellion among the fans, to judge by the blogs etc., which articulate the more pertinent division between the True Believers, who acclaim the episode for “showing us just how awful and evil the times were” and Those Who See, who are “tired of plots about how totally evil [we] White folks are.”

    Coincidentally — if there are coincidences here in the Matrix — The Occidental Observer had an excellent review of a new movie that also reflects a new level of Judaic impudence — what we’ve called, using the Masonic terminology, The Revelation of the Method[1] — in the form of a new film called Margin Call.[2]

    Short version: in 2008, a conspiracy of WASP bankers, led by Jeremy Irons (the blond East German terrorist in Die Hard with a Vengeance, more recently Pope Alexander in The Borgias), tried to take over the world, but were thwarted by a lone outsider, Jewish, natch. Yeah, that’s what happened. Ah, I remember it well.

    There’s no conspiracy here — at least, not necessarily. It’s the well-known Judaic ethnocentricity coupled with a double dose of ignorance: Judaic ignorance of White culture, and, thanks to previous anti-White culture-distortion, White ignorance of themselves.

    “It’s the little things” as Vince Vegas would say. “They didn’t know and wouldn’t learn” as Charles Ryder’s scout says.

    For while The Revelation of the Method is a deliberate, albeit secret, strategy, what we have here, I suggest, is a different, and well-known, phenomenon: the Judaics have “jumped the shark.”

    In general, we can say that — just as TV critics have noted that popular shows will, ipso facto, be run year after year by greedy networks until, having run well past of original ideas, the writers will begin to “resort to stunts to retain viewer interest . . . such as ‘it was all a dream’ episodes, live episodes, lead actors playing guest characters, and putting [the] entire cast into a parody of some pop cultural event”[3] — we can also say that at some similar point, the mask will slip and the Judaic powers behind such shows will begin to reveal their agenda.

    Once put forth by Jon Hein [4], the idea of jumping the shark spawned books and websites [5] tracking such developments by fans of various shows, and “has subsequently broadened beyond television, indicating the moment in its evolution when a brand, design, or creative effort moves beyond the essential qualities that initially defined its success, beyond relevance or recovery.”[4]

    What causes this episode to “jump the shark” is the blatant inability to understand the collegiality, derived from the primitive Aryan Männerbund, that underlies, and makes possible, the great institutions of White civilization. Whereas for the Judaic, and the increasingly Judaicized TV audience, the only tie is what Marx called the “cash nexus.”

    Coincidentally, a real-life international firm, legal this time, blew up over the weekend, and the New York Times’ post-mortem had this to say:

    “Because the partnership lacks any shared cultural values or history, money becomes the core value holding the firm together,” said William Henderson, a law professor at Indiana University who studies law firms. “Money is weak glue.”[5]

    A bit later, a guest on ZeroHedge had this to say about the economy in general:

    In a society and culture that has lost its moral compass, [and thus] a culture of greed, self-serving lies and corrupt vested interests, the word “evil” has lost its power. It has been reduced to a cartoonish label, a cynic’s smarmy joke.

    Like Happy Days post-shark?

    The Soviet Empire was evil, and President Reagan was mocked by “sophisticates” for labeling our global competitor evil. In the relativist terms of propaganda, the only difference between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. were two letters; this is the mindset created by a reliance on propaganda. There is no good or evil, there is only the paycheck “earned” by serving one master or another. . . .

    Should we be surprised that the parasites in the media, academia, politics and finance . . .

     Hmm, I wonder who They might be?

     . . . support the evil that enables their own predation and exploitation? Of course not, for self-service and self-justification are the ultimate American gods.[6]

    This is the general problem behind our current financial crisis, the so-called “fiscal cliff.” The author went on to add at his own site:

    Lobbyists aren’t hired to understand the big picture, they’re hired to secure a swollen river of free money for their vested-interest clients. Public unions, banks, Big Pharma, for-profit hospital chains, insurance companies, defense contractors, etc. don’t care where the swag comes from or how it’s skimmed, they only care about getting their share of it.

    This describes not just the political battle between the 0.5% and the 99.5%, but the diverging interests of the various vested interests and Elites. It would be tidy if all the Elites were united, but as pressures build and systems are pushed to extremes, the interests of Elites diverge to the point that the system is pulled apart. None of the Elites are willing to act in the best interests of the nation, and so their self-absorbed greed becomes a destructive force that cannot be controlled.

    The decline of the Roman Empire had this subtext. In Victorian England, the landed Elites who skimmed rents fought a political war with the Imperial “free trade” manufacturers who profited from the expansion of the Empire and the industrial workforce. The manufacturers won and the landed Nobility, though still immensely wealthy, took a back seat.[7]

    Self-service may be designated our “ultimate god” I suppose both prospectively and retrospectively; that is to say, ultimate as our final goal, but also, if you think about it, as something that only very recently became such. Were self-service, self-justification, and self-absorbed greed always our gods? And, as the Firesign Theatre famously asked, “who am us, anyway?”[8] 

    I’m calling “bullshit” or “shenanigans” on the whole idea. No, Mr. Weiner, I don’t believe for a second that the senior partners of major Mad Ave firms would tolerate for an instant the idea of whoring out a well-respected, long-serving employee to get an account.

    Pete, sure, he’s the designated sleazeball; precisely for his WASP background. In the very first episode, his treatment of female employees caused Don, the Alpha Male, to tell him he may get a corner office, but “everyone will hate you.” As an outsider, he’s allowed the Judaic role of “correcting” the errant WASP.

    As for crazy, cranky Bert Cooper, we recall an early episode where Pete, again, was the villain, trying out of pure spite to expose Don as an imposter (and, apparently, a battlefield deserter who could get the death penalty), leading to Bert’s surprising, anticlimactic response:

    “Mr. Campbell, who cares?”

    Who indeed? Not Bert, a WASP old-timer with a Samurai obsession — both cultures of honor, not money — but, apparently, more recently a devotee of crypto-Judaic Ayn Rand. Indeed, on Randian grounds, who cares, indeed, if Don is an imposter and a deserter, as long as he makes money for the firm?

    But is this then a fair portrait of WASP values, or are they those of a Russian fanatic whose real life disciple wasn’t Bert Cooper but Alan Greenspan, author of America’s economic collapse?

    ALAN GREENSPAN: Well, remember that what an ideology is, is a conceptual framework with the way people deal with reality. Everyone has one. You have to — to exist, you need an ideology. The question is whether it is accurate or not.

    And what I’m saying to you is, yes, I found a flaw. I don’t know how significant or permanent it is, but I’ve been very distressed by that fact.

    REP. HENRY WAXMAN: You found a flaw in the reality . . .

    ALAN GREENSPAN: Flaw in the model that I perceived is the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works, so to speak.

    REP. HENRY WAXMAN: In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right, it was not working?

    ALAN GREENSPAN: That is — precisely. No, that’s precisely the reason I was shocked, because I had been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.[9] 

    Did you catch that “everyone has one” bit? No, Mr. Greenspan, not everyone has an ideology, a crazy made up “rational” structure into which they spend 40 years trying to shoe-horn reality until finally giving up. Only, the Judaic. Tikkun olam!

    The whole “idea” that “everyone is corrupt” “everyone is for sale” etc. is pure Frankfurt School drivel — authentic Judaic gibberish, to adapt Mel Brook‘s Judaic sneer at the wisdom of our pioneer forefathers[10] — in which the Judaic impudently imputes his own failing and obsessions onto the goy, and then contemns him for them.

    The sexually obsessed Freud screams “It’s all about sex,” the money obsessed Marx counters “It’s all about money” and the Frankfurters had the genius of combining both, through the efforts of the “dean” of the 60s — and well-paid CIA asset — Herbert Marcuse.[11]

    Thus, confronted with the ordeal of civility [6],”[12] the dirty little Ostjude turns the tables. Sure, he may pick his nose at the dinner table, but you, you stuffy WASP, secretly want to as well, and your fancy “culture” is just your dishonest “sublimation” of that desire.

    Listen to how the well-indoctrinated Midwestern White boys of Mystery Science Theater 3000 mock the very idea of dinner table civility; you may think it’s “polite” or “civilized” but they know it’s really a “seething caldron of angst.”[13]

    What I am suggesting here, as in my earlier piece on “The Fraud of Miss Jean Brodie [7]”[14] — where we have the related phenomenon of a Leftist imagining a “fascist” sympathizer — is that the Jew, when “exposing” the WASP is really exposing himself (and keep your smutty Judaic giggling to yourself!). He has nothing to build his indictment on but himself, his own twisted view of the world and human nature, which he first impudently imputes to the WASP, then turns the tables by using the WASP’s idea of fairness to convict the WASP, himself, of incivility!

    We’ve see this, for example, in the Hollywood Nazi, believing himself to belong to a Master Race destine to “rule the world” and frothing with irrational genocidal hatred of all other races which must be exterminated; this caricature clearly corresponds to no known National Socialist of any significance, but is clearly the projection of the Hollywood Judaic, based on his delusional and genocidal ethnocentricity. To find the Frothing Nazi one must look at any random comment on foreign affairs by any “mainstream” Israeli or Christian Zionist politician; who, of course, are constantly warning us of the latest “New Hitler” over there.

    Here too, the Judaics have jumped the shark; with Inglourious Basterds, audiences were sickened by the display of gleeful Jewish sadism, while responding to the “evil” Nazis as quite decent chaps.[15]

    “You want the scent? Smell yourself.” — Hannibal Lechter, Manhunter

    And to explain “how could the Germans do this” we have the too-famous “Milgram Experiment” which everyone “knows” proves we (viz., White folks) are all just itching to bow down to authority figures and start torturing innocent prisoners. As one critic writes of this absurd imposture:

    As if ordinary people were going to kill other people for 50 bucks. It’s pure nonsense.

    They explain this behavior by saying people obey the authority. This is why they would obey the scientist of the experiment. Complete bullshit. Those people were not in the twilight zone. They were in the USA in the 60’s. . . .

    Those people would have immediately thought that they were committing a very grave crime and that it would not have been the authority of the scientist which would have protected them from being put in jail for murder. Which can lead you to the death penalty or, at best, being put in jail for the rest of your life. So, they would have very quickly ended this experiment. . . . And trying to make us believe that someone would think “ok, you are a scientist. I respect your authority. Let’s kill this guy” is ridiculous.

    Needless to point out, Milgram was a Judaic, and explicitly conducted his “experiment” to “prove” the equally outlandish idea that the most educated, most civilized, white people in the world would turn themselves over to demonic madmen and carry out “the worst crime in history”™. As the critic concludes:

    In fact, the real subject of this experiment is the goy who believe[s] this canard. By believing this ridiculous story because people with pompous titles at the television tells it’s true he is the one who obey[s] blindly the authority as the experiment concludes.[16]

    As for “it was the ’60s.” well, that’s the whole point. The evil days before Judaics took things in hand. Once more, the same trope: a false story of the evil repressive White past is used to screw down the real, present (and future) Judaic domination. Freedom is indeed slavery.

    And speaking of slavery, consider one final example, not a big movie about WWII but a half-assed TV movie about the Civil War: CSA: The Confederate States of America (produced by Spike Lee, but with the usual Judaic financing and producing “talent”). This shark-jumping farrago of nonsense is of course supposed to an “alternative” history anyway — what if the South won Gettysburg and then the war itself? — but the events dreamed up — the South takes over the North, and not just reinstates slavery there but requires slave ownership (how’s that supposed to be financed? Sounds kind of like Obamacare), then heads off to conquer Central America, etc. — presuppose a level of ignorance about the motives of the South and, indeed, the mental state of the whole country, that is truly breath-taking, leaving one with the same question one had after one of George W. Bush’s speeches: is he stupid, or does he think I am?

    But then what is one to expect from a people who, as Norman Podhoretz famously stated, regard the Civil War as an event as “remote and as irrelevant as the War of the Roses.” [17]

    Once again, Judaics draw on their own psyches (for indeed, was it not the North that was the expansionist, totalitarian power, both internally and, once that was sewed up, going abroad to Latin America) to produce a distorted history, and Whites are ignorant enough to lap it up.[18]

    As Francis Parker Yockey said about an earlier Judaic type, the Beatnik: “He believes in nothing and respects nothing because there is nothing within his range of vision worthy of respect or inspiring belief.” Or as Schopenhauer said, “No man can see over his own head.”[19]

    And thus is our “modern world” produced: in which the past is denigrated and demonized as a cauldron of racism, sexism, slavery, oppression, mind control, etc.[20] while the supposedly “enlightened” present “presents” exactly those characteristics, and the public, continually “taught” how unhappy people must have been “back then,” is increasingly unhappy and puzzled as to how that can be, and what can be done about it, since “going back” isn’t an option.

    A world in which hipsters watch movies like CSA on iPhones built by Chinese slaves.

    The model, and goal, is the Israelization of the world, in which a land of state religion, heavily armed citizens, constant warfare, vast open air concentration camps, and women forced off sidewalks and spat on, is presented on billboards in New York subways as a “civilization” to be protected against “the barbarians.”[21]

    Where is the true home of “racism, sexism, militarism and homophobia,” America in the ’50s or Israel today?[22]

    A false image of the WASP past, constructed from scraps and rags provided by the Judaic spirit itself, has been set up as a Gorgon to bar the way back, while in the present the true Judaic spirit disports itself unchallenged; the only thing worse than being called a “conservative” or “reactionary” is being called an “anti-Semite.”

    This is the world constructed in Mad Man, where WASPS are conniving evildoers slowly being overcome by the forces of Good, in the form of Bob Dylan and a slow influx of Jewish copywriters.

    * * *

    To see what real WASP collegiality was, even when filmed through a Judeo-Marxist lens, no better specimen could be found than Otto Preminger’s 1962 film, Advise and Consent, from Allen Drury‘s 1959 bestseller and, according to Peter Bogdanovich, “by far the best political movie ever made in this country.”

    AandC [not AMC] is essentially Mad Men: The Movie, with politics for advertising and gorgeous B&W photography for Mad Men: TV’s ’60s Cinerama color, plus the all the advantages of actually being filmed in Mad Men Time, such as a real Saul Bass title sequence rather than MM: TV ’s knockoff.

    “I thought they did a pretty good job portraying 1962.”

    “Yeah, considering they made it in 1965.”

    — Mystery Science Theater 3000, on Red Zone Cuba

    Here’s what IMDB has for a plot synopsis:

    A look behind the scenes at the wheeling and dealing that goes on in Washington to get things done. The dying President (Franchot Tone) nominates a controversial candidate (Henry Fonda as Robert A. Leffingwell) for Secretary of State. The film, based on real events, follows the public and private dealings as the Senate holds confirmation hearings on the nomination. Blackmail, smear tactics, political trade-offs and more highlight this movie. Senate majority leader Robert Munson of Michigan (Walter Pidgeon) tries to steer Leffingwell toward confirmation, with his initial roadblock being . . .  Seabright “Seab” Cooley-SC (Charles Laughton). . . . . But Munson bypasses overly-ambitious Wyoming senator Fred Van Ackerman (George Grizzard) to put Utah’s Brigham “Brig” Anderson (Don Murray) in charge of the committee vetting of Leffingwell. . . . Van Ackermann sics a team of blackmailers on the bisexual Anderson in an attempt to ensure the nomination, even though Anderson, Munson, and the president know Leffingwell has provided perjured testimony about his past. Anderson travels to New York and assaults his old army lover outside a gay bar, returning to the Capitol to slit his own throat in his Senate office. Chastened by Anderson’s suicide, Munson and Cooley agree to disagree in a “nice” way, and the full Senate vote on Leffingwell’s nomination ends on a 47–47 tie since Munson has shamed Van Ackerman into walking out of the chamber before his name is called. Just as the voting ends, the Vice-president Harley Hudson (Lew Ayres) is informed [of] the President’s death. Knowing that Leffingwell has given false testimony under oath, Hudson refuses to honor his mentor’s dying wish, stating that as president-apparent, he’ll nominate his own choice for Secretary of State.

    Wow, not much congeniality there! What a field day for one of our modern, Judaic or Judaic-inspired directors. Imagine what the Coen Brothers, or even Tim Robbins would do with this stuff.

    But, and this is a large part of my point, those were different times. While we’ll see that Preminger has some “socially conscious” cards to play, he is very careful — some critics at the time even finding him too careful — to present the Senate as, on balance, a bunch of flawed but honest individuals — all white men, of course[23] — within a grand old institution — separation of powers, “advise and consent.” etc., based on a Constitution which Preminger called “the finest machine for governing yet invented,” but which today the “right“ mocks as a “piece of paper” (George W.) and the “left” denigrates as a charter of slavery.[24]

    This was not yet “the” ’60s, and why antagonize an establishment that’s more or less going your way — desegregation, civil rights, etc. Not until Vietnam split the elites would Washington as such become the target of the Left.

    You’ll notice that the kernel of the narrative is secret lives, just like Mad Men. The motor of the plot is Leffingwell’s Hiss-like secret life, but the real focus becomes Brig Anderson. Just as Don needs to keep anyone from finding out that before accidentally killing the real Don Draper during the Korean War, he was just a hick named Dick, so Brig, played by DON Murray, needs to conceal a homosexual encounter during WWII.

    The phalanx of Secret Service men who bound up the stairs of the Capitol and fan out across the Senate chamber in the wake of the President’s death, in their dark, tight suits and hats, resemble the cast of Mad Men or perhaps How to Succeed In Business, a contemporaneous musical hit starring Bobby Morse, who now plays Bert Cooper.[25]

    Van Ackerman is clearly the Pete Campbell of the Senate. In an interesting move, indicative of an earlier generation’s objectivity, he’s a funhouse McCarthy, now a Democrat giving speeches about need for a speedy peace treaty with the Russians to his local “committees” and employing an army of “researchers” to smear and blackmail anti-communists — Roy Cohn ret-conned as a homophobe. Like Campbell, he’s youthful, brash, up-and-coming, and employs “research” to promote his ideas. They are the sleazy future of their respective professions.[26]

    But how differently they are handled! Campbell’s blackmail attempt is airily dismissed by the Rand-promoting Senior Partner Bert Cooper with “Who cares?” After all, it’s all about money, right?

    By contrast, although he is guilty of not just attempted blackmail but even hounding a fellow Senator to his death, this is not what Van Ackerman finally must answer for. Rather, as the Majority Leader — standing in here for Cooper — tells him,

    “We tolerate about anything here. Fanaticism, prejudice, demagoguery, anything. That’s what the Senate is for, to tolerate freedom. But you’ve dishonored us.”

    By the way, could today’s Senate possibly be any more different? “Tolerate freedom” indeed! Imagine trying to maintain a viable political career after acquiring a reputation for fanaticism, prejudice, demagoguery, to say nothing of that ominous . . . anything. Former Minority Leader Trent Lott, for example, was hounded from the Senate after daring to praise not just “the old days” but their living representative: Sen. Strom Thurmond, in the heated political context of a birthday party. Not only from North Carolina but even President Pro Tem of the Senate, Strom is the exact double of A&C’s Sen. Seabright Cooley.[27]

    While the Senate allows a lot that today is forbidden, there’s one thing they won’t stand for, that today is treated like a joke: honor. When’s the last time anyone resigned over anything in Washington? Nothing’s worth giving up the best gig around. When Van Ackerman protests that he acted for the good of the country (thus doing his job, as he sees it, like making money is the Mad Men’s job), the senior Senator from Michigan easily waves aside that excuse:

    “Fortunately, our country always manages to survive patriots like you. We could introduce a resolution to censure and expel you. But we don’t want Brig Anderson’s tired old sin made public. Whatever it was. So we let you stay . . . if you want to.”

    When thus confronted, and suddenly aware that all of the Senate knows he has committed the one unpardonable sin— non-collegiality—Van Ackerman, finally achieving self-knowledge, does the decent thing and exiles himself from the body he has offended.

    By contrast, Bert Cooper waives away Don’s “sin” for no higher reason than because he’s the best moneymaker in the firm, and Campbell’s dismissal for incivility was never on the table — and eventually, he becomes a junior partner in the new firm — because he’s the up and coming moneymaker; neither he, Cooper or even Don would even imagine resigning out of a sense of honor.[28]

    What then of Don’s “tired old sin”? Whatever “it” was? There have been endless internet debates on exactly what Don’s crime or crimes are. Desertion, treason, manslaughter, bigamy, in some combination, but what? Don usually calls it “desertion” but that may be just his own shorthand, or a cover story for an even more terrible crime.

    “They don’t have a name for what he is” — Clarice Starling on Hannibal Lecter

    “Check first the ones rejected for having lied about criminal records, look for severe childhood disturbances associated with violence. Our Billy wasn’t born a killer, Clarice. Oh no, he was made one through years of systematic abuse . . . Our Billy hates his own identity you see, he always has and he thinks that makes him a transsexual. But his pathology is a thousand times more savage and more terrifying. He wants to be reborn you see. Our Billy wants to be reborn, Clarice. And he will be reborn.” — Dr. Lecter on Buffalo Bill

    An absurd comparison? Remember, Don is the Aryan Alpha Male as re-imagined by jealous little Hollywood Judaics, so any crime is possible. To the Judaic, the imagined “crimes” of the White world both justify his own behavior (“Hey, that’s the dirty way you guys got to the top”) and at the same time de-legitimize White society in its own, hyper-moralistic eyes (“How can we ever make amends for our horrible historical crimes?”).

    This is also the function of the cult of the Holocaust, which, being “the greatest evil ever committed,” serves to simultaneously absolve Israel of any crime (“Hey, it’s not like it’s a Holocaust already!”) while permanently indebting an inguilting the White world.[29]

    Unless, and until, the white world learns to take Jonathan Bowden‘s advice and “just step over it.”[30]

    Of course, everything from The Iliad to Jersey Shore requires some suspension of disbelief, but the amorphousness of Don’s “tired old sin” (unlike Brig’s sharply delineated lapse, with its witnesses, letters, confrontations, and a laughable visit to a “gay bar” in New York City, complete with Hollywood Liberal Frank Sinatra showing his solidarity by licensing one single verse of a song to play on the jukebox, like a charity donation, etc.) suggests that it stands in for the total depravity of the WASP, historically guilty of all crimes, and hence, literally, capable of Munson‘s shuddery “anything” going forward.

    In fact, I think I can tell you what Don’s crime is: he is White, successful, and unashamed.

    Notes

    1. See the work of Michael A. Hoffman II at his Revisionist History [8] blog, which also makes available his seminal book Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare (2001).

    2. “How They Lie to Us: the film Margin Call [9]” by Edmund Connelly [10] , May 27, 2012. Even more recently, Kevin MacDonald discussed an article in the Wall Street Journal as evidence of a new level of “Jewish triumphalism regarding its domination of American culture” coupled with “strenuously resist[ing…] any mainstream public discussion of the fact that not only has their culture been taken away from White Americans, but the new culture of displacement-level immigration and multiculturalism inaugurated by the new Jewish elite is fundamentally opposed to their interests.” See “Lee Siegel: Exuding Jewish Triumphalism [11],” October 28, 2012.

    3. Definition of “jumping the shark” at Urban Dictionary [12]. The name stems from the episode of “Happy Days” where Fonzie jumped over a shark on water skis, which also illustrates our theme, since the “’50s nostalgia” show was gradually taken over by New York Jew Henry Winkler, originally a vaguely alien presence in the wholesome suburbs of Milwaukee (“For a show that in its early seasons depicted universally-relatable adolescent and family experiences against a backdrop of 1950s nostalgia, this incident marked an audacious, cartoonish turn towards attention-seeking gimmickry. Initially a supporting character, the faddish lionization of an increasingly superhuman Fonzie became the focus of Happy Days” says Wikipedia [13]), and was created by Gary Marshall, a non-Judaic often mistaken, along with his sister Penny, for a Judaic since, as he boasts, “I grew up in the Bronx and we had a lot of them.” See “An Interview with the Cast of Keeping Up With The Steinshere [14].

    4. Wikipedia, ibid.

    5. “Dewey & LeBoeuf Files for Bankruptcy” by Peter Lattman, May 28, 2012, here [15].

    6. “Guest Post: The Rot Runs Deep 1: The Federal Reserve Is A Parasitic Wealth Transfer Machine” by Charles Hugh Smith, August 26, 2012. Smith has an excellent blog, Of Two Minds [16], that often runs such pieces, as we will soon see, where the parasites are triangulated but never quite named.

    7. “Now That The Easy Stuff Has Failed, All That’s Left Is The Hard Stuff [17],” September 5, 2012.

    8. How Can You Be in Two Places At Once When You’re Not Anywhere At All, Columbia Records, 1969, in answer to a patriotic chorus of “What Makes America Great”: “Its spics and wops and niggers and kikes with noses as long as your arm! Its micks and chinks and gooks and geeks and honkies (Honk! Honk!) who never left the farm!” On the flip side, a disgruntled actor on the radio detective show “Nick Danger, Third Eye” dreams aloud of taking over and, among other things, having “no Jewish writers.”

    9. “Greenspan Admits ‘Flaw’ to Congress, Predicts More Economic Problems” from the PBS Newshour originally aired October 23, 2008, transcript here [18].

    10. You can sample some here [19]. Of course, Mel would say it’s “all a joke” if any White person objected, or to description of “the people of the land… you know, morons. “ (am ha’aretz or ‘the people of the Land’ is an old Talmudic insult [20]). But like all Judaic “jokes,” it’s slow-acting cultural poison, rattling around in the heads of “these lovely children here today” According to the oh-so-unbiased Urban Dictionary, frontier gibberish [21] is “currently used by members of the Tea Party in decrying the state of affairs in our nation. Characterized by longing for a return to the gold standard, Anglo-Saxon cultural supremacy, and the return of Johnny Carson to late-night television,” while a commenter at YouTube adds “Sarah Palin’s main stream media fantastic rant.”

    11. To paraphrase an Italian Rightist, he’s the Left’s Evola — only an idiot.

    12. See the invaluable The Ordeal of Civility: Freud, Marx, Levi-Strauss, and the Jewish Struggle with Modernity by John Murray Cuddihy (New York: Basic Books, 1974). Reviewed by a White Nationalist here [22] under the wonderful title “Our Apoplectic Invaders Considered:” “Freud described as ‘sick’ Gentile behavior that was, to us, healthy and necessary. But it was not out of mere misunderstanding that Freud came to his conclusions. Animosity toward Gentiles played no small part. . . .  When Jews sneer that Gentiles are embarrassed by sex and need to be ‘unmasked,’ Cuddihy points out that what they’re trying to do is strip all humanity to base commonalities in an effort to make their crude, uncivilized selves feel more acceptable, all the while rudely ignoring the evolved and genuine social need for Gentile conventions. The Gentile is left shamed and confused, convinced that he must “let it all hang out” if he is to achieve mental health. Freud is revealed as a clever Jew pleased with himself for having pulled the Gentile’s pants down to point out to the assembled crowd that, like other mammals, this one’s got genitalia. Cuddihy coolly returns the favor.”

    13. Parody of the short film A Date with Your Family [23], in which this ’50s attempt to teach manners to the rising generation of juvies and immigrants like Da Fonze is now ridiculed by the MST3K with all the tropes of the Frankfurt School: Mother wants a career, Father’s moving to Fire Island, brother is toking pot, sister is both pregnant and “dating a Negro.” A similar “ordeal of civility” dynamic simmered beneath the Seinfeld scenes where George — supposedly Italian but for our purposes a Marrano — dined with fiancée Susan’s parents (including a father who had a secret affair with John Cheever).

    14. Also reprinted in my forthcoming book, The Eldritch Evola & Others (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2013).

    15. Trevor Lynch calls it “probably the most anti-Semitic movie ever released by Hollywood” in his Counter-Currents review here [24].

    16. See others by one “voerioc” at biglies.org.

    17. “Vidal stuck by dual loyalty charge against Podhoretzes to the end [25]” by Philip Weiss on October 8, 2012. Weiss adds this interesting observation about another culture-distorter: “I had this out with my old friend Norman Lear, who said “you can’t say ‘assimilated.’” I said, “Come on, you started People for the American Way. Well, which are you? If you’re not going to be an ‘assimilated’ American, then what are you? Are you an Israeli who happens to be living here?” Lear of course perpetrated the Archie Bunker caricature of white, working class Americans, despite an ignorance that led him to suggest, in the show’s opening song, that they thought “we need a man like Herbert Hoover again”; White Americans then rewarded him with a ratings blockbuster that’s still eulogized 50 years later; see Kevin MacDonald’s “Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ resurfaces [26],” which also notes (without using the term) how the show eventually “jumped the shark” as Archie was relentless and implausibly “Judaized,” from adopting a Jewish girl to attending Seders to organizing a neighborhood group to protect synagogues!

    18. You can enjoy some of the push-back from historically-informed and racially-conscious White Americans here [27] and here [28].

    19. Francis Parker Yockey, “The World in Flames,” 1961.

    20.  See, for example, Alex Kurtagic’s discussion of the movie Pleasantville in “Those Awful 1950s [29].”

    21. “A pro-Israeli poster comparing Muslims to barbarians will soon be displayed in New York City’s subway stations following a US court order allowing such hate ads to be posted in public. The inflammatory billboard advertisement, which reads, ‘In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel, defeat Jihad,’ has presumably been financed by radical conservative blog writer Pamela Geller and is to be installed at 10 different metro stops.” “Anti-Islam posters to appear in NY subway stations [30].”

    22. In Chapter Two of The Homo and the Negro, “Homosexuality, ‘Traditionalism,’ & Really-Existing Tradition,” I’ve discussed how homophobia in the Arab world is itself a creation of Western “modernity” which in turn is offered as the false “solution”; here again a fake past is constructed and then a fake solution offered. More generally, we see an even closer analogue in the cynically named “Arab Spring” in which peaceful, albeit authoritarian Arab states are designated as “failed states that support terrorism” in order to be torn apart by the USA and Israel and replaced by “free and democratic” states of unparalleled barbarism and violence.

    23. There is one woman, Betty WHITE, and it’s a real hoot to see her in the role; sort of like the way her later co-star Ted Knight shows up around the same time as a sheriff in Psycho. As befitting the minor role of women here, she only appears once. but it’s a doozie, besting Van Ackerman in debate, thus demonstrating his low status and qualifications for the Männerbund of the Senate. Also befitting the times, she’s a Republican from Kansas, unlike today’s coastal liberal harridans. She may be a beard, lest the Senate seem too “Socratic”? It‘s interesting to note that in various transcriptions on the internet, Munson’s dressing-down of Van Ackerman, which we’ll soon quote, mentions not “fanaticism” but to “Atticism.” Truly, this Senate is a Männerbund. Other social outliers are Kennedy in-law Peter Lawford as a JFK like womanizer, thus presumably Catholic, and of course the Mormon Brig Anderson. Gosh, it’s almost like things were “diverse” back then, isn’t it?

    24. For perhaps more detail then you may wish on this fictional body politic, see the admittedly “long and self-indulgent” analysis at “The Fictional Senate of Allen Drury’s Advise and Consent [31]” by David Bratman. Bratman also notes that “Pretty much all of the dramatic events of the climax of Advise and Consent — the suicide of a senator, the resignation and re-election of the Majority leader, the censure of a senator, the death of a president shortly before a major peace conference, the rejection by the Senate of an important nominee … — have thus actually happened. Where Drury departs from reality is by having them all occur at once, by speeding up the process many-fold, and in the political spin he puts on his story.” As we said about the equally true but implausible events of The Untouchables (see here [32] as well as Chapter 9 of The Homo and the Negro), both movies abide by Aristotle’s dictum that poetry is more true than history, since it narrates what ought to have happened, unlike, we would add, Judaic inspired “fact grubbing.”

    25. Again, from MST3K‘s version of Red Zone Cuba, as black-suited Federal agents arrive on the scene: “The cast of How to Succeed in Business swarms in.”

    26. In another ret-con, he’s given Wyoming to represent, while Utah Senator Brig’s suicide recalls “the actual suicide of Senator Lester Hunt of Wyoming in 1954, and its treatment perhaps conditioned by Drury’s own rumored homosexuality.” See “Advise and Consent [33] at 50 [33]” by Thomas Mallon, New York Times, June 25, 2009.

    27. See this year’s Strom Thurmond’s America by Joseph Crespino, reviewed here [34]. In that review the author notes that “Sen. Ted Kennedy appreciated the ‘new’ Thurmond, describing him as ‘fair to all sides. That’s the ideal that ‘Sea’ Cooley betrayed, as he finally admits to the Senate that his pursuit of Leffingwell was motivated by revenge for a personal slight, not national security.” Needless to say, “fairness to all sides” is a dead letter to today‘s self-righteous PC Left; those who dare to disagree are mad or bad, and must be hounded to their death — sounds sort of like the way proto-Leftist Van Ackerman handles Brig.

    28. Don doesn‘t even know what acting on principle is. A few seasons back, Don’s anti-smoking ad was written only after they had already lost Lucky Strike, and this season he’s stunned to learn that his own industry took him seriously as an anti-smoking activist — and even worse, so did potential clients!

    29. My own coinage, inspired by Dan Greaney’s contribution of “embiggen” to The Simpsons [35].

    30. See Greg Johnson’s “New Right vs. Old Right.”

     

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Mad Men Jumps the Gefilte Fish Part Two: The Country of the Blind
    (”The Untouchables” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    [1]3,415 words

    Part 2 of 3

    “Here Punch does a mean trick, very unworthy of his Satanic character. He tells the hangman that he has never been hanged before; and though he would be only too glad to be hanged he does not know which way to put his head into the loop, and asks the hangman to show him, which he does. And Punch suddenly fools the rope, and the hangman, who is the sole representative of legal vindication, is himself hanged! Hangman hanged, all law and authority defied, and every restraint annulled, Punch bursts out into triumphant song.” — Count Eric Stenbock, The Myth of Punch, edited by David Tibet (London: Durtro Press, 1999)

    “American politics used to be fun. Powerful men making decisions. Now it’s just who has the most money and avoiding decisions.” — Comment at Classic Film and TV Café, February 2, 2012

    In Part One of this essay (“Mad Men [2] Jumps the Gefilte Fish [2]”), we suggested that just as long-running pop culture items, especially television series, will eventually reach a point where originality and creativity are displaced by clichés and gimmicks in a desperate attempt to maintain a profitable popularity — known colloquially as “jumping the shark” — so there is a related phenomenon, more directly interesting to our readers, in which the Judaic background and intentions of such programs (and note the interesting use of the word “program” for such works) gradually comes to the fore and is apparent for all to see, at least those Those Who Can See — not unlike the Masonic idea of The Revelation of the Method.

    To illustrate this idea, we looked at the increasingly Judaic content of the TV show Mad Men; not merely the introduction of more and more Jewish characters and themes — positively portrayed, of course — but also an increasingly negative and even contemptuous handling of the main WASP characters in what is, after all, supposed to be a look at the early 1960s, when, for good or evil, America was still an overwhelmingly White country.

    In particular, we looked at the antepenultimate episode, in which we were expected to accept the idea that the partners in a Madison Avenue company, even one involved in the suspect business of advertising, would offer a partnership to their office manager, Joan, in return for her prostituting herself to obtain a client. We identified this as a typical Judaic strategy of attacking the validity of WASP authority structures by “revealing” them to be “really” selfish and corrupt; and since selfishness and corruption are inherently Judaic characteristics, also removing any objection to their admission.

    Since such Judaic “inversion” has become a part of our cultural fabric, a Judaic-created and sustained reflex of cynicism, a kind of “automatic gainsaying” as Monty Python might call it, we tried to find a point of reference by contrasting the way WASP collegiality is portrayed in a film made at the time portrayed in Mad Men: Otto Preminger’s film of Allen Drury’s Advise and Consent. We chose the film because, although it takes place in the US Senate rather than an ad agency, the plot, characters, and especially actors suggest a kind of “doubling” of the later TV show. This method of discovering hidden meaning resembles what Dalí called his paranoiac-critical method [3] in which images are mapped onto each other to create, or discover, new levels of significance.[1]

    Although cynicism is the default attitude today, fans, to judge from the Internet blogs and chat, where shocked and distressed by the treatment of the popular Mad Men character Joan. Perhaps the writers had gone a little too far, perhaps “jumped the shark” too soon? It was this reaction that suggested to us that what we had here was an opportunity to see The Revelation of the Method in real time.

    And indeed, with typical impudence, the writers decided to double down and, in the penultimate episode, have a somewhat less-liked character meet an even more grisly, but, as we shall see, even more revealing, fate.

    1. “Haven’t had so much fun since the cayenne pepper hit the fan!”

    By using Dali’s method of mapping Advise and Consent over Mad Men, we’ve seen how the cultural picture has been changed; the Judaic falsifies and cuts down to size the world of WASP collegiality, re-imagining it as being as mean, venal, and materialistic as his own kind.

    Now let’s look at the micro picture, how the Judaic distorts the models that society provides for the individual‘s spiritual development.

    In my second look at The Untouchables I added to the idea of doubling the motif of sacrificial death.[2] Both motifs appear again now. Advise and Consent and this season of Mad Men each end in suicide. Advise and Consent’s Vice President Harley Hudson of Rhode Island doubles Mad Men’s Lane Pryce; but while in the film he also doubles the doomed Sentator Brigham (“Brig”) Anderson of Utah, offering the viewer a superior modus vivendi. In the TV show Harley’s double, Pryce, is simply identified with Brig and given Brig’s shameful death — rather than rising to the top, he kills himself in his office.

    In Advise and Consent, an ailing, unnamed President of the United States nominates Robert A. Leffingwell as Secretary of State. The nomination is controversial, sparking a great deal of public debate and behind the scenes maneuvering. In the end, the Senate vote is tied. Vice President Harley Hudson refuses to break the tie; so the nomination fails. Then he informs them that the President has died during the vote. Hudson then leaves the Senate chamber with the Secret Service to take over as President.

    Harley Hudson is the wimpy guy that stands up to the demagogue Senator Fred Van Ackerman of Wyoming, just as Mad Men’s Lane Pryce punches out Ackerman’s sneaky, blackmailing double Pete Campbell. Harley is the first major character we meet in the film, though at first he hardly seems like one: a little man in a big chair down on the Senate floor, gazed at with mild curiosity by foreign tourists who are confused as to how he can be President — of the Senate — but not President; he’s almost the last one we see, striding off the floor after becoming, in fact, the — new — President, surrounded by Secret Service agents, after using his last act as Vice President — or rather, refusal to act — to casually sweep aside all the clever and fatal political machinations of the “more powerful” Senators.

    Harley got where he is presumably through some kind of convention compromise, rather like Joe Biden of Delaware, and oddly enough, he seems to be popular with the ladies, at least in a “dear sweet boy” kind of way. But his contribution to his party, and to his country, will be far more significant.

    He is what Jack Donovan calls “the runt”[3] — “He’s from one of those little states” explains the wife of the French ambassador — again, like Biden — and is sometimes called “little Harley” — who, like Wallace in The Untouchables [4], makes up for his size with moral courage and a keen mind, supplying the parliamentary maneuvers that saves the day — or, in this case, sets up the next round of the cosmic spiral.

    In the film-world, both Harley and Brig are eager to do the President’s bidding. They are loyal and have been rewarded – Harley with the Vice Presidency, Brig with a coveted committee chairmanship. But loyalty has its price – or its “Pryce.” Harley seems to increasing chafe under the confines of his position, openly mocking Senate Majority Leader Bob Munson of Michigan by confessing to a murder — another secret! — knowing he’s not being listened to. For Brig — or “brig,” the closet where this ex-Navy man is confined — his brief elevation to committee chairman results in his death, to avoid public exposure, but it also results in the downfall of his tormentors  Senator Seabright “Seeb” Cooley of South Carolina and Van Ackerman — the old and the new.

    Seeb is forced to publicly admit his vendetta against the President’s nominee was largely personal, not patriotic, and Van Ackerman, despite “his kind of patriotism” is defeated, privately rebuked and forced to flee chamber, perhaps to resign or found a peace institute. As we have seen, in the ante-penultimate episode Joan is forced to commit moral suicide, but the partners triumph by getting the client. We might say that Joan is reborn as a partner, but it seems a hollow achievement — which is the Judaic’s point.

    In the film, we see a different, more uplifting kind of re-birth when Harley, Brig’s double, reveals a final, last inch of inner hardness that Brig lacks.[5]

    At first, the movie seems to be about the President[6], and whether his nominee, Leffingwell, will be confirmed. About a third of the way in, this Hiss/Chambers mummery is completely forgotten, having merely served to set up the real drama, Brig’s secret homosexual fling in the Navy.[7]

    Then Brig kills himself, and we spend the rest of the film on the floor of the Senate, dealing with Seeb and Van Ackerman. It’s only when Van Ackerman’s shame-filled flight from the chamber results in a tie vote that we remember Harley has been presiding, thwarting Ackerman and aiding Munson, and suddenly we realize that the whole movie was about him. Or at least, contrasting his manhood, his spiritual virility as Evola would call it, to Brig’s.

    The night before, two scenes ago, Brig and Harley had met on a flight from New York. As in The Untouchables, air travel, still relatively primitive in the early ’60s, is a dangerous, liminal situation calling for shamanic powers; on Mad Men, it’s been the scene of shape-shifting experiences for Don in Los Angles and Rome, and the schlubby Judaic who handles the TV accounts cultivates his LA sunburn as a status symbol. While in New York, Brig had been confronting his homosexual past and Harley speechifying to a women’s garden club. Our attention, of course, is on Brig, not Harley. He starts to impart some words of advice to Brig — is Harley another closeted homosexual, older and wiser, who recognizes Brig’s problem? — but they are interrupted, and the moment passes. Instead, the next development we expected is Brig returning to his office and killing himself.

    Back to the climax of the vote, and the movie. Here, things play out differently than they did in Brig’s office. Van Ackerman is driven out, and when the vote draws to a close, Harley is privately informed that the President has died, making him, presumptively, the new chief executive. Like the shape-shifting corpses and sacrificial doubles we saw in The Untouchables, Harley, unlike Brig, has succeeded in escaping death by handing it to another – he does not die for the President, the President dies for him.[8]

    The vote ties, and Harley refuses to cast a vote; unaware of the President’s death, the Senators assume he has been defeated, stabbed in the back by his Vice President. As in The Untouchables, in the climactic scene when the juries are switched at the last minute and Capone’s lawyer changes his plea, chaos breaks out (although no one, like Robert de Niro’s Capone, starts swinging punches).

    Seeb, who loves drama and upsetting apple carts more than winning, sits back, hands on big belly, smiling like a Buddha: “Something’s haaaaa-pened” he drawls to Munson.

    Indeed, something has happened; the only thing that really happens, all else being illusion: the change of cosmic cycles, engineered by the Superior Man.

    As René Guénon points out frequently, death is always and only simultaneous rebirth at another level, whether of the individual or of a whole cosmic cycle; a principle reflected in the saying “The King is dead, long live the King.” The same, somewhat un-democratic principle underlies the idea of Presidential succession.[9]

    The little man has revealed himself as having been, if not ostentatiously “in charge” all along, like the preening Munson and the uppity Van Ackerman, certainly as the one with the final say. He is the chakravartin, The King of the World who, motionless in the center (the Senate rotunda) causes all things to move. Seeb Cooley, looking on in pleased wonderment, drawls “I haven’t had so much fun since the cayenne pepper hit the fan” — an interesting, Southern-fried version of the traditional symbol of the fan, or swastika, whiling at the center of the universe, dispersing the various states of being.

    Brig undertakes all sorts of actions — agreeing to head the Leffingwell committee, which upsets Ackerman and leads to the whole disaster, trying to confront his accusers in Washington and New York, ultimately failing and committing the last act, suicide.

    But Harley, like the chakravartin or the Taoist Superior Man, acts effectively by taking no action at all — “The Vice President [like all realized men, he has no personality, and so refers to himself in the third person] will not exercise his Constitutional privilege to break this tie with an affirmative vote.”

    As he makes his stately exit from the chamber, he deigns to explain himself to Munson: “I’d prefer to name my own Secretary of State.”

    Like Bartleby, he prefers not to . . . accept the choice presented to him from the dead hand of the past. Unlike Brig, who allowed his past to control him, Harley will chose for himself. As Carl Schmitt’s would say, that one is the sovereign, who can choose during the State of Exception.

    One might feel that what handicaps Brig, or simply manifests the same flaw in a different way, is his religious faith. As Nietzsche’s favorite historian, and Basel colleague, Jacob Burckhardt wrote regarding the moral sense of the great figures of the Renaissance, who served as the models for the Nietzschean Übermensch, they:

    show, in respect to religion, a quality which is common in youthful natures. Distinguishing keenly between good and evil, they yet are conscious of no sin. Every disturbance of their inward harmony they feel themselves able to make good out of the plastic resources of their own nature, and therefore they feel no repentance. The need of salvation thus becomes felt more and more dimly, while the ambitions and the intellectual activity of the present either shut out altogether every thought of a world to come, or else caused it to assume a poetic instead of a dogmatic form.[10]

    Those who feel capable of making good any felt lack through “the plastic resources of their own nature” have no need of salvation from outside; those who do, are ripe for Christianity . . . and destruction.

    Thus we see the meaning of the title: there are those who Advise — Harley to Brig, Harley to the Senate, ultimately, Harley to himself — and those who merely Consent — as Brig allows his enemies to control him through his past.[11]

    Notes

    1. “You were kind of a double kid, I bet, right? Huh? One kid with your old man, one kid with your mother. You’re upper-middle class during the weeks, then you’re droppin’ your “R”s and you’re hangin’ in the big, bad Southie projects with your daddy, the fuckin’ donkey on the weekends. I got that right?” — Dignam, The Departed

    2. See “Of Costner, Corpses, & Conception: Mother’s Day Meditations on The Untouchables & The Big Chill” both here [4] and in my new book The Homo and the Negro: Masculinist Meditations on Politics and Popular Culture (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2012).

    3. See Chapter Two of his The Way of Men (Milwaukee, Or.: Dissonant Hum, 2012).

    4. See “’God, I’m with a heathen’: The Rebirth of the Männerbund in Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables both here [5] and in The Homo and the Negro, especially pp. 115-16. While, as I point out there, Wallace’s courage is shown when he enters what I call “full Berserker mode” and attacks Capone’s men with a shotgun, still swinging it when the bullets run out, the outwardly more placid nature of the Senate is shown by Harley’s equivalent outburst: “Hey, what got into Harley?”

    5. Bogart‘s doctor during his final illness said “When a man is sick, you get to know him. You find out whether he’s made of soft wood or hard wood. I began to get fonder of Bogie with each visit. He was made of very hard wood indeed.” See my essay on Bogart here [6] and in my book. One also thinks of Bunny Roger, WWII hero and legendary window decorator, who according to Nicky Halson‘s memoirs, Redeeming Features, was “was made of burnished metal. Physically very fit — I saw him run up mountains in Scotland, at the summit adjusting his makeup from a compact kept in his sporran — he was also fearless. As a captain in the Italian campaign, even if his tent was lined in mauve with gilt chairs, and his army overcoats altered to look like Garbo’s redingotes, he was revered by his men for the number of Germans he shot — “some right up the arse” — and after the war even refused ever to set foot in Germany.” See Chapter Five of The Homo and the Negro.

    6. In Gabriel Over the White House, which Jef Costello calls [7] “the feel-good fascist movie of 1933,” the President, modeled on Franklin Roosevelt, dies after achieving his greatest aim, world peace under American hegemony. In our film, the President is also modeled after Roosevelt, tries to achieve world peace by nominating an ex-Communist as Secretary of State — Henry Fonda as Alger Hiss — but dies before even knowing the outcome of the ultimately failed vote. That president is played by Franchot Tone, who played the president’s secretary and romantic rival in the earlier film.

    7. Audiences no doubt expected the movie to feature the big star, Henry Fonda, as Leffingwell, to continue to hold the field, but he completely disappears; just as that same year Hitchcock definitely upset audience expectations by killing off “the star,” Janet Leigh, after spending the first third of the movie Psycho focusing on her story.

    8. In Derek Marlowe’s A Dandy in Aspic, which I will be reviewing soon, the death of the titular double agent is referenced in code as “the passing of the buck” which suggests President Truman’s slogan, “the buck stops here.” The sequence here echoes the inaugural speech of President Kennedy – another FDR double – and eerily foreshadows his own, possibly sacrificial death.

    9. A year or so after the film, this would be impressed on the public mind by Lyndon Johnson’s very publicly witnessed taking of the oath of office in mid-flight from Dallas, a photograph of which was speedily sent round the wire services. Throughout the Cold War there was some paranoia about being “leaderless” for even a moment, even if the President were under anesthesia during dental treatment, perhaps culminating in Alexander Haig’s bizarre announcement that he was “in charge” after Reagan’s shooting.

    10. The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy. Part Six: Morality and Religion.
    Chapter 5, “Religion and the Spirit of the Renaissance,” available online here [8].

    11. Though not particularly Nietzschean, the actor, Lew Ayres, is an interesting choice, according to this blog [9]: “A whole generation was haunted by Lew Ayres reaching out for that butterfly in the final scene of one of the worthier Best Picture Oscar winners (All Quiet on the Western Front), but Ayres himself suffered for taking the lesson of that anti-World War One movie to heart. At the onset of World War Two, Ayres declared himself a conscientious objector and suffered savage criticism from all sides. He served honorably in the war as a medic, but refused to put himself in any situation where he would have to kill another human being. After the war, Ayres’ film career petered out, and he made most of his living from television guest appearances. As an older man, he devoted himself to a labor of love, a documentary about Eastern religion called Altars of the East (1955), which eventually grew into Altars of the World (1976), an intelligent, judicious look at faith of all kinds. In that engrossing film, Ayres shows that all religions are based around the precept that we must love our neighbors as ourselves, do unto others as you would have done unto you, and so forth. He spends a lot of time weighing the pros and cons of each faith; by the end, Buddhism wins out as the best and most challenging of disciplines. . . . This was a man so touchingly sensitive that the infamously grudge-holding Joan Crawford ended a book of interviews with Roy Newquist on a pained mea culpa for yelling at Ayres when he was late to the set of a movie they were making.”

     

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • The Babysitting Bachelor as Aryan Avatar: Clifton Webb in Sitting Pretty, Part 2
    (”The Untouchables” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    [1]3,330 words

    The Myth: Mr. Belvedere as Krishna

    “Whenever there is a decline of righteousness, and the rise of unrighteousness, then I re-incarnate myself to teach dharma.”

    Bhagavad Gita, Chapter IV, Verse 7

    Tacey King: Mr. Belvedere, you dance divinely!
    Lynn Belvedere: Yes, I do.

     

     

    Over and above all this, there are still some other, even stranger things going on in this movie. I think its original, and ongoing appeal, such as it is, also arises from the no doubt unconscious, but therefore all the more interesting, echoes of Traditionalist themes, especially from the Bhagavad Gita. As we finally get around to going through the storyline in some detail, I’ll point out some features not commonly associated with 1940s screwball comedies, and with any luck you’ll come to see the comparison is not that far-fetched.[1]

    There are two reasons to think Belvedere is Krishna: what he is, and what he does. Let’s go back to the movie and see how these play out in the storyline.

    The King Family – that it, the King’s Family – is in disorder! Henry King is, as we’ve already noted, a king in name only; his children run wild, his dog jumps on his back, and he is forced to all but kowtow to his boss, including taking his wife to his boring bridge evenings, necessitating the hiring of a babysitter.[2]

    The first clue that Belvedere is may be their Avatar, or Redeemer, after his announcement that he is a “genius,” is that his imperious instructions about room and board include the information that he is a vegetarian, and that the rooms will be acceptable, once he “removes some items.” The next morning, the hallway is filled with the comfy furniture and knick-knacks that Tacey brought in to make expected babysitter feel at home.

    The room is now an ascetic cell, and when the couple enters after hearing no reply to their knock, Belvedere is discovered to be standing on his head. He apologizes for ignoring them; when practicing Yoga, he is “completely out of this world; I neither see nor hear a thing.” (We recall his earlier comment that Harry’s absence when he arrives is “a matter of complete indifference to me.”) Harry concludes he is “weird.”

    The audience would likely agree. In 1948, yoga was still the province of side-shows and fakirs at best, con men and sex-cults at worst.[3] While, as we’ve said, modern audiences are horrified by the breakfast scene that follows, but find “yoga for kids” wonderful and “progressive,” contemporary audiences would have been more concerned by what follows it: Belvedere begins to instruct the children in yoga, the post-War equivalent of being recruited into the Manson Family, or at least Scientology.

    There follows the breakfast table scene we’ve already looked at, which convinces the Kings to keep on Belvedere (or “give him a whirl” as Henry thinks). After instructing the children to chew their food exactly 28 times (another popular “health food” gimmick) the baby throws cereal on him. Belvedere dumps the bowl on his head, and announces to the parents:

    “I have taught him an object lesson, and as you can see, he doesn’t like it. I guarantee he will never throw cereal at me or anyone else again. Ever!”

    And Harry is convinced Belvedere is just what they need, since “He’s done that to me too.”

    Belvedere is the first one, though, to have had the gumption to reply in kind. He’s taught the boy, and the onlookers, a lesson about Karma, the inevitable linkage of cause and effect, action and appropriate reaction,[4] just as, earlier in the scene, he insisted Harry had no choice but to keep him on, once he responded to Tacey’s ad:

    “I am perfectly willing to carry out my end of our agreement; I see no reason you should default on yours.”

    The scene is book-ended by two remarkably explicit exchanges, first:

    Lynn Belvedere: I am, in my way, a philosopher.
    Harry King: Oh, I see, you just sit and think.
    Lynn Belvedere: Mr. King, if more people just sat and thought, the world might not be in the stinking mess that it is.

    Then:

    Harry King: You’ve got something.
    Lynn Belvedere: I couldn’t agree with you more, Mr. King. You might even say I have . . . everything.

    What we see, in short, is that Belvedere is a philosopher who, by “just sitting,” has acquired everything.[5] The furious activity of the world leaves it in a stinking mess, whilst the frantic King Family truly possesses nothing — it’s the American Nightmare of “work hard to afford to buy a commodified form of what you gave up and can never have the time to enjoy.”

    While Harry ignorantly thinks he’ll give Belvedere “a whirl,” Belvedere will bring order to the King Family, by teaching them to stop whirling around “doing” things and instead just sit and think.[6] He begins with the children; in the next scene, Harry arrives home and finds them not running around carousing in the driveway, but in the garage, practicing “yogi” headstands.

    Inside the house, everything is “under control,” the children “good as gold” (the Platonic ruling caste and the alchemical goal),[7] appliances fixed, and dog fully trained (Belvedere “had a talk with him” like many popular “dog whisperers” today). We also notice for the first time, since the name is repeatedly used, that the dog is named Henry. Who names a dog after himself? Anyway, this Henry is trained — the other one, and his wife, are next.

    We’ve seen that Belvedere is an ascetic philosopher – really, a gymnosophist, as the Greeks called the Indian holy men – who practices yoga and teaches it as a technique to induce harmonious relations with children and animals. As the movie goes on, and shifts to the adults, we get a more detailed idea of how Belvedere’s Yoga works its magic, which makes my identification of him as Krishna more plausible.

    In the Bhagavad-Gita Krishna describes and praises many forms of Yoga, but reserves his undivided endorsement, of course, to that form in which the devotee abandons concern with the fruits of action and concentrates their attention on Him alone (mat-manāḥ, “always-me-thoughted” as the Sanskrit language delightfully puts it). Concern for results, and for impressing others, falls away.

    While traditionally such teaching addresses situations of grave spiritual crisis, such as Arjuna’s despair at the apparent conflict between his warrior’s duty and his filial piety, this movies does not try to present an updated version in modern Manhattan, as Salinger would a few years later in Franny and Zooey.[8] As Alan Watts pointed out, such “metaphysical” notions are really “rockily practical,”[9] and the movie wisely stays on the level of domestic disorder.

    For paradoxically, action undertaken without concern for results becomes more, not less, effective, for:

    Yogah karmasu kaushalam, Krishna uvacha.

    Yoga is skill in action, Krishna says.[10]

    Like Krishna, Belvedere has answered the call and arrived to restore order, through his Yoga of non-action (“just sitting,” like the Taoist wu-wei), activated by capturing the attention of the family through his imperious charisma, distracting them from goals and the expectations of others.[11]

    Another paradox: just as action is easier, more successful, when unconcerned with results, so the object of devotion grows more attractive the less he responds, as writers from Aristotle (the unmoved mover) to Baron Evola (the resolute, upright individual who attracts rather than pursues spiritual influences) to the theorists of “game” in today’s “Manosphere” have observed.

    If all this sounds a little “furrin,” then it should be noted that the same, or largely similar, doctrine can be found in the West, specifically the great Neoplatonist, Plotinus. As Brian Hines notes, Plotinus:

    [T]urns upside down one of the most widely accepted tenets of modern culture: that action is the key to success in life. [Kindle loc. 2197]

    We think the answer is to concentrate more and more on ourselves, our desires, our clever plans, rather than on the One who knows all and is all and thus really does all:

    Plotinus “advise[s] us to shun the role most people long to play, albeit unconsciously, but are terribly unqualified for: Master of the Universe. . . . [W]e do our best to be mini-masters of our mini-universes, an exhausting, frustrating, unfulfilling and ultimately impossible task. We try to create order in our lives but messiness always seeps in around the edges of the little personal islands of peace and harmony we keep trying to construct in the midst of a larger cruel world.” [loc. 2126]

    Belvedere will concern himself with these “little islands of peace and harmony” that the Kings have tried to set up, without success. As with Krishna, what’s needed is, ironically, to stop acting, to step back, step away, and . . . just contemplate the One:

    “The problem . . . is [that] effective creation requires concentrated contemplation. . . . Most of us, unfortunately, lack the willpower to focus so attentively on what we desire to achieve or create.” [loc. 2135]

    And as we shall see more in a moment, the main problem is that rather than contemplating, they are worried about results, and especially, making an impression on others, thus losing the single-pointed focus — Pater’s “hard, gem-like flame” that is “success in life”:

    . . . when they propose to act . . . it is because they want their act to be perceived by others [Plotinus, Enneads III-8-4; Hines, loc. 2217][12]

    Belvedere introduces himself as a genius, but we see he is more than some theoretical nerd, like Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory.[13] Rather than being socially and physically inept, Belvedere is a master of many disciplines, a “jack of all trades.” No wonder he thought himself qualified to answer an ad for a live-in babysitter. Pressed by Harry for a profession, he deigns to call himself a philosopher, which Harry glosses as someone who “just sits and thinks,” but Belvedere immediately sets him straight: it is the key to restoring order to the world!

    How does just sitting lead to such technical mastery? Of course, Belvedere does not literally just sit; he stands on his head in the mornings, and always takes a walk after dinner. And he insists that the only thing he hasn’t been is an idler or slacker.

    Let’s get back to the movie, where we can see these themes play out.

    The real charm, and advantage, of the path of bhakti, or devotion, is that it is also easier than the others, especially easier, because more natural (in the sense of “appropriate to their predominant qualities or gunas”) for women and children. As we have seen, the children are easily converted to the cult of Belvedere, and by the time Harry gets home Tacey is smitten as well.

    Of course, it is essential that she not like him “that way,” which is where Belvedere’s implied, and Webb’s actual, sexual indifference become useful. “The fascination is not mutual” as Belvedere says on Day One. The scandals involving everyone from Oriental gurus to televangelists to Catholic priests are well-known. Within older Aryan traditions that had not been perverted by liberalism, we find strict rules and customs to limit this, from the systematic taboos of Hindu civilization — ignored by modern “gurus” East and West — to the monastic rules of mediaeval Catholicism. Perhaps most familiar to us are the rules of chivalry and courtly love; we recall how Bogart’s treatment of women was called “courtly” while his “indifference” leant an authentic note of chivalry to his characters — Sam Spade sending Brigid to prison, Rick sending Ilsa on to Madrid with her husband (while striking up a beautiful friendship with Louis), etc. Belvedere is so strict he won’t let the boys call him “Uncle,” which is the traditional title for such a role, and one Darwinian explanation for the role of homosexuals in genetic success.[14]

    Like countless men whose partners have acquired gay best friends, Harry nevertheless finds himself jealous, the very epitome of a useless and counter-productive emotion. Belvedere will, however, actually use this jealousy (remember, yoga is skill in action) just as Tantra uses the strategic breaking of taboos, to break down Harry and convert him. Harry is then subject to two trials.[15]

    First, Harry is sent off on the usual “business trip.” At first, he refuses, fearing to leave Tacey alone with Belvedere. Since he needs to please his boss’s “royal decree” Tacey agrees to stay with friends. In both his jealousy and obsequiousness toward his boss, we see Harry’s other-directed nature.

    One night, while he’s gone, one of the children becomes ill, and Belvedere summons Tacey. Clarence, having seen the lights on, comes over to see (again, his obsession with spying) and finds them all in robes and pajamas. Rumor spreads, Harry’s boss upbraids him for lowering the reputation of the firm, and Harry angrily confronts Tacey. Once it’s all explained, he sheepishly backs down, but is still suspicious.

    The second trial is set up when Tacey dances with Belvedere — like Krishna and Gopis or milk maids[16] (“You dance divinely. . . . Yes, I do”) — at a hotel restaurant, and again Clarence is there to spy and gossip.[17]

    [2]

    “Full-time mom Nandini Zaldivar has put her creativity to use in transforming Barbie—the ultimate material girl—into a devoted Gopi doll that’s the perfect role model for ISKCON children.”

    This scene is really the pivot of the film. Once more, as in the photo of Belvedere and Clarence in Part 1, we see them opposed, embodying opposite philosophies of life — Belvedere dancing with Tacey, oblivious to the crowd, Clarence on the other side of the room, wheeling his decrepit mother around, intently staring with hypocritical disgust.

    Once more, Clarence spreads the rumor, Harry is upbraided by his boss, and this time his irrational response produces an ironic result — it’s his wife who is driven out, leaving him at home with Belvedere!

    But worse is yet to come; Belvedere has not been only meditating in his room; he’s written an expose of the whole suburban community.

    The resulting book is a bestselling scandal, of the Peyton Place type, and the entire community is outraged at its exposure — again, the motif of concern for others’ opinion. That alone — apart from the revelation of his own philandering — makes Harry’s boss feel justified in firing Harry for harboring Belvedere, as well as firing Harry’s best friend for standing up for him.

    Harry has now hit rock bottom; wifeless, jobless, his reputation in the community in ruins, he returns home to find a film crew in his living room, interviewing Belvedere (who is also taking over the direction, having “done it many times before”).[18]

    [3]

    Book published, bust sculpted by Tacey, newsreel interview shot, Belvedere has conquered all media and his image is available for the contemplation of his devotees everywhere.

    Now, at the film’s climax, Belvedere demonstrates his mastery of the situation, producing a better order out of the chaos he has created. Harry’s boss and others, including Clarence, arrive to announce they plan to sue Belvedere for millions in damages. Belvedere announces he couldn’t be happier, as the suit will only bring more publicity; and also provide a lucrative first case for the new law firm Harry and his friend will set up on their own.

    At this point we note that Harry’s boss, who issues “royal decrees” to Harry, is named Hammond — once more, Haman has been hoist by his own petard.[19]

    And Belvedere also reveals that he’s not the one they should sue anyway. He’s gathered his information . . . from Clarence! The others turn on Clarence and chase him out.[20]

    The resolution of the Clarence subplot lets us revisit the use of Clarence as a foil for Belvedere.

    When Belvedere reveals that his writing left no sound to give him away, due to his use of a quill pen — the Adept acts without leaving a trace — we recall that Clarence has throughout the film been using a feather to gather pollen throughout the neighborhood and thereby gather his gossip as well. The chiastic parallel is driven home when, in what Quinn Martin would call the epilogue, we learn that Mr. Hammond has given Clarence a black eye; earlier, Harry had foolishly tried to strike Belvedere, who nimbly stepped aside to allow Harry’s fist to hit the door frame. Karma!

    Clarence lives in a house on top of a hill, the Psycho house we mentioned earlier, where he dotes on his aged mother, who spies out the window and uses Clarence to gather more information on the neighbors, as he aggressively thrusts himself into people’s lives through various pretexts, such as gathering pollen.

    Belvedere lives in a room atop a house, where others dote on him, and bring information to him, only approaching others when invited, as by Tacey’s ad. As Plotinus has told us, Belvedere’s contemplation is superior, since, though unmoving, it is creative: he sits, listens, and produces a book, a sociological study of the new suburban lifestyle.

    This works both as a cinematic device — once more making Belvedere seem nicer than he otherwise would — as well as delivering a spiritual message. As we’ve seen before — in The Untouchables, Mad Men, Advise and Consent — and will see again, in upcoming work on A Dandy in Aspic and the apocalyptic cinema of Coleman Francis — one of the chief signs of the Enlightened One is the ability to “pass the buck”: escaping Karma, the consequences of action, by offloading it to another character. If Belvedere had been snooping around it would lower our opinion of him; instead, he has merely skillfully used Clarence’s nosy nature for his own advantage, and in the process exposed and neutralized him (which, like Harry and the baby’s cereal hurling, none of his victims has had the gumption to do).[21]

    [4]

    Clifton and the Gopis: Webb’s Krishna-like attraction led the unknown starlet Marilyn Monroe onto the set of Sitting Pretty and thus into this Life photo-shoot.

    In the epilogue, Harry and Tacey, back together, announce that they will be adding another child to the mix. Apparently, although they have benefited from Belvedere’s teaching, they have chosen to return to the householder‘s path. Though devoted to their children and each other, their love, and child raising abilities, can only have benefited from their brief stay among the devotees of Belvedere/Krishna. Belvedere may be disappointed but, as always, not nonplussed: he is also an obstetrician! A perfect metaphor for his Socratic, or midwife’s, role. And no need to ever leave the gaze of Krishna again!

    Writing on How to Live 24 Hours a Day, Arnold Bennett counsels that, when out for one of Belvedere’s evening walks,

    Forget the goal; think only of the surrounding country; and after a period, perhaps when you least expect it, you will suddenly find yourself in a lovely town on a hill.

    Perhaps the name of that town would be . . . Hummingbird Hill?

    If I seem to be overburdening this little screwball comedy, this jeu d’esprit, with too heavy a load of “significance,” we would do well to recall that the motion picture, especially the popular movie, is the modern descendent or analogue of ancient public rituals and esoteric rites; thus, as Camille Paglia says of poetry, “the sacred remains latent within.”[22] This is precisely what makes it, along with the popular music concert, the dominant form of public art in our time.

    And we should also recall René Guénon’s notion that Traditional wisdom has been encoded into folk art and traditions, safely, unknowingly, preserved and transmitted to later generations, who can recover it from the most unlikely sources, if they have eyes to see and ears to hear. We would do well to gratefully extract such lessons whenever we find them. Conversely, the decline of the Belvedere image, from “divine” to “jerkass,” can serve as an index for the decline of modern culture in the Kali Yuga.

    Notes

    1. Trevor Lynch has criticized [5]The Hobbit as “just one damn thing after another.” I hope to show that Sitting Pretty exhibits a tightly structured whole that develops a coherent spiritual lesson.

    2. In the suburban utopia proclaimed by pipe-smoking Sub-Genius prophet J. R. “Bob” Dobbs, endless amounts of Holy Slack replace work, and the motto is “Every child and dog a slave.”

    3. “The story of yoga in America” is told in Stephanie Syman’s The Subtle Body (New York: FSG, 2010) but more relevant to our movie is Robert Love’s The Great Oom: The Improbable Birth of Yoga in America (New York: Viking, 2010) whose subject, Pierre Bernard (of Iowa) was, despite constant harassment by cops and tabloids (whence the sobriquet “The Great Oom”), still operating at the time of the film and would have been the most immediate image “yoga” would call to mind.

    4. “The most important of all perceptions is the continual perception of cause and effect—in other words, the perception of the continuous development of the universe …. When one has thoroughly got imbued into one’s head the leading truth that nothing happens without a cause, one grows not only large-minded, but large-hearted.” — Arnold Bennett, How to Live on 24 Hours a Day.

    5. Due to the American habit of identifying people with their professions, Belvedere, by doing all, is, like Krishna, all. “What haven’t you been?” Tacey asks, in wonderment. Or rather, like Krishna, he is the best in all things, the essence of them.

    All right, Arjuna, I will tell you
    a few of my manifestations,
    the most glorious ones; for infinite
    are the forms in which I appear.

    I am the Self, Arjuna,
    seated in the heart of all beings; [and so on, for many verses]

    These are just a small number
    of my infinite manifestations;
    were I to tell you more,
    there would be no end to the telling.

    Whatever in this world is excellent
    and glows with intelligence or beauty –
    be sure that it has its source
    in a fragment of my divine splendor.

    But what need is there for all
    these details? Just know that I am,
    and that I support the whole
    universe with a single fragment of myself. — Bhagavad Gita [6], 10.17-10.40

    6. In this he presents a contrast with the real American Psycho, Patrick Bateman. (For which, see Gregory Hood’s “American Psycho [7]) The latter, despite his yoga and “rigorous exercise routine” (Belvedere is content with an evening walk) works a boring job he doesn’t need, because he “wants to fit in.” Bateman is all about fitting in and above all being seen to fit in. The emphasis on “being seen” links him to Clarence, thus another Psycho connection. While today’s audiences likely think Belvedere is a sadist and Clarence merely “camp,” they likely nod their head when Bateman, the true sadist, mouths his list of approved Liberal causes and upbraids his colleagues for anti-Semitism, appealing to the same “community standards” enforced by Clarence‘s gossiping.

    By contrast, Belvedere resembles Rory Gilmore, as conceived by Gilmore Girls creator, Amy Sherman Palladino:

    What to me had not been done was a girl who wasn’t fucking around at 14. A girl who was not interested in boys, not because of an aversion to boys, but who was academically goal-oriented and really that’s what made her tick. And a girl who was very comfortable in her skin. Didn’t need to be popular, wasn’t popular, but didn’t care. — “The Best of Friends” by Susan LaTempa, here [8].

    All of which could account for The Gilmore Girls having a Belvedere level of (un)popularity when it was programmed against American Idol.

    7. The relationship between Belvedere and the boys reminds one of how the young Fritz Peters saw Gurdieff who served as much as his father figure as his guru: “strong, honest, direct, uncomplicated — an entirely ’non-nonsense’ individual.” See Peters, Boyhood with Gurdjieff (London: Victor Gollanz, 1964; Fairfax, Cal.: Arête Communications, 2006).

    8. The twee pretentiousness of which has lasted to our own day, best exemplified by the named by Salinger-fan parents Zooey Dechannel.

    9. Alan Watts, In My Own Way (New York: Pantheon, 1972), p. 3.

    10. “The verses 47-51 of the second chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita constitute indeed a capsule version of the entire Karma Yoga of the Gita. These five verses may be translated as follows:

    Your right is only to do (your prescribed) work; never for the results or rewards thereof. Nor should you have them as your motive. Neither should you be interested in not doing the work. (#47):

    Do your actions, being yourself established in yoga, rid of all attachment and being equanimous to success or failure. Equanimity is said to be yoga. (#48)

    Such performance of work is what is known as buddhi-yoga. (Result-motivated and desireful) action is far inferior to this. Take refuge in the equanimous mode (of doing work). Those who are motivated by results are, alas, a miserable lot! (#49).

    One who is harmonised in buddhi-yoga (through equanimity) transcends both good actions and evil actions. Therefore strive for (such a) yoga. Yoga is skill in action. (#50)

    ‘Such wise persons who are harmonised in buddhi-yoga having renounced all results and rewards are released from the bondage of birth (and death) and they reach the sorrowless final state’. (#51). – “Gems from the Ocean of Hindu Thought [9].”

    11. Transcending action oriented to results, as well as mere inaction (“I’ve never been an idler”), this Yoga also partakes of both the male characteristic of impassivity as well as the feminine method of conquering by giving way, thus uniquely appropriate to Webb’s style of masculinity; see Baron Evola’s “The Serpentine Way” in his Introduction to Magic, where the Baron’s disdain for “brute muscularity” may surprise his contemporary enthusiasts, as his ideal seems closer to Webb, or at least Bogart, than the likes of Mussolini or Ernst Rohm.

    12. Brian Hines, Return to the One: Plotinus’ Guide to God-Realization (Bloomington and Salem: Unlimited Publishing, 2004). For Pater, see the “Conclusion [10]” to his Studies in the History of the Renaissance (1873). In the same work, his equally infamous “Not the fruit of experience, but experience itself, is the end” is a kind of Decadent, aestheticized version of Krishna’s Karma-yoga; the missing element of dharma, defining the correct action, is what makes Pater’s version “quite poisonous” to George Eliot. The definitive work on Plotinus’s doctrine of contemplation is also quite accessible to the layman: Nature, Contemplation, and the One by John N. Deck [11] (Burdett, N.Y.: Larson Publications, 1991).

    13. Another TV hit from Hollywood ueber-Judaic Chuck Lorre, promoting the anti-White messages that intelligence is socially isolating (so don’t be smart) but if you are smart, then feel free to mock Christians and Middle Americans in general; the usual heads he wins, tails you lose strategy of the culture-distorter.

    14. The case of Franklin Jones of Long Island who became Da Free John of San Francisco and after many other whimsical name changes ultimately Adi Da of Fiji, is especially relevant and interesting; see most recently Adi Da Samraj: Realized or/and Deluded? by William Patrick Patterson (Arete Communications, 2012).

    15. Speaking of chivalry, we seem to be in a version of the tale of Gawain and the Green Knight in which the roles are reversed; in our version, it is the courteous knight who tests his host with his behavior toward his host’s wife (in the winter scene — Gawain takes place at New Year’s — Belvedere, like Gawain, receives a gift of clothing from his fair lady) which the host fails, but is ultimately forgiven and chastened by the lesson.

    16. Although the Christian mystic tends to engage in rather masochistic forms of worship – perhaps this is why [12] “The metapolitics of the contemporary West center more on ethnic masochism even than egalitarianism” — and various Protestant sects have demonized dancing altogether, in the Gnostic Acts of John Jesus engages his disciples in the same kind of round-dancing as Krishna and the Gopis. In the Orthodox tradition, the Prayer of the Heart, aka the Jesus or “Centering” Prayer, may correspond to Me-mindedness.

    17. One is perhaps reminded of Frank O’Hara’s poem “A Mexican Guitar,” which Camille Paglia reads as the gay poet’s celebration of studio B-movies, like Webb’s, in a later age of supposedly “realistic” method acting. As they dance the poet is impervious to the charms of his female friend, which are only displayed for onlookers — nuns, schoolboys, and Boston puritans — with “lavish envy.” And say, isn’t Tacey played by Maureen O’Hara? See her Break Blow Burn (New York: Pantheon, 2005), pp. 177-82.

    18. As someone who has recently published a book, I find the time compression here to be breathtaking; like the “Pilot” story arc on Seinfeld, we seem to go from publication to national bestseller to newsreel subject in about 3 days.

    19. On the “hang higher than Haman” trope, see my “Mad Men Jumps the Gefilte Fish: Part Three, continued [13].”

    20. There is also a secretary who provides information about Mr. Hammond’s skirt chasing in the office, but Belvedere does not reveal her, no doubt from chivalry; we only see her in the set up to the dance scene, so she may as well treat her as a stand in for Clarence anyway.

    21. Belvedere will neither actively spy nor allow others to spy on him. Twice Tacey and Harry attempt to sneak into his room or peep through the window, and both times they are foiled by Belvedere. In the latter case, there may be some hint of the Garden of Eden or World Tree; Harry climbs up a tree but falls when Belvedere spots him from the ground. Spying on him is an unsanctioned use of Belvedere’s providential incarnation, unlike the gazing upon his freely given form known in the Hindu tradition as satsang.

    The King’s snooping suggests a relation of some kind to a very different work. Two years before Sitting Pretty, Hermann Hesse received the Nobel Prize. In his 1927 novel Steppenwolf, another intellectual outsider with interests in Yoga and Krishna takes rooms in an archetypally bourgeois house. However, in Hesse’s book it’s the outsider who is named Harry (Haller), and like our Harry, he’s the one who needs an education in lifemanship. (Our Harry lives on Hummingbird Hill, H.H., which connects him to Harry Haller, just as Harry Haller suggests Hermann Hesse) The framing story includes the ingenuous account of what the landlady’s nephew – one might compare them to the nosy Appleton and his dear Mother — discovers about Harry by surreptitiously entering his room, but when our Harry and Tacey try they find that Belvedere has anticipated them and changed the lock. There’s also a book, or pamphlet, within the book, in which an abstract voice gives an objective, almost cosmic, perspective on Harry’s angst-ridden life; in the movie, Belvedere writes a thinly veiled account of the goings-on at Hummingbird Hill. The main part of the novel, alliteratively titled Harry Haller’s Records (Belvedere’s bestseller, Hummingbird Hill?), involves Harry’s attempt to come to terms with the vulgarity of modern life through a course in jazz dancing (Spengler’s “death march of civilization”) and opium under the guidance of a stern woman who reminds him of male friend of his childhood; in the movie, the stern and effeminate Belvedere undertakes the instruction of Harry by, among other things, dancing with his wife, and teaches the whole neighborhood a lesson about bourgeois vulgarity as well. In the end, Harry is still failing, he even tries to kill his girlfriend out of jealousy, but seems optimistic – Beckett’s “fail again, fail better” – while in the movie Harry is successful in marriage and career and even expecting another child, though still under Belvedere’s watchful eye.

    22. Break, Burn, Blow, p. xiv.

     

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • From Ultrasuede to Limelight:Aryan Entrepreneurs in the Dark Age, Part 1: Halston
    (”The Untouchables” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Roy Halston Frowick, April 23, 1932–March 26, 1990
    [1]

    Roy Halston Frowick, April 23, 1932–March 26, 1990

    6,479 words

    Part 1 of 2

    Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston [2] (2010) Director: Whitney Sudler-Smith

    Limelight [3] (2011) Director: Billy Corben

    Party Monster [4] (2003) Directors: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato

    “I love America.”—Peter Gatien

    “All American kid from the Midwest. This is a great American.”—Liza on Roy Halston Frowick

    Fashion and dance clubs may seem to “the Right” to be odd places to look for icons of America, to say nothing of being embodiments of Aryan archetypes. Well, too bad for them; they’re losing anyway, and that lack of imagination is why.[1]

    The first generation of Traditionalists knew that the Tradition they defined and defended was precisely that which manifested itself in all parts of so-called “traditional” societies; conversely, even the smallest, most “irrelevant” part of a Traditional culture could serve as a vehicle of metaphysical principles; hence the importance, especially to Coomaraswamy and Daniélou, of art and music.[2]

    These two films, Ultrasuede and Limelight, each tell the tale of a White man from the North American heartland who, imbued with the Faustian Spirit, came to New York to make his dreams come true, only to be torn down by the under men. And if that seems too depressing, you can watch Party Monster for a (perhaps unintentionally) comic take on the whole thing.[3]

    They also display quite different documentary styles. Ultrasuede is typical of the modern, “guerilla” filmmaking school; the director, in this case one improbably named Whitney Sudler-Smith, makes himself part of the show, gonzo-style, sort of a less uptight Michael Moore but more serious than Sasha Baron Cohen.[4] Limelight is the more traditional, National Film Board of Canada style, but both are cobbled together from news footage and vérité clips, with present-day interviews added in for commentary, backstory, and reflections, all held together with contemporary music as grout.[5]

    Whether you like the first kind of documentary is largely a function of whether you like the filmmaker. As someone once explained tenure decisions to me, would you want to have lunch with this person for the next 20 years? Sudler-Smith starts off rather irritating, but damn if he does kinda grow on yah.

    Detroit, when I grew up there in the ‘60s and ‘70s was not just mostly White but specifically a mixture of second or third generation Irish, recent European immigrants, mostly Polish, as well as internal immigrants from Appalachia, hillbillies, in short; the ones sung about, and singing, Bobby Bare’s country hit “Detroit City [5].”[6]

    So one has to smile—well, our kind of people would—at his cherry red Pontiac Firebird with its Confederate license plates, and especially how his interview with Vogue’s Head Negro in Charge, Andre Leon Talley is interrupted not just by his cellphone but his “Dixie” ringtone.[7]

    All this seems to be based on some kind of Southern connection in his upbringing,[8] although his mother is more debutante than Daisy Duke, and her more recent marriage to a Tribesman—Arthur Goodhart Altschul—is more relevant, as we’ll see. Smith even starts by bringing his mother on to try and explain his fascination with the ‘70s, and all they can come up with is his love of watching Smokey and the Bandit on TV. Hence, the car, the porn moustache, the vaguely but not oppressively “Southern” attitude.[9] Like many immigrants, internal or otherwise, he calls on his “heritage” selectively; mostly, to annoy his interviewees. Whether this is a conscious strategy, or just Judaic/hillbilly bumptiousness, is unclear.

    What soon becomes clear is that the whole thing is something of a vanity project. His childhood fascination with the ‘70s has become a grown-up obsession with great periods of decadence, from Babylon to Weimar, and he has become “interested” in Halston as the great symbol of ’70s sleaze.

    It’s easy to imagine him simpering “Divine decadence” like Sally Bowles, so it’s appropriate that his first stop is to interview Liza Minnelli. She patiently instructs the hapless Smith to “do some research” and stay away from the gossip, but Smith is incapable of really “getting” what Halston was or what he meant to the fashion world, despite all the people he interviews, so eventually, having run out of content, he circles back to his personal obsessions and devotes a great deal of time, and news footage, to Studio 54 and Halston’s rather gruesome boy toy. He even finds time to interview Billy Joel, whose expertise on Halston is based on one line in one of his dumb songs. But he’s rich, and famous, and a Tribesman, so enjoy![10]

    It is interesting, though, to see juxtaposed interview subjects recalling all kinds of sex and drugs in the Studio 54 basement, with Liza’s deadpan “I never saw anything like that.” Allowing for selective memory, it’s still a testament to Aristotle’s dictum that poetry is truer than history.[11] We’ll see soon what relevance, tiny though it is, Studio 54 may have to Halston.

    Even within the wreckage of Smith’s wretched film, there’s enough material to suggest the real significance of Halston. 

    Halston: Fashion Fascism, Fashion Futurism

    Using simple shapes and luxe fabrics, Halston helped cast off the hippie look in the ’70s, and he was America’s first celebrity designer. Designer Ralph Rucci, whose first job was toiling in Halston’s workshop, described the feeling at the time of the designer’s influence, “It was going to be a new history. You knew it. Working on the clothes, you had never seen patterns like these before. You . . . had to think in different dimensions.” Vogue’s Talley emphasized the American-ness of Halston’s clothing, and its sense of post-war industriousness: “Ultimate quality for the American woman, or the international woman, with style glamour and class is his legacy.”[12]

    In order to understand the significance of Halston, I suggest we need to see him as an embodiment of the Faustian Man, Spengler’s term for the spirit of Western, White civilization—or rather, culture, a significant difference for Spengler, as we shall see. Moreover, by looking at the contradictory advice by Spengler and the Italian Futurists to Faustian Man at the end of his culture’s lifecycle, we can see how Halston’s career trajectory instantiated the Futurist option that Spengler rejected as heroic, but inevitably doomed.[13] 

    Simplicity, Space, Light

    The “prime symbol” of the Faustian is “pure limitless space.”[14] We see this manifested in several ways throughout Halston’s career.

    Although his life was associated with excess, from sex and drugs to his six-figure orchid habit, Halston’s clothes were characterized by elegant simplicity. As Rucci fondly recalls, “Nobody looked tasteful anymore.”[15]

    Not only his designs—simple, elegant mathematical expanses of pure fabric—but even his work methods manifested the same effortless command of space:

    None tells the story of his talent as well as one-time design assistant and now-famous couturier Ralph Rucci. One night, Halston startled him by throwing a bolt of purple chiffon on the floor and cutting a dress out of a single piece of fabric, no seams necessary. “It wraps around the body in one piece and it catches at the top of the neck. As a woman walks, it opens a bit at the leg and she almost becomes naked in this vapor of chiffon,” Rucci says. “Do you know anybody who can think in three dimensions and cut it right there on the floor? I don’t.”[16]

    The story is repeated in the film, and seems to be the basis of a kind of fashion myth—one inevitably thinks of the cloak Mary sewed for Jesus, without seam. As we’ll see, eventually lots will be cast over the ownership of Halston’s empire.[17]

    We also find pure, limitless space, and its accompaniment, pure light, in Halston’s workspace and living space. As his career skyrocketed, he moved from a small boutique to the 21st floor of Olympic Towers in New York’s Midtown.

    “The King needed a castle.”

    The showroom/offices, which Smith visits today to interview Halston model Pat Cleveland, are one, contiguous space, bisected by floor to ceiling pocket doors (costing 500k or 5 million in today’s money, we are breathlessly informed). The walls are mirrored. “It was like being in a glass box” Cleveland recalls, adding that she used the World Trade Center, visible through the floor to ceiling glass of one wall, “as my focal point” when applying makeup.

    “He called me the moth. I was always flying to the light.”

    “Always had big windows and sun.”—Liza

    And something else could be seen more closely: Halston’s “insolent boast” (Spengler):

     “I don’t have to go to church. [St. Patrick’s] is right across the street.”—Halston

     The same marshaling of vast amounts of space and light occurs in Halston’s equally famous townhouse, at the time the only contemporary house built in New York since the war. With 30-foot ceilings and a 60-foot living room, it was the scene of legendary dinners and parties, which of course is all that Smith is interested in. More importantly for us, the carpet and furnishings are monochromatic grey, a color we’ll be seeing again in significant places, with candles everywhere. After tearing himself away from reminiscing about “decadent parties” at the townhouse, we return to the offices so that we can see Smith get a delusory compliment from Cleveland about looking like Halston, while we get the more important fact that “he always wore black.” The theme of mono-chromatic uniforms will become important in our reflections here. 

    Harnessing Technology

    But if Halston had merely been a skilled dress-cutter he would have earned nothing but the scorn of Spengler or the Futurists. Spengler regarded the “artsy craftsy” obsessions of many Conservatives as a dead end, a confession of defeat, like—as we shall see—pacifism. Faustian Man, to be true to himself, must harness the latest technology to his ends.

    Halston did this most famously with his realization that simple, flowing designs would be perfectly realized by a new synthetic fabric, Ultrasuede. Typically, Smith gloms onto the word for his very title, but says nothing about it. So, courtesy of Wikipedia [6], here’s a quick rundown: 

    Ultrasuede is the trade name for a synthetic microfiber fabric invented in 1970 by Dr. Miyoshi Okamoto, a scientist working for Toray Industries. In Japan it is sold under the brand name Ecsaine. It was the world’s first ultra-microfiber. It is often described as an artificial substitute for suede leather. The fabric is multifunctional: it is used in fashion, interior decorating, automotive and other vehicle upholstery, and industrial applications, such as protective fabric for electronic equipment. It is also a very popular fabric in the manufacture of footbags (also known as hacky sacks).

    Warfare/Uniformity/Democratizing Fashion

    For Spengler, the very dynamism of Faustian Man’s nature prevents him, even in the Winter of his culture, from simply surrendering to the inevitable decline; rather, he will harness his technological achievements and hurl himself full steam ahead.[18] Pacificism was impossible, short of senility; the race’s will to power, expressing itself in all aspects of life, from personal interaction to vast cultural enterprises to, indeed, literal warfare, must inevitably lead to conflict and struggle for supremacy. As Bolton says, “The aesthetic of the new Western will to power is ushered by both Spengler and the Futurists by struggle.”[19]

    Here, however, Spengler and the Futurists diverge, in a way relevant to our look at Halston. For Spengler, art, including presumably fashion, was dead, fit only for museums. “Artists” today are just kidding themselves at best; at worst, poisoning our culture, or what’s left of it, with their decaying “ideas.” The best White brains should be directed to science, and in particular, engineering—interestingly, Evola’s field of study.

    “Art, yes, but in concrete and steel.”—Spengler

    The Futurists seem to take Spengler’s challenge but invert it; they would attempt to make art out of concrete and steel.[20]

    There is nothing for us to admire today but the dreadful symphonies of the shrapnel and the mad sculptures that our inspired artillery molds among the masses of the enemy.[21]

    Of course, although the Futurists contributed much to the public monuments and graphic propaganda of Fascist Italy, they never actually shot up any enemy troops— just as the Surrealist Breton never fired a gun into a crowd. Their struggle, like Halston’s, took the form of what Nietzsche called Geisterkrieg, comparable to the European New Right’s—and the North American New Right’s—notion of metapolitics.

    The struggle originates with one, charismatic individual—a Marinetti, a Halston, a Warhol, a Chavez, or a Dugin—who seeks to impose his vision—his will to power—on society.

    It is from these differentiated individuals that influence is exerted upon society in the wider perspective—[forming] the loci and focal points of the causal power structure. Individualism is followed by the formation of groups and organs, related tendencies join together . . . ; between these centres of power friction, recognition of one another’s forces, [etc.] Every Aristocratic Radical maintains the central position within their respective collective as the creative principle until eventually society is presided over by a new aristocracy of creators.

    In this “optimistic” version of Spengler,

    Culture, therefore, will return when the people work together to place value upon producing single individuals who are capable of creating and shaping the current to produce great works. . . . Nietzsche’s Geisterkrieg has no need of garnishing votes, no need of propaganda or money—all it needs to be enacted is to win the hearts and the minds of the people—which is why it is a ‘war of the spirit’ against the ‘cultural philistine’.[22]

    “All it needs”? This seems like the kind of “optimism” that Spengler decried as unrealistic, in an essay defending himself form the corresponding charge of “pessimism.”[23] The experience of Futurism, Fascism and, as we shall see, Halston, suggests he has a point.

    Although it may seem a bit of a stretch to construe the “struggle” of, say, an Andy Warhol to impose his vision on every aspect of society in terms of warfare, in the case of Halston the image imposes itself, again and again.[24]

    Halton’s first triumph—and is this not already a military term?—occurred when, still only a milliner at Bergdorf’s, he was selected to design a hat for Jackie Kennedy to wear to the inaugural. The result, the famous “pillbox” hat, was an instant fashion craze and remains a fashion icon. And of course, in name and form, it’s entirely military.[25]

    Then, striking out on his own as a designer, Halston scores his greatest triumph when he is one of five American designers selected, for the first time, to exhibit in France. 

    Versailles ’73 tells of an EPIC—people usually use this word for non-epic moments, but this is one that’s deserving—fashion show that would put five well known French couturiers against five, then less globally recognized and respected, American fashion designers . . . the end result of what happened that night would forever change fashion, the lives of the designers involved, and the models that served as muses that night; especially the African American models who came onto stage and dazzled the predominantly French audience like nothing they had ever seen before.[26] . . . These designers put read-to-wear on ‘the map’, and took fashion in a new direction, away from the elaborate haute couture that only the noble and, well, rich could wear, and opened everyone’s eyes to a new way of dress, that was fit for all.[27]

    “The Battle of Versailles,” as WWD called it, was a rout for the French. Supremely confident—“The French didn’t consider America as anything” fellow designer Stephen Burrows recalls—. the ancien regime put up the whole creaking machinery of their high “culture,” including . . .  ballet dancers. Really?[28]

    “They had scenery and staging . . . it was really kind of corny.”—Stephen Burrows

    For once, Sudley-Smith gets it right, saying to Minnelli, “So, the Americans whipped the French again.” Or as Yves Saint Laurent had to admit, “We’ve learned something.”

    Learned what? As Minnelli recalls: “We did it like Americans. We did it like Halston. Direct, to the point, effective.”

    Or as Marinetti might say, ballet dancers are no match for bullets.

    Simplicity, whether cutting a dress without a pattern[29] or employing a high-tech fabric that could be used for anything by anyone, this was the purest expression of Faustian Man, the fit weapon to combat the cultural philistines.

    We’ll get back to that bit about “Americans” and clothing “fit for all” in a moment, but first let’s finish the chronicles of Halston by looking at his next triumph: Halston went to China—like Nixon—ostensibly to open up Chinese manufacturing for American clothing makers. Actually, it was another field for Halston to impose his will:

    “Can the designs be changed? Is that such a problem?”

    But although Halston’s more colorful designs and models win over the dour Chinese bureaucrats, we also notice that there’s not that much difference between the two groups. Next to the Chinese officials, Halston’s own monochromatic clothes fit right in, and when two officials give approval to one of the models’ outfits—“Nice color”—we notice the color, at least in the washed-out news footage, matches their own suits.[30]

    In fact, we’ve seen these models at various earlier scenes, as Halston’s constant entourage, known variously as the Halstonettes (WWD) or Ultraettes (Talley), making grand entrances on yachts—another military image—all, including Halston, attired in the same color, which would change on schedule throughout the day, even in China. And remember the pillbox hat?

    Indeed, what better expression of the modern, technological age than the uniform, especially for a designer known for simplicity, monochromatic, uniformity (’natch)?[31]

    Reflecting on the China trip, model Pat Cleveland muses, “He did it for America. Everything he did was for America.”

    And America, as Minnelli told us earlier, “did it like Halston.”

    So it becomes clear that what Halston wanted to do for America was provide it with a uniform—not so obvious and forced as the Mao suit, but a wardrobe simple, affordable, and flattering on all. America’s true nature, expressed in its clothing, just as Tradition is manifested in the Hindu sari or the Arab’s thawb. Exactly what a man whose talent lay in fashion design could contribute—or impose upon by sheer will—a still-majority White nation facing the coming struggle to the death against what Spengler called “the colored world revolution.”

    I always wanted to reach a wider America. When you’re able to produce a dress—that a woman can wear to work, wear out, that’s machine-washable—for $75, that’s magic.

    Things did not quite work out, but before turning to Halston’s decline and fall, let’s ask ourselves, what with this America bit? Who cares? Why on Earth did Halston care?

    As we saw in discussing the necessity of struggle, cultures are rooted in real communities, not any abstract “humanity.”[32] The task, as the Futurists realized, was that

    Western technics must be harnessed for the great deeds to be undertaken by the West, or at least by Italy, and not in the service of democratic and humanistic doctrines in the service of a nebulous “mankind.”[33]

    The task, then, having overthrown the French hegemony and pacified China with trade, was to clothe America. But how?

    Here was Halston’s last great idea—his last temptation, as it were.[34] Halston inked a licensing deal—worth, he said, a billion dollars—in the ’70s!—with down-market mass-marketer J. C. Penny’s. Such deals are fairly common today, but the fashion industry was not ready for them back then. Trying to lead the masses, Halston got too far out in front of his industry peers, and lost control of them. He lost his flagship position at Bergdorf, had his name diluted by being attached to too many and too poorly thought-out products—basically, anything that could have Ultrasuede tacked onto it, in line with our idea of the creator imposing his vision on every aspect of a culture—and after a number of corporate shifts and buy-outs, wound up with the ultimate indignity of losing control of his own name. “Halston” was now the registered trademark of a mayonnaise company.

    So what ultimately happened to what Mel Brooks might call “Halston: the Label”?

    In 2007, Harvey Weinstein curated a team of people, including ex-Jimmy Choo scion Tamara Mellon and Rachel Zoe, to revive the Halston label. . . . Zoe, an avid Halston collector, dissociated herself from the revival not long after she signed on (Sudler-Smith approached her about participating in the film around the time she was dismantling her contract, so she didn’t participate). The team was plagued with unstable management and halfhearted investors, who seemed to have good intentions but did not want to invest the necessary energy and resources to see them through. That revival fizzled not long after Sarah Jessica Parker practically sneaked out of her contract as creative director of the more affordable Halston Heritage line—which will endure without the pricier Halston line in her wake. (Halston hired Parker after shooting for Ultrasuede wrapped, but she lent her support by attending its Tribeca Film Festival premiere in 2010.) Now Halston Heritage is run by ex-BCBG president Ben Malka, and owned by him and Hilco Consumer Capital, which bought Weinstein and Parker’s contracts out. Though BCBG is a watered-down, mid-market mass label that can hardly be thought of as fashion-forward, it’s unclear what Malka will do with Halston.[35]

    A veritable gathering of the Elders of Zion, to fiddle and fuss over the corpse of an Aryan talent they coveted but now have no Earthly clue what to do with![36] Harvey Weinstein [aka Les Grossman of Tropic Thunder [7]] Rachel Zoe [née Rosenzweig [8]], Sara Jessica Parker,[37] and even apparently the Talmudic sage Ben Malka—a dead ringer for Jerry Orbach—who, to answer New York’s question, plans to run Halston the Brand as “an American fashion legacy [9].”

    “Legacy”; Zoe as a “avid Halston collector”; as with everything else, what White culture creates winds up in one of the famous international Judaic “collections.”[38] And get this:

    How ironic that Sudler-Smith’s stepdaddy [10], Arthur Altschul, was part of the corporate takeover phenomenon that crushed Halston and made a bad name for licensing. In fact, daddy’s company, Goldman Sachs, was pretty much the nexus of the takeover phenomenon: remember folks, it’s all about who can get the credit.[39]

    Getting back to the “optimistic” Futurists, it seems clear that the “pessimistic” Spengler foresaw Halston’s error.

    The fatal flaw in the Faustian and Futurist visions was that The West was not liberated from plutocracy and Western technics remains firmer than ever in the grasp of Money.

    Indeed, the recent “credit crisis” (i.e., the Greater Depression) only shows that Goldman Sachs is indeed even more the Master of the Universe than ever before.[40] We must wait until that changes before our culture will be “presided over by a new aristocracy of creators.”[41]

    Until then, what the global financiers want is not the “chaotic” world of competing cultures unified by their own styles under their various cultural elites, but one “world culture” unified as merely as interchangeable humanoids under the financiers’ rule.[42]

    As Evola said, discussing Spengler’s contrast of culture and “civilization” (meaning, among other things, rule by Burnham’s “managerial elite” and other financial types):

    If it is absurd to pursue our higher ideal in the context of a ‘Zivilisation’, [as Halston unknowingly did] because it would become twisted and almost inverted, [as Halston’s vision was subverted into what we have today] we can still recognise, in the overcoming of what has precisely the character of ‘Zivilisation’, the premise for every really reconstructive initiative.[43]

    Thus Halston’s end is tragic, because, like Faust, he was unable to overcome his fated environment.[44]

    But as several voice-overs tell us as the film fades out, there would not be this tragic end if the work hadn’t been good. And the work remains: still seen, still worn, still, as Rucci says, untouchable.[45]

    Smith seems incapable of learning to appreciate Halston through his interviews. At best, he winds up appreciating that Halston was not just the ultimate decadent of the ’70s of Smith’s teenage fantasies, but “had a lot of friends.” Sheesh.[46]

    Perhaps inevitably, Smith ends his movie with a credit sequence that layers a montage of Halston sketches over The Trampps “Disco Inferno.” It really kind of works, suggesting a kind of fashion Götterdämmerung for this most Aryan of fashionistas.[47]

    The real end of Halston was more subtle; after moving to San Francisco, he bought an 800k Rolls Royce and had himself driven through redwood forests in Northern California, a perfect image of archeofuturism.

    Ultrasuede is ultimately a failure, due to Smith’s vanity and ignorance (“Who’s Diana Vreeland?”). Despite himself, the story he tells has enough elements to suggest that Halston deserves a full-scale treatment of his role as an Aryan fashion entrepreneur. Smith, however, is just not the White Guy to do it.

    No matter; the Poet who will sing the tragic legend of Halston will someday appear:

    The Poet reminds us that we were not born yesterday. He restores the foundations of our identity, the paramount expression of an ethical and aesthetic inheritance that is “ours,” that he held in trust. And the principles that he brought to life in his models never cease to reappear to us, proof that the hidden thread of our tradition could not be broken.[48]

    Lotsa photos: http://fashionsmostwanted.blogspot.com/2010/10/house-of-halston.html [11]

    Trailer

     

    Notes

    1. Trevor Lynch shows the right approach reviewing [12] Jan Counen’s Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky he points out that “Stravinsky and Chanel . . . were both highly talented individuals in their own rights, but they also interest me because they combined avant-garde aesthetics with archaic, conservative, even reactionary tastes and convictions.”

    2. As Baron Evola says:

    “Tradition,” in the complete sense, is a feature of the periods which Vico would call “heroic ages”—where a sole formative force, with metaphysical roots, manifested itself in customs as well as in religion, in law, in myth, in artistic creations, in short in every particular domain of existence. Where can the survival of tradition in this sense be found today? And, specifically, as European tradition, great, unanimous, and not peasant or folkloric, tradition? It is only in the sense of the levelling “totalitarianism” that tendencies towards political-cultural absolute unity have appeared. In concrete terms, the “European tradition” as culture has nowadays as content only the private and more or less diverging interpretations of intellectuals and scholars in fashion . . . ”

    Julius Evola, “Spiritual And Structural Presuppositions of The European Union [13]” in Greg Johnson, ed. North American New Right,  Vol. 1 (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2012).

    3. It’s like Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern are Dead to Gatien’s Hamlet. If, as I will suggest, Gatien found himself in the role of Wotan, Michael Alig would be his Loki.

    4. Halston turns out to have had a . . . friend . . . who seems to have been the real-life inspiration for Baron’s Borat—it’s easy to imagine him in Borat’s yellow slingshot bikini—not that Sudler-Smith ever makes the point.

    5. Limelight is, after all, about a dance club entrepreneur, while Ultrasuede veers off, like its subject, into an infatuation with the Judaic-run Studio 54. Bizarrely, the latter film makes considerable use of Wild Cherry’s “Play that Funky Music, White Boy” but keeps cutting out the words “White boy” in the chorus (perhaps using a version, similarly cut, that was used for airplay in Boston [14]—banned in Boston?)—an interesting choice, given the Aryan themes we will find in Halston’s life and work.

    6. Not for nothing did the Federal Court system link together Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia into one district.

    7. And love Andre’s smooth reaction: “Can somebody get me another cappuccino, puh-leeze?”

    8. One wishes he would wind up interviewing Hannibal Lecter, so that the good Doctor could tell him that “Good nutrition’s given you some length of bone, but you’re not more than one generation from poor white trash, are you . . . ? And that accent you’ve tried so desperately to shed: pure West Virginia.”

    9. Though he does not “way over-southern it” as MST3K finds the actors in Squirm.

    10. For more on Billy see “Billy and Alexa Ray Joel [15]” by James Holbeyfield.

    11. To anticipate our proposal of the correct way to view Halston, Smith’s fixation on Studio 54 as the “key” to Halston reminds one of Pasolini’s Salo, where the last days of Mussolini’s Social Republic are recast as a reenactment of Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom. Of course, there is otherwise no similarity between the two auteurs.

    12. “Disco’s not dead; the return of Halston,” reviewing Ultrasuede in Interview magazine here [16].

    13. For information on Spengler and the Futurists I am indebted to Kerry Bolton’s “Faustianism and Futurism: Analogous Primary Elements in Two Doctrines on European Destiny” in Aristokratia (Manticore Press, 2013), pp. 82–114.

    14. Spengler, Decline of the West, vol. 1, p. 183.

    15. Sam Adams January 19, 2012 http://www.avclub.com/articles/ultrasuede-in-search-of-halston,67879/ [17]

    16. “Halston we hardly knew ye” http://www.thedaily.com/page/2012/01/20/012012-arts-movies-review-halston-1-3 [18]

    17. When the ultimate ownership of Halston’s empire was decided, the new owners sent security guards—centurians—to effect the return of every item of clothing Halston had ever given a model or celebrity.

    18. Bolton, pp. 84–86.

    19. Bolton, p. 89

    20. “Appear” because, as Bolton makes clear, neither Spengler nor the Futurists seems to have even heard of each other, much less been influenced. The same, of course, with them and Halston.

    21. Marinetti, “War: The Ultimate Hygiene,” quoted in Bolton, p. 90.

    22. Gwendolyn von Taunton, “Aristocratic Radicalism: The Political Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche,” in Aristokratia, pp. 11–49; quotes on pp. 28, 40, and 48.

    23. See his “Pessimism?” from 1921.

    24. As Greg Johnson writes:

    If the moral life is rooted in a plurality of different cultures and ways of life, this also implies the existence of real conflicts of interest. These conflicts can always become existentially serious: peoples can fight over them; men can kill and die over them; in short, there can be war. And the potential for war is the origin of the political in Schmitt’s sense.

    Greg Johnson, “Leo Strauss, the Conservative Revolution, and National Socialism,” Part 2.

    25. According to Wikipedia:

    Historically, the pillbox was also military headgear, often including a chin strap, and can still be seen on ceremonial occasions in some countries, especially former members of the Commonwealth. For example, the Royal Military College of Canada dress uniform includes a pillbox hat. A pillbox cap, also referred to as a kilmarnock, is a modern manufacture of the traditional headdress worn by members of virtually all Gurkha Regiments. During the late Roman Empire, the pillbox, then known as the pilleus or “Pannonian cap” was worn by Roman soldiers.

    —“Pillbox Hat [19].”

    26. Halston’s use of so-called “African-American” models had nothing to do with modern multi-culti notions or affirmative action. “I wanted the best girl I could get, the best girls in America.” That included Midwestern blondes as well, even from Detroit. Partly based on his pro-Americanism, which we’ll discuss soon, it is mostly due to his Aristocratic Radicalism, itself fully in line with American ideas of “natural aristocracy,” promoted by Jefferson and Emerson (one of Nietzsche’s favorite authors, by the way). See von Tounton, pp. 21ff. The model interviewed for the film, Pat Cleveland, like Andre Talley, clearly belongs to what W. E. B. Dubois would call “the talented tenth.”

    Spengler incurred the wrath of NS Germany when, in The Hour of Decision, he mocked biological notions of race and emphasized the far more important notion of “having race”: a mestizo like Hugo Chavez is a man of race, unlike a nominally White globalist; the former can be our ally, the latter is the enemy. Evola also contrasted “zoological” notions of race with his own ideas of physical, psychological and spiritual race, for which he too was declared persona non grata in NS Germany.

    Interestingly too, the contemporary work von Taunton relies most on for her discussion of Nietzsche’s Aristocratic Radicalism is The Challenge of Aristocratic Radicalism by N. A. Tobias, a black scholar at the University of Michigan. Also, Halston’s personal disinterest, contrary to the stereotype of “fashion designers,” is what enabled him to field a group of Halstonettes that was, despite the uniformity of dress, quite “diverse” for its time; it is the heterosexual, homophobic Judaic “porn” producers that have eventually created the truly uniform, plastic “bimbo” as a “model” for women.

    27. “The Runway Battle of Versailles ’73: A Story That Needed to be Told [20]” by Sharontina, The Runway Times, September 13, 2012. The author says the story of the event “is finally being told” which seems like a fitting response to Sudley-Smith’s earlier yet trivializing film.

    28. “Nietzsche’s primary task is to create a transition point which shifts the emphasis from the old regime towards a new and eminently more useful cultural stratification.”—Von Taunton, p. 15.

    29. “We are not given patterns to imitate”—Spengler, “Pessimism.”

    30. It appears to be the same grey as the furniture in the famous townhouse; when asked about it by a talk-show audience member, he says it “brings people out.” We’ll revisit that guest in a moment.

    31. The Halstonettes’ landing by yacht at the celebration of Halston’s contract to design Braniff’s uniforms and planes, with its conjunction of black uniforms, sea, and air recalls the quasi-Futurist and Italian air ace D’Annunzio’s pirate republic of Fiume, whose black naval uniforms—designed by D’Annunzio himself—were the clear inspiration for the famous SS uniforms, right down to the Death’s Head. See Hakim Bey’s “March on Fiume” here [21]. Fiume is one of the historical instantiations of Bey’s concept of “Temporary Autonomous Zones,” and is obviously related to the Nietzschean Geisterkrieg, just as is Peter Gatien’s club scene to be discussed in the next section.

    32. As Greg Johnson writes:

    The core of a culture is a set of ideals or norms. To participate in a culture is to feel that one is part of the culture and the culture is part of oneself. It is an experience of identity. It is also an experience of commitment to the culture’s ideals, the feeling that they are obligatory, that they demand that one change one’s life. This obligation is experienced as a kind of vitalizing tension between the ideal and the reality of one’s life, leading one to master one’s passions and mobilize one’s energies toward living up to the ideal. The moral life, in short, requires cultivation within a normative culture.

    —Greg Johnson, “Leo Strauss, the Conservative Revolution, and National Socialism [22],” Part 2.

    33. Bolton, p. 86, my emphasis.

    34. Did the Prince of the Air bring Halston to the heights of Olympic Towers in order to display the world before him, as in Matthew 4: 8–10?

    35. “From the Disco to JC Penney: The Enduring Tragedy of Halston [23],” Amy Odell, New York.

    36. As James Holbeyfield puts it: “These people, adapted to the white brain instead of to a piece of this beautiful earth, truly know the price of every continent and the value of none.” See his review of Werner Herzog’s Antarctic odyssey Encounters at the End of the World [24]here [25].

    37. Parker has been pushed for decades by the Judaic media as some kind of sex symbol—despite looking more equine than aquiline—or role model for modern “liberated” women—apparently, be like promiscuous gay men—as if they were Dolly Levi promoting an unpromising spinster. She makes an interesting contrast with Anjelica Huston, an actual Halston model we see in archival footage and interviews. Her equally . . . unusual features suggest a beauty that dwells on other planes than ours; superhuman rather than subhuman, elfin rather than bestial. Like Meg Foster, it would be possible to imagine a production of LOTR where she plays Galadriel, while Parker suggests nothing more otherworldly than a wicked witch or stepmother. Only Ed Wood, appropriately enough, would cast her as the Angel of Peace [26].

    38. And should any White group try to “loot” them, all must be tracked down and “restored” to them, even after almost a hundred years.

    39. A. Nolen on Ultrasuede, here [27].

    40. The Left has never understood how different at least some German bankers were in the ’30s, and even today talks about “bankers supporting Hitler” and comparing it to today’s so-called “corporate fascism.” As Bolton remarks, German bankers were “conscious of a national and cultural mission” unlike today’s globalists. See Bolton, p. 101.

    41. On a related note, one thing Spengler warned against was “noisy self-advertisement.” It is in this light that we should view Halston’s legendary hard-partying lifestyle, which Sudler-Smith seems to think reveals his essence. On the contrary, it was a fairly deliberate marketing strategy, creating an indelible connection in the public mind between fame, celebrity, and Halston’s clothes, which he would be very happy to sell you down at Penny’s. It also serves as a release from the immense tension felt most acutely by the creator type: “The gap between the ideal and the real is bridged by a longing of the soul for perfection. This longing is a tension, like the tension of the bowstring or the lyre, that makes human greatness possible” (Greg Johnson, “Postmodernism, Hedonism and Death,” here [28]; see also his remarks on the “vitalizing tension between the ideal and the reality of one’s life, leading one to master one’s passions and mobilize one’s energies toward living up to the ideal” in “Leo Strauss, the Conservative Revolution, and National Socialism,” Part 2, cited above). As we’ll see, Peter Gatien would try a better strategy, controlling his partying by limiting himself to occasional, secretive binges in locked hotel rooms, but would eventually be counseled to “be seen more” to create a more welcoming atmosphere; once again, the marketing strategy wins out, fatally.

    42. “When a culture is eviscerated of its defining worldview, all integrity, all unity of style is lost. Cultural integrity gives way to multiculturalism, which is merely a pretentious way of describing a shopping mall where artifacts are bought and sold, mixed and matched to satisfy emancipated consumer desires: a wax museum jumping to the pulse of commerce” (Greg Johnson, “Post Modernism, Hedonism and Death,” here [29] [my emphases]). See also Rene Guenon, “Unity versus Uniformity” in The Reign of Quantity.

    43. “Spiritual and Structural Presuppositions of the European Union.” In Greg Johnson, ed., North American New Right, volume 1 (San Francisco: Counter Currents, 2012).

    44. Ted Sallis writes: “We can project a future High Culture that is based on the ultimate and successful [eventual] achievement of what was previously considered to be “unattainable.” I would argue that the Christian foundation of the Faustian High Culture is responsible [for this inevitable failure of men becoming as Gods]. . . . The full development of Western Man has been restrained by an alien religion that has placed shackles on his mind and soul [Gatien will attempt to revive ancient pagan rites]”—Ted Sallis, “The Overman High Culture: the Future of the West,” here [30] and reprinted in North American New Right, vol. 1.

    45. See my review of de Palma’s The Untouchables for a discussion of the true, aristocratic meaning of “untouchable”” “‘God, I’m with a Heathen [31],’” reprinted in my The Homo and the Negro: Masculinist Meditations on Politics and Popular Culture, ed. Greg Johnson (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2012).

    46. Sudley-Smith doesn’t even have a clear idea of what friendship itself means; having heard Liza was at Halston’s funeral, he naively asks her what she sang; she coolly informs him that “it wasn’t about me.”

    47. James Hawes recent Excavating Kafka (London: Cuercus, 2008) suggests that even Kafka got the Weinstein treatment from Brod, Buber and company; both he and Halston might have been better off burning their sketches rather than leaving it for the vultures of Kazakhstan.

    48. Venner here [32].

     

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • From Ultrasuede to Limelight:Aryan Entrepreneurs in the Dark Age, Part 2: Peter Gatien
    (”The Untouchables” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    [1]3,761 words

    Part 2 of 2

    Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston [2] (2010) Director: Whitney Sudler-Smith

    Limelight [3] (2011) Director: Billy Corben 

    Party Monster [4] (2003) Directors: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato

    Peter Gatien: Twilight of the God of Nightlife

    “The scandal involved Crowley’s Abbey of Thelema in Sicily where he reportedly held Satanic type rituals of quite depraved character, and where shortly one of his acolytes died apparently from bad water.”—Kerry Bolton[1]

     While Ultrasuede presented us with the White Entrepreneur undone by the forces of Judaic Big Business, Limelight presents the parallel spectacle of the White Entrepreneur up against the forces of Judaic Big Law.

    Limelight, despite its name, is an altogether darker film. Halston’s bright, sunny ’70s are a thing of the past.[2]

    Peter Gatien, though born and raised in semi-rural Canada, presents an image of the Ultimate ’80s New Yorker—black clothes, black (at least back then) hair, and a unique touch, black eye-patch, the significance of which we’ll soon see. If we did not already know from the newspapers, we can sense Gatien is doomed, though unlike Halston, even now he lives—although, like the punishment Athens offered Socrates, it is a living exile.

    His world is not the bright world of Halston’s window-walled skyscrapers and runway shows. Gatien’s clubs are dark, literally tunnels and abandoned churches. Here though there is a kind of link, for while Halston at his peak looked down from Olympic Towers on St. Patrick’s Cathedral, here Gatien makes his greatest splash by taking over an abandoned Episcopal church, creating the legendary Limelight. While Halston set up an alternative home of the gods, from which he could look down on the Christian peasants, Gatien moved right in, reversing the historic trend of Christians taking over pagan temples and holy places (a favor returned by Islam). This would prove to be his greatest crime: defiling churches to provide spaces for kids to re-enact ancient Mystery rites of drugs, sex, music, and dance.[3]

    Being set almost a generation later also means that unlike Smith and his TV-derived image of Halston and “decadence,” I actually had some experience of my own to judge the portrayal of New York City club life in Limelight. Of course, my club life was very much among the anti- or rather simply non-Gatien circles, such as Jackie 60 and the other events held at the alternative club Mother, inspired more by Warhol’s Factory than Halston,[4] and at a time when Gatien’s clubs were, as documented here, already invested with the “bridge and tunnel” crowd that The Tunnel, despite its name, was never supposed to cater to.

    On the other hand, Giuliani’s attack on Gatien was known to be only the symbol of a widespread attack on nightlife in general, so when Jackie 60 took Gatien’s trial as one of its weekly themes I found myself there, attired in ironically worn “New York City Black” and with black eye-patch; that I was actually mistaken by more than a few people for Gatien himself that night was due more to bad lights and too many drugs, especially since I did not alter what was then a full head of blond hair.

    Of Gatien’s own clubs—there were eventually four, including of course Limelight—I remember only attending Limelight once, and then only when a friend was DJ-ing some Gothic night off in one of the many little ex-chapel spaces. For some reason, although the idea of setting it in a church seemed genius, it never really appealed to me in actuality; considering what happened to Michael Alig, and the people around him—the subject of Party Monster as well as some parts of Limelight—that’s probably all for the best.

    We shift, then, from Halston among the California redwoods to another Aryan region, the Great White North of Canada. Little Peter is playing the implicitly—or not so implicitly—White game of hockey, when a puck or a stick cost him an eye. The settlement money—it’s not clear who or what was the party at fault, but one suspects a school system or public arena—provides Gatien with the stake he needs to start his first club.

    Is it too much to find here the archetypal Aryan legend, Wotan trading his eye to the Well of All Knowing for its wisdom?[5] We will see.

    http://intermezzo.typepad.com/.a/6a00d834ff890853ef0115724e8d11970b-500wi [5]

    http://thefilmstage.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/gatien_limelight.jpg [6]

    Speaking of Wisdom, his first club, still in Canada, opened with an early incarnation of Rush, the Über-White rock band. Rush, of course, is an extremely, though implicitly, White band, and while its relatively literate lyrics are more associated with Neil Peart’s Objectivist interests, they actually operate on a deeper level as explorations of the drug-induced Mystery experience that Gatien’s clubs would latter provide on a more massive scale.[6]

    Like many Canadians, after making a little money, Gatien traded symbolic but hostile polar regions for the more effectively sunny realms, opening the first Limelight club in Florida, then another in Atlanta, which quickly became known as “the hottest club in the South.”

    But Gatien knew that you’re never on top of an industry until you succeed in New York. Here we see the most important of Gatien’s Aryan characteristics, his desire to excel in his chosen field, and the willingness to do whatever hard work it took to get there.

    “I figured I had paid enough dues to compete with Studio 54.”—Gatien

    “You need to be the best, you need to be innovative, you need to be the best in your industry.”—Gatien

    “I want to be the best at what I do.”—Gatien[7]

    “The only way to run not just one but 4 of the best clubs is to work 16 hour days, 6 day weeks.”—Gatien

    To compete with the post-Halston Studio 54, Gatien needed to be different. First, he’d play rock not disco. And he decided that “chrome and neon” had gone as far as it could be taken, so he made an archeofuturist move—“art and architecture” were the way to go—“If you could find me a church, he told his agents, that would be perfect.”

    Thus Gatien acquired the obsolete Church of the Holy Communion, a fitting setting for a club scene that would not only evoke the pre-modern pinnacle of White civilization, the era of the great cathedrals—yes, I know, it’s an Episcopal church from 1846, but good enough for an allusion, especially if you’re high already—but also, going even further, the drug-infused Mystery cults of the West and Tantric rites of the East.[8]

    AIDS, of course, put a damper on things for a few years, but by the ’90s nightlife, and Gatien, were on the rebound.

    But at this point, Nemesis appeared, in the form of two shady characters who approached Gatien with cunning plans for taking his clubs to the next level. I suggest we continue the mythological approach and designate them as Loki and Fafner.

    Loki was Michael Alig, who arrived in New York with the idea of “being the next Andy Warhol”—although, as pointed out to him at the time, Warhol was still alive. Despite having bankrupted every club he’s been associated with, Gatien decides to give him a dead, unfashionable night. Inexplicably, his “Disco 2000” party becomes a hit.[9]

    Fafner is one “Lord Michael,” described as a “wannabe gangsta” and, several times, a “Staten Island scumbag.” He epitomizes the shaved-headed Negro-worshiping “White” Youth of Today. Lord Michael’s night, “Future Shock”—anti-archeofuturism defined—introduced a new drug—Ecstasy—and a new crowd—unfashionable “bridge and tunnel” types from the “outer boroughs”—think, Saturday Night Fever—a mixture of “soccer rioters and ravers.” Everyone, someone notes with pleasure, “on the same level.”[10]

    Typically, this moment of Nemesis appears to be that of apotheosis; Wotan’s entry into Valhalla triggers what will eventually become Götterdämmerung. If I still seem to be hitting the Wotan theme too hard, consider how Gatien was portrayed at the time, from news reports—“A single cool, watchful eye looks over all. The eye of Peter Gatien, the Lord of Nightlife”—to rap songs: “Running New York’s night scene/with one eye closed like Peter Gatien.”

    And of course, it was the manic Alig who put him forward as the Face of Nightlife, insisting that he shouldn’t be “just this shadowy figure who would occasionally show up” but rather drag him out “to be seen to have fun!”

    Instead, Gatien ran smack dab into Rudolph Giuliani and his Neocon inspired program to “clean up” New York by focusing not on “real” crimes but on “quality of life” violations.[11]

    Here another mythological figure steps in: Alberich, in the person of one Sean Markham. Thrown out of Limelight for selling drugs, Markham will take his revenge by becoming a DEA informant, to prove Gatien . . . was selling drugs.

    The idea was to use New York’s “nuisance abatement” law; all Markham had to do was make a call, arrange a drug buy, and after two or more re-iterations, another Gatien club would be shut down as a public nuisance.[12]

    Various people, including even King Koch of the NeoCons, are quoted expressing puzzlement over the “Get Gatien at all costs” and “scorched Earth” tactics of the city, state, and ultimately Federal governments. This was “an irrational hatred” that went beyond Giuliani’s moral crusade. But the answer would require Koch to exert too much self-awareness of what drives the Neocon mentality.

    I suggest that Gatien was simply too White to be tolerated. His successful businesses, fueled by his perfectionism and hard work, his promotion, however unknowingly, of outlets for atavistic pagan rituals, and topping it all off, his mythological appearance, made him a target so tempting the Judaics lost all control in their lust to tear him down.[13] To quote Michael Alig: “When you have an eye-patch [as well as] a face it makes an even more attractive person to target . . . an evil, sinister, eye-patched figurehead.”[14]

    In August 1995, they got just what they needed: some kid, whose family knows the Governor of New Jersey, winds up dead after visiting a club. Somewhat lost in the excitement was the actual death certificate: suicide. And the method? Hanging, of course. What other method would be associated with an attempt to take down Wotan?

    And who do the Feds get to conduct the prosecution? From the people who brought you, not so much the Marx Brothers as the Three Stooges: Michele Adelman, Lisa Fleishman, and Eric Friedberg.[15]

    For those inclined to buy into the NeoCon’s “anti-crime” notions, assuming “there must be something to it,” consider the absurdity of the case: that Peter Gatien had personal control over everything happening at every moment in four separate nightclubs; or that anything happening in them was any different from what went on all over the New York streets.[16]

    In fact, of the hundreds of people Gatien employed over the years, not one, despite the considerable amount of force the Feds could apply, could be found as a witness.

    Instead, the Feds mounted a “rogues gallery of Staten Island scumbags” (there’s that slander, I’m sure, against Staten Island).

    There was Alig, in jail for murdering his dealer—Feds would take him out occasionally for “questioning” so he could buy drugs. There was Lord Michael, who, when questioned about the “suicide” of his “houseboy” broke down in tears and begged the jury to believe “I’m not a murderer!” And there was Markham, who was now also claiming to have been hired as an escort—by the male prosecutor.

    The case against Gatien seems to have been yet another example of the classic Judaic technique of Projection: the unbelievably corrupt Feds[17] fielded an array of drug dealers, perjurers, and murderers to convince a jury that Gatien was . . . a drug-dealing scumbag.[18] They refused to go along and delivered eleven not-guilty verdicts.

    In the end, Gatien was saved by his Aryan rectitude. As Alig says, Gatien was making money hand over fist, why would he risk it all for a few thousand more? “Peter was a businessman but he wasn’t extraordinarily greedy”—i.e., not a Judaic New York businessman, “counting his shekels.”

    Indeed, asked by his lawyer what he would do now, Gatien replied: “I’m going to church.” Meaning, of course, reopening his clubs and earning an honest living.

    But the government was not done with him yet. The Empire struck back, in the form of a State prosecution for sales tax fraud, pursued this time by another tribesman, one Morgenthau. Yet another Judaic inversion, this time of the Fed’s famous attempt to get Capone for Federal tax fraud.[19]

    “I thought they got their pound of flesh.”—Gatien[20]

    Gatien paid a fine for some technical violations and went about his business. But the government Shylocks had one more trick up their sleeves. Despite having given Gatien a “Certificate of Relief” after the failure to convict, two years later they decided to use their unsuccessful prosecution as itself evidence of fraudulent activity, and thereby deport the Canadian citizen as an undesirable alien.[21]

    Gatien notes with some well-earned irony that he left the USA with less money than he entered with 30 years before. But he actually took more back with him than that. The club scene has been dead since he left, and, as several voices in the film emphasize, nightlife is the matrix from which art and culture arise.[22] Not unlike Gatien’s Toronto when it was known, mockingly, as “Toronto the Good,” New York is now just a tourist trap and an international joke, presided over by its Judaic Mayor for Life, who has extended Giuliani’s no-nightlife crusade into every taxable and regulatable area of business and even personal life.

    Judging from viewer reactions on, for example, Amazon[23] or the Internet Movie Data Base,[24] the makers of Limelight have, unlike Sudley-Smith, managed to craft a film that gets their message across to, and accepted by, its audience. Gatien and even New York in the ’90s come over as stylish and sympathetic,[25] while Halston and the ’70s seem to remain just a vaguely creepy childhood obsession of Smith’s.

    Even so, while the film, being an accurate record, necessarily contains the Aryan themes we’ve been highlighting, it seems unaware of them. Halston clearly still needs a film documentary,[26] while it would be fascinating to see what someone like Ken Russell, or one of the great Germans, like Lang or Harlan, could have done with Gatien. (Or Harlan on Halston?)

    In fact, what the whole film industry, as well as our culture in general, needs is a wholesale return to White standards.[27] Only then could justice be done to the lives of Halston and Gatien.

    Notes

    1. Bolton, “Political Aspects of Crowley’s Thelema,” p. 237.

    2. “Everything was just sunny and perfect then”—MST3k on the opening scenes of The Starfighters, an early ’60s Air Force epic starring future Congressman Bob Dornan.

    3. See Michael Hoffman’s “Loftiness of Rock: The Authentic Popular Mystery-Religion of the Late 20th Century” at his site, egodeath.com. The former “Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion” was indeed an appropriate site.

    4. See my “Fashion Tips for the Far-from-Fabulous Right” in The Homo and the Negro.

    5. Kris Kershaw, The One-eyed God: Odin and the (Indo-)Germanic Männerbünde (Washington, D.C.: Institute for the Study of Man, 2000). If configuring Gatien as Wotan due to his eye patch seems a stretch, several people in the documentary explicitly point out how the eye patch functioned to make him the perfect tabloid victim.

    6. See Hoffman again, “Rush Lyrics Alluding to Mystic Dissociative Phenomena,” here [7].

    7. The Aryan code, right from the beginning: “Homer does not conceptualize, as philosophers later did. He makes visible; he shows living examples, teaching the qualities that make a man a ‘kalos k’agathos,’ noble and accomplished. ‘Always be the best,’ Peleus told his son Achilles, ‘better than the rest’ (Iliad, VI, 208).” See Dominique Venner, “Homer: The European Bible,” trans. Greg Johnson, here [8] and reprinted in North American New Right, vol. 1, ed. Greg Johnson (San Francisco: Counter Currents, 2012).

    8. “It was pagan Rome with acid.” Although at this time the drug of choice was the white powder known as cocaine—Gatien’s security director points out that in New York, until then, “we were traditionalists—just heroin and cocaine”—eventually, “ecstasy punch” would be “handed out from the DJ booth like communion wine,” an allusion to the “mixed wine” used not only in Greek mystery cults and Christian “love feasts” but even socially, as in Plato’s Symposium. See Hoffman’s “Wine and Sacred Meals [9].” Nightlife at that time, the mid-’80s, “had no rules”—unlike today, of course, when everything from smoking to “sugary drinks” is banned—and was essentially “a secret society.”

    9. James St. James, who I like to think of as my Doppelgänger in Gatien’s world, sneers in Party Monster that “Somehow, his dopey language [dividing the world into Skrinks and Scrots, a crude and arbitrary attempt to emulate a true hierarchy] caught on, like his stupid parties. . . . Suddenly, the hateful little twerp was the king of the club kids.” Alig is the Anti-Gatien; while Gatien is praised for the essential ability to “know what makes a party good or bad,” the credits to Party Monster as set to what might well be Alig’s credo: “Everything bad is good.”

    10. The “democracy” of the mystery cults is often misunderstood, perhaps deliberately. While theoretically open to all, regardless of social station or caste, initiation itself had its own qualifications. While Gatien originally envisioned Limelight as having “10% of everybody” in the crowd, this is altogether different from the almost “open door” policy of raves and other examples of a more Christian, slave-morality inspired “promiscuity” as Evola calls it in discussing the decline of Rome. In a more specifically initiatory context, he discusses the famous “paradox” than an initiated murderer would gain immortality, while an ordinary good citizen would wind up in Hades or worse; see Julius Evola and the Ur Group, Introduction to Magic: Rituals and Practical Techniques for the Magus, trans. Guido Stucco, ed. Michael Moynihan (Rochester, Vt.: Inner Traditions, 2001), pp. 182–83, where he notes that in the unqualified subject, “the power of initiation would either fail to take hold or could act in a negative, distorted or even destructive manner on the subject.” This is essentially what happened in Gatien’s clubs with the introduction of “E.” As one of the interview subjects says, this is always what happens—Woodstock becomes Altamont.

    11. Gatien notes that, ironically, he had contributed to Giuliani’s re-election campaign. While the Left generally understands that “quality of life” issues are “implicitly White,” Gatien didn’t realize that only certain Whites have immunity—namely, ones like Mike Bloomberg and his rich pals. Contrary to the Left’s fantasies of “white skin privilege,” the NeoCon plan is to create multi-culti hellholes of violence, which Judaics will “need” to be called in to run, less due to their high IQs than to their reputation as the classic social “middlemen” (White but not rednecks). People like Gatien will be targeted as a “problem” to be “solved”; later, we’ll see how the champions of “open borders” moved Heaven and Earth to deport . . . Peter Gatien.

    12. The FBI uses a similar technique to manufacture “terrorists”; interestingly, Bradley would later be accused of trying to sell information to the London police on the 7/7 bombing. At his most disgusting, he invokes “the Nuremberg defense”: he was just doing his job. As if his sleazy little action had anything to do with the greatness of the European Revolution of 1933!

    13. Gatien’s attorney notes that one day he saw a big picture of Gatien in the office of one of the prosecutors—a woman—and told her “This is not healthy. Get a life.”

    14. So much for “people want to see you having fun.” Thanks, Mike.

    15. “I was beginning to wonder if there was an Anglo-Saxon name left in the Department . . .” (William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch [London: Flamingo, 1993], p. 171]).

    16. Gatien notes wryly that although prisoners are “strip searched nine times a day,” he saw more drug sales in his overnight stay in jail then in his entire nightlife career.

    17. One example from many: DEA agents would take Alig out of jail, ostensibly for “questioning,” so he could buy drugs, which he would take in the back seat of their car.

    18. As if he was holed up in his office “counting his shekels” as Alig puts it. As the Polish proverb says, “The Jew cries when he hits you.”

    19. See my study of reversals and other Shamanic tropes in de Palma’s The Untouchables here [10], reprinted in The Homo and the Negro.

    20. At least, did prosecutor Lisa Fleishman (i.e., “butcher”)?

    21. This from a government that still welcomes Mexican scumbags, drug dealers, and killers, with open arms, and even provides them with free weapons (“Operation Fast and Furious”). Speaking of disgusting hypocrisy, Gatien’s most recent, yet again denied, petition for a pardon was denied by New York’s Gov. David Paterson, an adulterous, drug-using Negro, who is also, interestingly enough, legally blind in both eyes. Now there’s an upright citizen!

    22. The Classical World was awash in hallucinogenic drugs and other, more authentic kinds of “ecstasy”; see Hoffman, as well as D. C. A. Hillman’s The Chemical Muse (New York: St. Martins, 1988).

    23. For example, “Here was a man who fulfilled the American dream. Peter Gatien was an immigrant from Canada who came here, worked 16 hour days, and duly became rich and famous. . . . He’s back in Canada now, and I can’t blame him if he never sets foot in the US again. The government hated this fellow and would not accept anything less than his destruction. The film—and what I’ve read about him in the days since I saw it—leaves me convinced of his innocence. . . . The last thing we need is a huge state apparatus that can be used against us based on the personal likes and dislikes of a few functionaries. If this doesn’t sell you on libertarianism, nothing will.”

    24. For example, “It is patently clear that Mr. Gatien was served up as a sacrificial lamb to those in state and federal politics at the time. . . . Whatta disgrace. . . . I’m disgusted.”

    25. In the film’s new interviews, Gatien has abandoned the cursed eye-patch for dark glasses; in looks and sound, he now seems to be channeling Anthony Bourdain, ex-junkie, “celebrity” chef and reputed scumbag, apparently a more sympathetic look for New Yorkers today. Although Dylan McDermott does a fine job portraying him in Party Monster, it’s a shame James Woods wasn’t cast; he’s a dead ringer, and his work in Videodrome would give an interesting edge to the Canadian dealing with altered states theme.

    26. The book industry hasn’t done much better; Halston is the subject of a couple of coffee-table photo books—one an oddly small size—and a tabloidesque biography.

    27. See Trevor Lynch’s White Nationalist Guide to the Movies, ed. Greg Johnson (San Francisco: Counter Currents, 2012), and especially Kevin MacDonald’s “Foreword [11],” for an idea of what’s needed.

     

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Phil & Will:Awakening Through Repetition in Groundhog Day,Point of Terror, & Manhunter, Part 2
    (”The Untouchables” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    manhunter-1986

    [1]5,774 words

    Part 2 of 2 (Part 1 here [2])

    Manhunter [3] (1986); 119 minutes. Director: Michael Mann; Writers: Thomas Harris (novel), Michael Mann (screenplay); Stars: William Peterson, Kim Greist, Joan Allen, Brian Cox, Dennis Farina, Tom Noonan, Chris Elliot

    Groundhog Day [4] (1993); 101 minutes. Director: Harold Ramis; Writers: Danny Rubin (screenplay), Harold Ramis (screenplay); Stars: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott, Stephen Tobolowsky 

    We’ve been using a variation on what Baron Evola called The Traditional Method, in which various historical traditions, each more or less incomplete, are held up against each other to provide a mutual critique of each one’s imperfections, and suggest the presence of the higher truth each imperfectly embodies.[1]

    Point of Terror, despite its somewhat endearing sleaziness, critiques Groundhog Day’s premise, and suggests the more Traditional notion that one’s character is a given, perhaps selected pre-natally but subject to very little variation in life, no matter how many repetitions one is given; in fact, the more likely result of endlessly repeating one’s life would be a kind of living Hell rather than resolution, reform, and living happily ever after.[2]

    Or perhaps, madness. The film Manhunter suggests that an unlikable jerk-ass in Phil’s situation is far more likely to develop into a serial killer than a saint, secular or otherwise.

    Constant Readers will not be surprised when I disclose that I am a Big Fan [5] of Manhunter, Michael Mann’s post-Miami Vice pastel-and-neon take on Thomas Harris’s Red Dragon.[3] Yes, we have here another Neglected White Masterpiece; perhaps one may suggest, neglected precisely because it’s a White Masterpiece? Despite all the “controversy” over the casting, the photography, and the music, if you listen closely, you can tell it’s hated because it’s so White.

    It is indeed a very White film, meaning that, like America of old, it is an unself-consciously, taken for granted White world. Will Graham, the retired FBI profiler (or “manhunter” as the tabloids dub him) is called back — having retired after first entering the mind of, and then being gutted with a linoleum knife by Hannibal Lecktor –to find the killer of two large, well-off White families in the New South (Birmingham and Atlanta, no less). His task is to save the next family — as so often in fiction, the psycho has provided a handy timetable for the authorities.[4]

    Graham’s mission is to save White families; he’s well-suited for the role, since he has one of his own — his very ’80s rail-thin and frizzy-haired wife (Kim Greist) and his very blond son.

    Jack Crawford: Oh, for Christ’s sake, it’s a foregone conclusion! It’s 11:30 P.M., the full moon is happening tonight. Give it up. Forget this month. It’s too damn late.

    Will Graham: I gave it up! Till you showed up with pictures of two dead families, knowing God damn well that I’d imagine families three, four, five and six. Right?

    Jack Crawford: You’re fucking right I did! And I’d do it again!

    Will Graham: Great! But don’t talk to me about late, pal! I’ll tell you when it’s too fucking late! Until then, we go as late as I wanna take it!

    It’s such a White film that even the bad guys are White: Hannibal Lecktor and Francis Dollarhyde.[5] Lecktor, whom Brian Cox plays very differently than Anthony Hopkins did, still seems to be vaguely British, and obviously likes to read; two very suspicious traits.[6]

    Doctor Hannibal Lecktor: But you haven’t threatened to take away my books yet!

    Dollarhyde’s Otherness is more intriguing. Played by Tom Noonan, he’s very White, nearly an albino, identified by a blond hair on his note to Lecktor and as a Caucasian on van permit at work. Yet his more striking characteristics seem to suggest a Negro villain. When we first meet him, he jumps up and towers over a White female co-worker; his absurd height, chrome dome, gangly limbs and powerful build suggest an NBA thug.[7] His obsession with sight, his outsized vampire dentures, and his disfigured lip all suggest stereotypical Negro features that set them apart from Whites — eyes, teeth, lips. Even the blind Reba knows there’s something different about him, and when she tries to compliment him on it, she sounds like Joe Biden complimenting Barack Obama:

    Reba: You know, you speak very well, although you avoid fricatives and sibilants.[8]

    Of course, another stereotype would require a serial killer to be White anyway (all those African massacres don’t count, I suppose) but Dollarhyde’s preferred method is nothing other than the White suburbanite’s great fear: home invasion.

    But then, it’s all the same in the dark:

    Doctor Hannibal Lecktor: Have you ever seen blood in the moonlight, Will? It appears quite black.

    It’s always great to find a film that, even in the ’80s, takes place in an implicit Whitopia. Things will be perfect again as soon as that pesky Tooth Fairy is taken out. As far as I can tell, there are only two Negro characters. One, who appears so briefly that I only noticed him on my most recent re-viewing, is a jogger that is mistaken for Dollarhyde when he runs into the trap Graham set for the Tooth Fairy.

    The Runner: [to the cops] What you movin’ in slow motion for, man? I’m being mugged.

    It’s played as comic relief; today, he’d be screaming “racial profiling” (Graham is a profiler, after all, but serial killers are White, so that’s OK) and the whole film would be about his struggle for justice.

    The other is some kind of police officer near the end, essentially a servant, whose job is just to relay information to the White Men in the plane overhead; significantly, neither he nor any other cop plays a role in capturing Dollarhyde, only Graham himself.[9]

    Anyway, I’m suggesting that our two bad guys, Lecktor and Dollarhyde, are examples of what Phil would likely become if someone like him were to find themselves in an endless loop.

    According to TV Tropes,

    No Endor Holocaust [6]: The movie glosses over two things. . . . 2: Given the suggested timespan there must have been days when he did incredibly cruel things to relieve his frustration, but those days aren’t shown. . . .   Ramis and his co-writer Danny Rubin have said they deliberately avoided one of the logical extremes that Phil could have done: create despair and kill people with no consequence. They decided to avoid the sadistic possibilities of the time loop. Presumably, the fact that even at his worst Phil has enough of a moral compass to avoid murder and overt sadism is one of the things that helps him on the road to redemption.

    If it sounds strange to think of Phil as Lecktor, that’s like because you’re thinking of Hopkins’ Count Dracula. As someone once said online, Cox’s Lecktor is the sort of ordinary guy who might sit down next to you on the bus, or the DMV, and engage you in a casual conversation that suddenly finds you in his basement, hogtied.

    [7]Cox’s most Murray-moment comes at the end of the scene where he makes a late night call to convince a temp to give him Graham’s home address — today’s hackers would call this “social engineering.” The look on his face, literally tongue in cheek, as he chews the gum whose foil wrapper enabled him to re-direct the call supposedly to his attorney, is pure Bill Murray, and miles away from Hopkins feasting on rare lamb chops.

    [8]And I’m glad to see that image has been chosen for the recent “Brian Cox-fest.”

    Both Phil and Lecktor are smug jackasses, who seem to have some kind of unearned omniscience. Lecktor, like Sherlock Holmes — or Dr. House — is supposedly so damn intelligent they can “deduce” just what you’re thinking or about to do. Although Phil was already a condescending jerk, we know that his thousands of repetitions of the same day have given him omniscience the easy — or perhaps the hard — way. In fact, if Groundhog Day had been filmed as originally planned, Phil would have appeared at first without back-story, leaving us to wonder how he was able to know everything that was going to happen.

    It’s Lecktor who will, unwillingly, provide Will — get it? — with the essential clue he’ll need to find  Dollarhyde. Will, as a profiler, is able to enter the mind of the likes of Lecktor or Dollarhyde, making him another Double of both. As such, we can see him as a Good Phil, while Lektor wants him to become a Bad Phil like Dollarhyde. To do so, he gives him the same counsel about the exchangeability of character we’ve already emphasized — as usual in movies, it’s the psychopaths who speak for Tradition:

    Will Graham: I’m sick of you, Lecktor. If you’ve got something to say, say it!

    Doctor Hannibal Lecktor: l want to help you, Will. You’d be more comfortable if you relaxed with yourself! We don’t invent our natures, they’re issued to us with our lungs and pancreas and everything else. Why fight it?

    Will Graham: Fight what?

    Doctor Hannibal Lecktor: Did you really feel depressed after you shot Mr. Garrett Jacob Hobbes to death? I think you probably did. But it wasn’t the act that got to you. Didn’t you feel so bad, because killing him felt so good? And why shouldn’t it feel good? It must feel good to God. He does it all the time. God’s terrific! He dropped a church roof on 34 of his worshippers in Texas last Wednesday night, just as they were groveling through a hymn to his majesty. Don’t you think that felt good?

    Will Graham: Why does it feel good, Dr. Lecktor?

    Doctor Hannibal Lecktor: It feels good because God has power. If one does what God does enough times, one will become as God is. God’s a champ. He always stays ahead. He got 140 Filipinos in one plane crash last year. Remember that earthquake in Italy last spring?

    Groundhog Day presents us with Good Phil, who after some initial shenanigans gets with the program as outlined by Rita (as we noted in Part One, the Sanskrit notion of rule or order) and worked to become a better person. Being a comedy, the screenwriters know they can only go so far; Phil can attempt to harm himself, but not others.

    Tasked with producing a “thriller,” Harris and Mann have a freer hand, and we can see the whole dialectic played out. Lektor is a Satanic figure who tempts Will into accepting his murderous impulses (which enable him to “profile” actual serial killers) and become as God is; Dollarhyde has already accepted this Faustian bargain.[10]

    Lecktor’s coded message, “inherit my mantle and surpass my achievements” is directed at Will as much as Dollarhyde. But Lecktor is a false Guru, who would trap Graham in the endless repetition of Samsara; the climax shows us Graham somehow summoning up the Will to resist, disrupting rather than joining the Tooth Fairy’s fantasy world.[11]

    Will Graham: I’m sick of you crazy sons of bitches, Lecktor

    While Phil/Murray looks even less like Dollarhyde than Lecktor, we’ll see that he has even more in common. Graham has previously imagined his way into Dollarhyde’s mind and intuited the reason for his crimes —

    Will Graham: You . . . rearrange the dead families into an audience. You think what you do makes you into something different. You’re becoming . . . What is it you’re becoming? The answer is in the way you use the mirrors. What do the mirrors make you dream?

    The parallel with TV weatherman Phil, whose automatic, couldn’t care less greeting is “Thanks for watching” should be clear.

    Graham is then able to “put it together” (using a clue his “sick of you” outburst goaded Lecktor into giving him):

    Will Graham: He dreams about being wanted and desired. So he changes people into beings who want and desire him.

    Jack Crawford: Changes?

    Will Graham: It’s a word. Killing and arranging the people to imitate it. And Lecktor told me something: “If one does what God does enough times, one will become as God is.” You put it together, you get: If our boy imitates being wanted and desired enough times, he believes he will become one who is wanted and desired and accepted. It’ll all come true.

    I think this is clearly what Bad Phil would be doing, especially after a couple hundred or so repetitions; not change himself, but change other people. And if that seems too dark, remember, no one “really” dies, since the day repeats; Phil can’t even kill himself.

    Phil: I have been stabbed, shot, poisoned, frozen, hung, electrocuted, and burned.

    Rita: Oh, really?

    Phil: . . . and every morning I wake up without a scratch on me, not a dent in the fender . . . I am an immortal.

    Indeed, Phil has become as God is.

    But finally, how does he select his victims?

    Will Graham: Jack, all the women have a bloom on them. He didn’t win them in a lottery — he picked these women! There’s selection and design in his choices.

    As Graham obsessively replays the tapes made of families’ home movies[12] he suddenly intuits that the killer has already done the same thing:

    Will Graham: But he doesn’t take anything. He needs souvenirs from the houses, so he can relive the event. So he can see himself accepted over and over and over again.

    Crawford: Maybe he records it somehow. VTR’s, Polaroids, stills, what? — How do I know?

    Graham: And you know you need a bolt-cutter and every other Goddamn thing. Because everything with you is seeing, isn’t it? Your primary sensory intake that makes your dream live is seeing. Reflections. Mirrors. Images. . . . You’ve seen these films! Haven’t you, my man?

    Both families’ films were developed at the same lab, leading the FBI to  Dollarhyde.[13]

    In effect, Phil is in the same situation. Just as the repetitions allow him to develop Lecktor’s level of omniscience, so they serve the same function as Dollarhyde’s viewing the films and planning his invasions. The parallel, as Holmes would say, is exact.[14]

    The Phil/Rita and Dollarhyde/Reba doppling is most apparent in two scenes, or rather, two particular shots.

    [9]In Manhunter, Dollarhyde, who works in a photo processing plant and has just killed two entire families so as to get them to look at him, meets Reba, a blind woman who, unrepulsed by his unseen harelip, not only finds him “a sweet, thoughtful man” but initiates a night of lovemaking. In the morning, we have a shot from the ceiling, showing the two in bed, Reba asleep. As the camera glides lower, Dollarhyde places her hand over his mouth (hiding the harelip) and, in a remarkable bit of acting by Tom Noonan, we seem to see his entire face collapse into a kind of corpse or skull, as the realization sinks in that he has found redemption, but it is too late, his stupid “posing the victims” idea has doomed him already.[15]

    Will Graham: This started from an abused kid, a battered infant . . . My heart bleeds for him, as a child. . . . At the same time, as an adult, he’s irredeemable. He butchers whole families to pursue trivial fantasies. As an adult, someone should blow the sick fuck out of his socks.

    There’s a remarkably similar shot in Groundhog Day, looking down on Phil as he wakes up yet again on February 2nd, and apparently hit’s the rock bottom of his despair.

    [10]

    But Phil, as we know, hasn’t murdered anyone, and Rita is still available. Phil breaks the cycle by changing himself — he stops obsessing with being seen (“Thanks for watching!”) and instead listens to Rita.[16] In the end, the Dollaryhyde/Reba shot is repeated, but as a happy ending.

    [11]Will, like Good Phil, resists Lecktor’s fatalism and chooses — wills — to save the families, not kill them — or at least not let them be killed.[17] He makes that decision in a very blunt way, at the very climax of the film, when, having reached Dollarhyde’s house, he sees him about to kill Reba. Here’s Mann’s original script [12]:

    GRAHAM (whispers in radio) It’s happening again, Jack . . .

    CUT TO:

    INT. DOLLARHYDE’S KITCHEN – DOLLARHYDE + REBA – NIGHT

    On the right we see Dollarhyde’s right arm with the aluminum shafts . . . Beyond them, THROUGH THE WINDOW we see Graham has stepped out from the tree line. He stands on the grass. He looks helpless. His gun hangs idly at his side.

    CLOSE: GRAHAM

    It’s his worst nightmare. About what he’s seeing:

    GRAHAM(low) … stop it.

    INT. DOLLARHME’S KITCHEN – DOLLARHYDE + BEYOND HIM 007 THE WINDOW: GRAHAM

    We and Graham see Dollarhyde’s arm arc back for an uppercutting thrust into Reba. Dollarhyde’s left hand clutching her dress, raises her two feet up the wall. And now Graham starts running forward. And his face is distorted and he’s shouting:

    GRAHAM (roars) STOP IT!!!

    Dollarhyde turns to the window in time to see:

    128.

    WINDOW + GRAHAM

    — his arms across his face and his body angled sideways

    — CRASHES through the glass.

    We see Graham with his arms hanging, helpless, in the open countryside, watching it “happen again” through the window of a rather Modernist house. Somehow, he musters the will to shout “Stop it,” run forward, and then crash through the window that separates him from Dollarhyde and Reba.

    At this point, I have to stop and go back to what I mentioned in a note earlier about the “controversy” over the music in the film. As Constant Readers will intuit, I just love the music, which is implicitly White, and those who profess to hate it are, to the extent that they have real opinions and are not just mouthing received wisdom, objectively anti-White.

    Anyway, a few minutes ago in the film, as Dollarhyde begins to stalk the blind Reba in his house, the music changed abruptly; like Mia in Pulp Fiction, Dollarhyde has punched a button on his ultra-modern sound system and cued up a golden oldie: Iron Butterfly’s “In-na-gadda-da-Vida.” Even most critics of the soundtrack will admit that choreographing the final showdown to that song is a crowning moment of awesome.

    Now, several subtle things are going on here. Up till now, the music has been “diagetic” as the professors say; it relates not to the world on screen but to the character’s inner worlds, and suggests to the viewers the feelings they themselves should have.[18] (In the same way, the much maligned “unnatural” Miami Vice palette throughout gives subtle cues to the viewer.[19]). And being White people of the ’80s, that music is White ’80s music.

    Blue good, Green bad

    [13]Thus, the music is telling us that we are not just in Dollarhyde’s house, which exists in our world, but in his head, as it were. Just as Dollarhyde is a creature of the past, what “They” have made of him, constantly reliving the past, so his mental space is revealed to us by the way he, like some demonic Boomer, is still listening to the music of the past.[20]

    Jack Crawford: You feel sorry for him.

    Will Graham: This started from an abused kid, a battered infant . . . My heart bleeds for him, as a child. Someone took a kid and manufactured a monster. At the same time, as an adult, he’s irredeemable. He butchers whole families to pursue trivial fantasies. As an adult, someone should blow the sick fuck out of his socks. Does that sound like a contradiction to you, Jack? Does this kind of thinking make you uncomfortable?

    Of course, the music is shortened a bit, but more than that, it’s been extensively “remixed” as the kids say. Even at full length, it makes no sense in narrative time — Graham couldn’t possibly have flown from Atlanta to St. Louis, and driven out to Dollarhyde’s house, within one LP side, unless Dollarhyde had it on a loop, and just chased Reba around for the sadistic fun of it.

    [14]In addition to the time-distortions in the music, Mann filmed the climax with several cameras running at various speeds, “giving the final scene . . . an “off tempo,” “staccato” feel.”[21] Not only are Dollarhyde’s motions choreographed to the music,[22] but the herky-jerky motions, particularly at his death scene, suggest exactly the totally-determined, puppet on a string.

    The roles are reversed; now it is Dollarhyde whose weapon hangs from his limp arm.[23]

    Just as post-Traditional Western music has depended almost entirely on the simple use of modulation to build tension and then release it with the return to the home key, so George A. Martin (not, presumably, the Beatle’s producer) created a version of the Iron Butterfly jam which “build[s] tension towards the long-delayed return of the tonic bass riff, the exact moment when Graham literally bursts through the glass wall . . . into the red dragon’s metadiegetic realm.”[24]

    Graham, in other words, is outside Dollarhyde’s world of repetition; he can crash through the glass wall, like the Gnostic’s Alien God, and stop it. Dollarhyde, however, has become hopelessly entrapped in it; even Reba can‘t help.

    Presumably, Graham’s agonizing glimpses into Lecktor’s mind, coupled with Lecktor’s knife attack, has acted as a kind of initiation, which, as in the Traditional doctrine, is the only real way to “change” oneself — precisely by transcending this world and obtaining a new character, a new will — a new Will, a New Man.[25]

    Manhunter uses a somewhat clunky metaphor for Will’s supervening instinct to protect rather than destroy — before leaving his family, he builds a wire enclosure to protect newborn turtles; when he re-unites with them, he checks on the turtles, finds them doing fine, and mutters “most of them made it.” When Thomas Harris came to write the sequel, of course, he seems to have decided that lambs would make for a more snuggly symbol. But Groundhog Day finds a more amusing way to subvert the image. Phil seems to conflate the eponymous groundhog with both the Tooth Fairy and the cycle of repetition he, and Phil, are trapped in, and as he becomes “better” he tries to save the town — and himself — from the demonic groundhog:

    Phil: This is pitiful. A thousand people freezing their butts off waiting to worship a rat. (raising his voice) What a hype. Groundhog Day used to mean something in this town. They used to pull the hog out, and they used to eat it. (turns to the crowd) You’re hypocrites, all of you!

    A few cycles later, using Will’s exact words . . .

    Phil: Once again the eyes of the nation have turned here to this . . . (silly voice) tiny village in Western Pennsylvania, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah . . . (serious) There is no way . . . that this winter . . . is ever going to end, as long as this groundhog keeps seeing his shadow. I don’t see any other way out. He’s gotta be stopped. (beat) And I have to stop him.

    Will kills Dollarhyde to stop him, and save the families/turtles/lambs; Phil tries to kill the symbolic animal itself to end the cycle.

    Lecktor has been thwarted, his gospel of defeatism defeated[26] by a man of True Will, like the Green Lantern.[27] Or has he? The Gods of Repetition have a little surprise for us at the very end of Groundhog Day. TV’s Phil would be nothing without his . . . cameraman.

    People just don’t understand what is involved in this. This is an art form. You know, I think most people just think that I hold the camera and point it at stuff. There is a lot more to it than just that. Would you be at all interested in seeing the inside of the van?

    [15]He seems familiar. Where have we heard that unctuous tone?

    Lecktor: Would you like to leave me your home phone number?

    Wait a second — that’s Chris Elliot. Say, wasn’t he in . . . Manhunter?

    There’s no real reason for me to be in that movie other than the fact that it was, like, the height of my appearances on Letterman. . . . I was cast through a casting agent who’d seen some article on me, and had told Michael Mann, “Oh yeah, it would be cool to have him in this movie,” I guess. So I knew right from the start, “Oh, I really shouldn’t be in this.” In Manhunter, I was supposed to be an FBI forensic investigator. And I don’t know, I was 23 or 24 at the time, with a giant beard and long, stringy blonde hair—I just didn’t look the part.

    I remember when the movie premièred, I appear in the scene where everybody’s putting together the final information that leads to this killer, and the camera panned the table and cut to me, and there was this big blast of laughter from the audience that broke the whole tension of that scene. I can only imagine that Michael Mann was not happy about that.[28]

    Forensic investigator, giant beard, long stringy blonde hair, camera man, van. . . . Perhaps he was the one who wrote the FBI’s phony personal ad from Lecktor to the Tooth Fairy:

    Inherit my mantle and surpass my achievements.

    Notes

    1. See Mysteries of the Grail, pp. 9-10.

    2. See our “Thanks for Watching: Awakening Through Repetition in Groundhog Day, Point of Terror, & Manhunter, Part 1,” here [2].

    3. Hollywood legend has it that producer Dino De Laurentis demanded the name change since he was superstitious about ‘dragons’ after the failure of Michael Cimino’s Year of the Dragon. The failure of the latter was due less to its title than to the critical backlash against Cimino for his studio-killing mega-bomb Heaven’s Gate [16], as well as the race-realism of the movie itself, which was of course denounced as “Asian stereotyping.” Heaven’s Gate, on the other hand, is an absurd Leftist fantasy of noble Slavic immigrants to Wyoming (?) being mass-murdered by evil cattle barons (White, ’natch) that bears no resemble to any part of Earth’s known history; see Steve Sailer’s discussion here [17].

    4. Thus, an instance of the trope known as You Have 48 Hours [18]: “Since the Tooth Fairy “operates on a lunar cycle,” the FBI has until the next full moon to catch him before he kills again. They start out with two weeks, but end up taking it right down to the last minute before the killer claims another victim.” Of course, this parallels Phil’s repetition day.

    5. Ironically, Mann himself seems to be of Judaic extraction, with a pronounced negrophilic streak, leading him to produce vehicles for the likes of Jamie Foxx and Will Smith, including a Muhammad Ali bio-pic, the cockroach-superhero and miscegenation epic Hancock, NFL-worshiping Nike commercials, and even an ethnic-OK update of his own Miami Vice. It is speculated online that loyal tribesman Mann changed the spelling of “Lechter” and “Dolarhyde” because they were “too Jewish”; if so, that would make the Red Dragon re-make, by restoring both, more “ethnically insensitive.”

    6. The online controversy over Manhunter vs. Silence of the Lambs, or more recently the Red Dragon re-make, has two particularly stupid aspects. First, Cox vs. Hopkins. I’ll discuss Cox in a bit, but comparing the two is pointless because each takes place in very different films, and are played accordingly; you couldn’t switch them out without producing a jarring discontinuity. Manhunter is essentially a police procedural, a film noir version of Miami Vice. (In the same year, Mann, who was still executive producer of MV, produced an episode, “Shadow in the Dark [19],” that actually seems like a dry run for the film, with Don Johnson replacing William Peterson as Will Graham and Edward James Olmos replacing Dennis Farina as Crawford. So if Manhunter is Silence as a Miami Vice episode, “Shadow” is that Miami Vice episode squared; I haven’t tried a detailed comparison for fear of falling into a black hole.) The Hopkins films are grand opera or grand guignol, harkening back to Phantom of the Opera or Dracula. Thus, in reference to our discussion just now, Cox is in white prison uniform, in a white cell in a white prison/hospital (presumably Baltimore, but, in keeping with the New South theme actually filmed in some soulless postmodern art museum in Atlanta); Hopkins, by contrast, sits in a dank, subterranean cell, wearing grey against a palette of black and blood red.

    The second stupid controversy is the music; “It’s so outdated; it’s so ’80s!” Even Brian Cox can’t resist putting the boot in [20]: “The only thing I’m not mad about, when I look at it — though I saw it recently and I was a little bit more forgiving — but I was never a fan of ’80s music. So that always dates the film, for me, the score. Visually, I think the film’s a hundred per cent. Musically I think it’s 50 per cent.” We’ll look at the music in a bit, but really, since the film takes place in the ’80s, what music should it have — Grunge? Electo-pop? Tin Pan Alley? By contrast, Scarface’s disco soundtrack is arguably anachronistic, and the idea of replacing it with the kind of rap inspired by the film itself would be clever, if the actual “music” wasn’t so vile.

    7. According to the book, he would also have an NBA-worthy full body tattoo, the eponymous Red Dragon, but Mann wisely decided it “cheapened” his menacing look; the remake brings it back, with comical effect on the scrawny Brit Ralph Fiennes.

    8. A great example of Hollywood screenwriter bullshit: fricatives are sibilants, and Dollarhyde just delivered a line full of them.

    9. On the other hand, the actor will reappear as “Willie the Orderly” in the next three films, thus becoming the only actor to appear in all four Lecktor/Lechter films, although in two different roles.

    10. As with the music, we’ll see that Mann’s much abused “Miami Vice” color scheme is rigidly appropriate, with splashes of acid green in Lektor’s cell and Dollarhyde’s home to connect them with Lucifer’s emerald; see Evola, op. cit.

    11. Thus Lecktor resembles such false Männerbünde leaders as Melville’s Gnostic Ahab, as well as De Palma’s Al Capone, as we’ve seen in my review of The Untouchables (here [21] and in The Homo and the Negro). Capone, played there by Robert De Niro, was known as “Scarface” which links him to Dolarhyde; Scarface was in turn another gangster film directed by De Palma, starring Al Pacino, who would later make Mann’s Heat with De Niro.

    12. The pride with which the cop offers to transfer the home movies to “three quarter inch video tape” is almost as charmingly nostalgic as Graham’s gigantic “mobile phone.”

    13. If it’s still hard to see “funny” Murray as Dollarhyde, consider “funny” Robin Williams in One Hour Photo, where he is a lonely photo shop technician (again, technological nostalgia!) who develops (!) an unhealthy and ultimately violent obsession with a suburban family.

    14. “The Empty Room”

    15. As Gob and others would say on Arrested Development [22], “I’ve made a huge mistake.” Noonan’s performance seems as if it were a homage to the sometimes suppressed final shot of Psycho, where a skull seems to be superimposed on Anthony Perkins’ face; Norman of course has his own problems with spying on people and making things — birds, mothers — say put..

    16. One odd bit that the existence of Serial Killer Phil would explain is Phil winning an ice sculpture contest by executing a bust of Rita — with a chainsaw. “I know your face so well, I could have done it with my eyes closed.”

    17. Those who have felt that this, or my previous, film work have been a tad too obsessive are welcome to go to the “Can Analyze” blog and feast on his 99-part analysis [23] of the “hidden plot” of Manhunter. Hint: Lechtor is Hermes Trismegistus, and he is ultimately trying to get Will to murder his own family! Actually, it is rather odd that Will falls asleep on the plane while looking at photos of the slaughtered families — and dreams of his own.

    18. Wikipedia: “Manhunter‘s soundtrack ‘dominates the film,’ with music that is ‘explicitly diegetic the entire way.’ Steve Rybin has commented that the music is not intended to correlate with the intensity of the action portrayed alongside it, but rather to signify when the viewer should react with a ‘degree of aesthetic distance’ from the film, or be ‘suture[d] into the diegetic world’ more closely.” John Muir (!) suggests that this helps identify the character of Graham with the ‘goodness’ of the natural world, and Dollarhyde with the city, ‘where sickness thrives.’ This strongly stylized approach drew criticism from reviewers at first, but has since been seen as a hallmark of the film and viewed more positively.”

    19. Wikipedia: “Cinematographer Dante Spinotti [24] made strong use of colour tints in the film, using a cool ‘romantic blue’ tone to denote the scenes featuring Will Graham and his wife, and a more subversive green hue, with elements of purple or magenta, as a cue for the unsettling scenes in the film, mostly involving Dollarhyde. Petersen has stated that Mann wanted to create a visual aura to bring the audience into the film, so that the story would work on an interior and emotional level… ‘There is nothing in Manhunter … which is just a nice shot,’ says Spinotti. ‘[It] is all focused into conveying that particular atmosphere; whether it’s happiness, or delusion, or disillusion.’ This ‘manipulation of focus and editing’ has become a visual hallmark of the film.

    20. We saw this with the Boomers of The Big Chill: “Don’t you have any music from this century?” “There is no other music, not in this house.”

    21. Wikipeida, “Manhunter,” quoting cinematographer Dante Spinotti.

    22. “The music belongs only to the killer’s space, and its representation of his subjectivity is increased by the gradually ever more dance like quality of his actions, responding to the rhythm and line of the music.” http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Soundtrack-Representing-Music-Cinema/dp/0520250702/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1382536085&sr=8-1&keywords=Beyond+the+Soundtrack%3A+Representing+Music+in+Cinema.#reader_0520250702 [25]

    23. “Can Analyze” seems to have been reading my previous discussion of the puppet meme:

    [UPDATE 4/21/13: Since the time of the last update to this post, various discoveries have been made while analyzing some of the other Lecter movies, as well as while analyzing A Space Odyssey, which suggest an alternate interpretation of Dollarhyde’s jerking motions to that given above [i.e., magic]: Dollarhyde’s motions are like those of a marionette, i.e., of a puppet operated from above by strings.

    24. Loc. cit.

    25. This ties in with Graham’s flight from Atlanta, which much have been a shamanic act, explaining the collapse of time that allows him to reach St. Louis within the time of an LP side; he arrives a Superior Man, able to shift time and crash through the glass wall — an inverted “glass ceiling” actually between the Upper and Lower Realms?

    26. Unfortunately, in true Hollywood style, he’ll be back, three more times, each one less necessary than the previous, even remaking this very film. Repetition seems to be the very essence of the Lecter saga.

    27. See my “Green Nazis in Space!” here [26]. In this film, however, green is associated with Dollarhyde’s scenes.

    28. “Random Roles” by Tasha Robinson [27] in The Onion AV Club, December 5, 2007, here [28].

     

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • The Nightboy Cometh: Reflections — In a Jaundiced Eye — on Calder Willingham’s End as a Man & Jack Garfein’s The Strange One
    (”The Untouchables” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    [1]3,530 words

    The Strange One [2]
    Columbia Pictures, 1957
    Screenplay by Calder Willingham, based on his novel, End as a Man [3](1947)
    Directed by Jack Garfein
    Editor: Sidney Katz; Music: Kenyon Hopkins; Cinematography: Burnett Guffey; Art Direction: Joseph C. Wright; Sound: Edward J. Johnstone
    Cast: Ben Gazzara, Pat Hingle, Peter Mark Richman, Arthur Storch, James Olson, Julie Wilson, George Peppard.
    B&W, 100m.

    “Could Hollywood bear the eternal burden of a tough fruitcake? No! Anything but that!” — Morrissey

    Some time ago, I was reading some classy book that was being packaged as a “racy” read a UK paperback publisher — I think Robert Musil’s Young Torless, in fact — and the cover promised something along the lines of “the heartbreaking beauty of City of Night; the raw power of Last Exit to Brooklyn; the shocking honesty of End as a Man [3].”[1]

    Needless to say, these works of apparently academically legitimate porn made their way onto my teenage reading list. While the first two were — and are — readily available, the last was not, and it wasn’t until the Age of the Internet that I was able to lay my hands on a copy of Calder Willingham’s novel.

    My Constant Readers are likely to have never heard of Calder Willingham, or perhaps long ago forgotten,[2] but Wikipedia remembers, and tells us [4] that

    During the late ’40s and early ’50s, Willingham was considered at the forefront of the gritty, realistic new breed of postwar novelists: Norman Mailer, James Jones, Truman Capote, Gore Vidal, and others, many of whom also made up the Greenwich Village literary scene at the time.

    While in 1969 Newsweek said his fiction “deserves a place among the dozen or so novels that must be mentioned if one is to speak of greatness in American fiction.”

    Not so great as to deserve their own Wikipedia entries, however, including his first novel, End as a Man [3]. The main CW entry does give some idea of what the fuss was about: after dropping out of The Citadel, he moves to New York, where

    Willingham’s career began in controversy with End as a Man (1947), a withering indictment of the macho culture of military academies, introducing his first iconic character, sadistic Jocko de Paris. The story included graphic hazing, sex, and suggested homosexuality, which in a period celebrating military victory, led the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice to file obscenity charges against its publisher, Vanguard Press. The charges were ultimately dropped, but not before a trial which made the book a cause célèbre, famous writers rallying to its defense. Reviews singled out its savage humor and realistic dialogue.

    Wikipedia also tells us that “Before the age of thirty, after just three novels and a collection of short stories, The New Yorker was already describing Willingham as having “fathered modern black comedy,” and the cross-reference to Vanguard Press tells us that Vanguard was

    Established with a $100,000 grant from the left wing American Fund for Public Service, better known as the Garland Fund. Throughout the 1920s, Vanguard Press issued an array of books on radical topics, including studies of the Soviet Union, socialist theory, and politically oriented fiction by a range of writers [including] the first books of Nelson Algren, Saul Bellow, Marshall McLuhan, Joyce Carol Oates and Dr. Seuss.

    A verifiable echo-chamber, with a few Shabbos goyim thrown in for cover. So you know what to expect.

    And yet, not so. Although End as a Man is supposedly the first in the genre of ripping the lid off the seamy underbelly of military education – another small but spicy part of the Judeo-Marxist “culture of critique” imposed on us by the victors in World War Two, “proving” with monotonous predictability that all “all your sacred institutions are filthy schools for homosexual sadism” — I did not “get that” from the book at all.

    By the time I had gotten a copy of End, I had already become fascinated and absorbed in the mysteries of the Männerbund, first by the late Alisdair Clarke,[3] more recently Wulf Grimsson,[4] and of course Jack Donovan. So I was reading it through my own, perhaps distorted, lens of an awareness of the crucial role of male bonding in the creating and sustaining Aryan cultural institutions — a separate but parallel function to the physical procreation handled by the family, as Socrates noted in the Symposium. Since all this is ultimately derived from the warrior band, it is perhaps no surprise that military education should be first on the list targets for postwar subversion.

    Whatever Willingham’s intentions, the book leaves the reader — at least, this one — with an admiration for an institution that functions well at its role: turning boys into men.[5] Yes, there’s brutal hazing, but just like the off-campus drinking and gambling that are main interests of the cadets, it’s all clearly against the rules. And while the administration seems a bit obtuse from the start, by the end of the book the school’s crusty old Commandant[6] has ruthlessly ferreted out the truth, delivered harsh but appropriate disciple — including the public disgrace and expulsion of Jocko and the worst of his clique — and delivered a rather stirring speech that explains the book’s curious title:

    Gentlemen, I have said this before and I will say it now: No youth can pass through four years of the Academy and not end as a man. We expel the failure; I present our diploma only to a man. Think of that word: listen to it. Man. A simple monosyllable, but it has a great force. Nothing is stronger than this word, for without the quality it signifies, the life of our race, and your own, is rendered utterly futile. Let adversity fall upon you. Fools insult you. Illness strike. Your head will be unbowed and your courage as sure as the turning of the globe — if you are a man.

    I guess we’re supposed to giggle, like wise-asses at a high school assembly, but if it weren’t for all the “context” of the book’s history and surrounding trappings, I’d have to say this sounds straight. Good triumphs; Jocko is not a man and is spewed out.

    Even the Citadel itself has no hard feelings, proudly listing it as a “famous novel” in its online “Bibliography of the Citadel [5].”

    And speaking of “straight,” most of that history and trappings suggests some kind of homosexual “subtext” throughout.[7] There is one obviously, though of course closeted, “gay” character — a budding novelist, hmmm — and indeed way too much attention is paid to him; even after being expelled, the protagonist, Cadet Marquales, has to journey to visit him at home, a crumbling New Orleans ruin, of course, with dotty relatives and Negro retainers, and the reader has to endure[8] almost a hundred pages of sub-Tennessee Williams pastiche, until one wished Ignatius Reilly would burst in, as he does in Confederacy of Dunces, and teach these cadets how to really handle a sabre.

    With all its flaws — it is a “first novel,” after all, overwritten and overly autobiographical — it’s well worth a look, and far more Aryan masculinist than Judeo-subversive than one might expect.

    When I learned that there had been a movie, apparently just as forgotten and, in the nature of such things, of course a “classic” of some sort, I looked around for it, but here the Internet failed me; until recently, it was unavailable on DVD, and now only at loan shark prices.

    So I leapt at the chance to finally see it when TCM recently programmed it as the first part of a double bill of the only two movie made by Jack Garfein (of whom more anon).

    Here’s the blessed IMDB’s rather blunt synopsis [6]:

    At a military school in the Deep South, unrepentant sociopath Jocko DeParis engineers events leading to the expulsion of the son of the school’s headmaster and officer-in-charge. DeParis attempts to terrorize, coerce and manipulate his reluctant conspirators in the crime to ensure their silence, but they ultimately turn against him, leading to his peers banding together to deliver their own form of justice.[9]

    While only the lamest kind of nerd expects a movie to be “just like the book,” the changes here are remarkable.

    Since CW wrote the screenplay, it’s hard to figure out why so much has changed. Why, for instance, are so many hazings packed into one opening scene, in one cadet’s room? Obviously, it’s a hangover from the play (which I haven’t seen or read) but why not open it out as a movie,[10] especially since one location, the off-limits tavern, appears later on anyway?[11]

    The weird slang, part military (“Pop to!” for answer me, “Brace!” for stand at attention) and part boy’s school (random words like “morbid” or “gruesome” are valorized and freely used to indicate distaste for anything and everything, like the later “gross” or “icky”) occurs once or twice, jogging the memory of those who’ve read the book but just puzzling moviegoers and failing, as in the book, to gradually weave the texture of this strange environment.[12]

    The Academy as a background has almost completely disappeared; if not for an opening shot of the gates of “Southern Military College”[13] and an occasional uniform and a brief parade ground scene, you might as well be at Holden Caulfield’s Pency Prep.

    More importantly, the whole emphasis of the work has shifted. I recall reading somewhere a propos The Caine Mutiny that the hero of the book is Ensign Keith, the hero of the Broadway play was the defense attorney, the hero of the TV production was Capt. Queeg, and the hero of the movie was the Navy.

    Here the shift of emphasis is signaled by the change in title. The titular oddball is of course Jocko DeParis, and from the first scene the movie revolves around him and his antics.

    [7]And oh boy, is he strange. Swanning around during his off hours in some kind of karate coat/Hawaiian shirt thing, and smoking from a cigarette holder Cruella De Ville would reject as ostentatious, the best part is that no one notices; either they’re quite used to it by now, or they’ve been terrified into submission, like the unfortunate family in the contemporaneous Twilight Zone episode, “It’s a Good Life.”[14]

    All this is perhaps best symbolized by one small but telling, and certainly puzzling, change. The homosexual novelist character, who’s supposedly writing a book about DeParis, apparently to blackmail him into a relationship, dubs the fictional DeParis “Caesar” in the book, appropriately military yet suggestive of ambisexuality.[15] In the film, he tells DeParis he’s been dubbed “Night Boy.”[16]

    What happened here? Just as I had been exposed to the Männerbund literature before reading the book, by the time I saw the film I had been alerted to telltale signs of the “culture of critique.”

    Calder Willingham wrote both the play and the screenplay, but as directed, both times, by one Jack Garfein, you could call The Strange One a “Judaized” version of End as a Man.[17]

    The first clue is that the play was developed at The Actor’s Studio, the Mecca of Method Acting, and the film was promoted as the first movie with an all-Method cast[18] and director.

    “The Method,” of course, was another postwar agent of Judaic subversion, aimed at replacing the dignified performance style of a Laurence Olivier[19] or Noel Coward[20] with the bumptious ethnic mumblings of a Brando or Dean.[21]

    In Garfein’s version, SMC is presented as a factory of sadism and authoritarianism. It’s the Frankfurt School’s theory of the authoritarian nature of the family, perversely projected onto the Männerbund, which is traditionally an alternative to the family structure. I guess wherever the goyim go they produce fascism, just as wherever the Jew goes he brings sweetness and light.

    And yet . . . Just as the novel, if intended to be subversive of the Citadel, had exactly the opposite effect on me, The Strange One also subverts the filmmakers’ intent. And again, it starts with the title. By choosing to de-emphasize the Academy and focus on Jocko, the filmmakers reluctantly acknowledge that he’s so damned interesting, far more so than anyone else.[22]

    As Trevor Lynch has cogently observed, in the modern, PC world, only bad guys and psychopaths, such as the Joker or Hannibal Lecter, are allowed to voice the Traditional truths that Evola, on trial for subverting the youth of Italy, called “the common sense of every educated person before the French Revolution.”

    And speaking of the French Revolution,[23] another salient difference from the novel is that in the former, as already pointed out, the Academy itself discovers and roots out the cancer of Jocko ends his reign of terror,[24] in the movie, DeParis is able to easily outwit the Commandant[25] and is only brought down by the cadet body itself, which finally tires of his terror and rises up to mete our vigilante justice after a kangaroo court.

    The Academy is bad, because it creates subservient, obedient officers. But it is good when the cadet corps finally turn on Jocko, bring him before an illegal, “kangaroo” court and then beat, (psychologically) torture and “expel” him by dumping him on a train heading north.

    The Academy — “Authority” if you will — has failed to suppress the White individualist — after all, authority itself is the main “authoritarian” menace; the group must gather to take care of him.

    But isn’t this the Jewish nightmare — the White masses rising up and lynching the Strange One, the Alien? Isn’t Jocko, in fact, right to call them “no better than the KKK”?[26]

    Well, yes, but the paradox is easily explained. When the cadets follow orders, they are a disciplined White force that might turn on the Jews. The KKK or a lynch mob is also bad, because it targets Jews. But the corps, when it becomes a vigilante mob, is good, because it targets the Alpha Goy, who might threaten the Jews by providing leadership of the mob. The question of consistency is moot; what counts is, “is it good for the Jews?”[27]

    Best for the Jews would be a leaderless mob of “individualists” who have been taught (by you know Who) to despise charismatic leaders (“the Next Hitler!”) like Jocko, but are easily led by some clever Judaic “public intellectual.”[28]

    But by this time the Judaic has lost control of the narrative, and, as I said before, Jocko remains the most telling presence onscreen. Jocko before the cadet tribunal, in fact, reminds me of another Judaic misjudgment: Fritz Lang’s M. Here, the bad guy is an obvious psychopath, and is only brought to justice, or at least captured, by the criminal underworld, who despise him as much as the police, but cannot go about their normal criminal acts while the city is on lockdown.

    According to Lang, [29] when Goebbels called him into his office, he was afraid that the National Socialists had realized the film — originally called Murderers Among Us — was “really” about them. Instead, Goebbels congratulated Lang on his depiction of the inability of the Weimar Republic to maintain order, necessitating the Party to step in extra-legally, and offered him the directorship of the German film industry. Lang left the country that night.

    Garfein has essentially made Goebbels’ film: he and his kind hate the Academy so much that they regard it as too fascistic itself to outwit a super-fascist like Jocko, so the cadets must take the law into their own hands.

    The resemblance extends to the final scene. The Judaic mind cannot understand the Aryan, and so projects (that very Judaic notion!) his own pathology onto the goy.[30] Here, we see Jocko break down into hysterics, pleading for mercy; a most unlikely fantasy of the Untermensch that “the bully” is “really” a coward and will run away when confronted — by the tame Gollem.[31]

    Jocko’s breakdown resembles Peter Lorre’s final scene in M, and here we see self-subversion again: while intended to evoke sympathy for the child-killer, the scene was later used in The Eternal Jew as an illustration of Judaic hysteria.

    Unlike the pitiable Lorre, but as usual with such Aryan villains, Jocko — like, say, Dr. Hannibal Lecter — has the last word, as the train pulls away:

    I’ll be back! I’ll get you guys! You can’t do this to Jocko DeParis!

    Garfein no doubt intends to warn us about the irrepressible fascist, genocidal spirit of the White race, which, as we have seen in post WWII Europe and America, must be ruthlessly held down and relentlessly policed by our Jewish elites, lest another outbreak of anti-Judaic “madness” occur.[32]

    Having come to the end of the film, and (almost) this essay, I have to add here that Morrissey, of all people, devotes a couple pages of his recent Autobiography to The Strange One, and gets the source of Jocko’s appeal. It deserves to be quoted in extenso:[33]

    De Paris pathologically infects the entire population of the world with his talent for bully tactics and his persistent offensiveness. Only articulate disdain for humanity saves him, and his rein of terror at a military school in Florida is remarkable solely for lasting as long as it does — even though it seems morally inevitable that he will end up being tied to a tree. His looks and style are far more penetrating than the God-fearing toothsome goofs around him — all of whom he breaks and wounds because they pay him far too much attention (or even because they show him none)

    De Paris is star quality and is not short on wit, thus I cannot help thinking that the common evil of his childishly dangerous ploys should be accepted by reason of his magnificent oeuvre alone — which in itself is certainly worth having. I think so, anyway. Ben Gazzara plays de Paris perfectly, relishing the humiliation of others.

    De Paris is too cute to be caught, and his contribution to immortality (what?) is suggested by the number of camera shots where the victim cadets are either kneeling before de Paris and looking upwards, or somehow seen from between the breeched legs of de Paris. If it sounds sordid, it isn’t.

    There are no lines of cruelty on the de Paris face, but we assume that he is that rare thing: a confident sodomite. . . . Could Hollywood bear the eternal burden of a tough fruitcake? No! Anything but that! 

    In any case, de Paris must die soon because he is just as real as life, and since he is free of sexual loathing there is slim chance of the obligatory suicide. It takes dominantly handsome Mark Richman, with a civic duty to sexual custom, to turn the nature of suffering back on de Paris, who, yes, is tied to a tree and tortured. For this, we are all purified and we return to the ideal vision of manliness untroubled by that nasty game of thinking. But it is all too late because we already prefer the richer intellect of de Paris to the bullheaded correctness of Mark Richman. But de Paris must perish, because he is neither correct nor dull, and by the closing credits we are left to assume that he is as dead as a pansy from last spring.

    But spare a thought for those who rock the boat. They challenge your attention, and even in your rage you find you quite like them for poking at you as if you were a dead mule. Perhaps you are?

    Well, so what? Why make anything at all out of such films? Mr Cringle and de Paris — the colorful and exciting disturbers of the peace — are impossible to miss and impossible to overlook as adventurers on thin ice, exhaling a secret stream of inspiration, having far too exciting a message to deliver, and — even worse: not without a sense of humor. The arts translate life into film and literature and music and repeat a deadly poison: the monotonous in life must be protected at all costs. But protected from what? From you and I.

    Morrissey has the makings of a fine film critic, perhaps even a paranoiac-critic.[34] He certainly hits the two notes we’ve emphasized: Jocko as the Bad Guy who’s far more charismatic and real than the dullards and Untermenschen offered for our approval, and the concomitant necessity of DeParis’ demise.

    But true to his miserablist soul, he somewhat misinterprets the ending. Yes, the “successful sodomite” must die, and being an unlikely suicide, must be murdered. But this is merely an instance of a more broad category that I’ve called a “genre convention”; the bad guy dies to satisfy social conventions, but really only because, more deeply, the author is done with him, he can be developed not further, like Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes.

    Morrissey seems to imply that Jocko dies tied to a tree. In truth, he is only briefly tied and blindfolded, but Morrissey is right to hear the note of Christ, hated by Jews and Liberals alike for his relatively successful Männerbund; a “successful sodomite” indeed.[35]

    Even more profoundly, he dies because he has indeed successfully transcended the material plane and, having slipped the surly bonds of Earth, disappears from view.[36]

    Jocko will return, not because, like the others, he is bound to the wheel of recurrence, but precisely because, having transcended that wheel, he returns, like Krishna, to reestablish dharma in the Dark Ages of unrighteousness, ”exhaling a secret stream of inspiration, having far too exciting a message to deliver, and — even worse: not without a sense of humor.[37]

    “I’ll be back!”[38]

    Notes

    1. Paton Oswald — whose movie Big Fan was reviewed as an implicitly White critique of sports culture here on Counter-Currents — has a bit somewhere in which the variables in a breathless Coming Attractions blurb — “From the director of X and the stars of Y comes the heartbreaking brilliance of Z” — are replaced by various flatulent noises, in a perfect simulacrum of Hollywood’s contempt for its audiences.

    2. A line from Paul Simon’s version of “Scarborough Fair,” featured in Mike Nichols’ film The Graduate (1967), with which Willingham had a hand, as we shall see.

    3. See “MANNERBUND: ASPECTS OF MALE MYSTERY CULTS (published in New Imperium magazine March 2006),” online here [8] at his blog, Aryan Futurism, which see generally.

    4. See his Loki’s Way: The Path of the Sorcerer in the Age of Iron (2nd ed.), Lulu.com, 2011, and my review “A Band Apart” here [9] and reprinted in my collection The Homo and the Negro (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2012).

    5. In discussing these works, I felt the same hesitation as I did when reviewing Sam Finlay’s excellent Breakfast with the Dirt Cult — lack of military experience; as well as lack of military school experience (unless attending a boys-only Catholic high school counts). So I reached out to a couple of vets, neither of whom had heard/seen either film or book, or attended a military school; but after the plot was described both recalled similar incidents in the service, and one recalled that after the first two weeks of boot camp, when supervision was slacked off, exactly the same power dynamic had arisen, including the rise to power among them of a diminutive sociopath, who was, in fact, a military school graduate. So there seems some verisimilitude here.

    6. I was reminded of the Base Commander in The Starfighters, apparently “not an actor,” whom Tom Servo described as “You know, he’s crusty but . . . unlikeable.” MST3k, Episode 612.

    7. Most of the paperback covers seem to take the currently campy “’50s gay pulp” approach.

    8. “They endured.” — William Faulkner

    9. As I access this page, I find myself confronted with a huge advertising banner promoting the no doubt hagiographic Trumbo; for more on eternal Judaic revenge for “blacklisting” see below.

    10. “We could use a flashback here; this is a motion picture!” – MST3k, Episode 603: The Dead Talk Back (filmed the same year as The Strange One, but not “released” until it was sent directly to MST3k in 1993).

    11. On the other hand, the new ending equips the cadets, most implausibly, with cars and even features a train. For a brief moment we see Jocko drive up the bar in a bizarre futuristic bubble car, with a pop-open lid and room for a passenger behind the driver; there is no explanation of how or why Jocko obtained such a vehicle, nor does anyone on the street — in 1957 Dixie! — even notice.

    12. This is apparently the book reviewers called “realistic” dialogue, which might have suggested some kind of Frank Norris or even gritty, Mickey Spillane, sort of stuff.

    13. I could here the MST3k boys shouting “Generic college for generic soldiers; just as good, but cheaper!”

    14. A few nights after watching I was reminded of Jocko when Nicky berates his pal Ace in Casino: “Nicky Santoro: [to Ace] I lost control? Look at you, you’re fucking walking around like John Barrymore! A fucking pink robe and a fucking cigarette holder? I lost control?” Are Scorsese or De Niro referencing, perhaps parodying, Gazzara’s “method” performance? (For more on Casino, see my “Essential Films . . . & Others,” here [10]). Late in the film, Jocko is hanging out with some town broad at a cramped table in a tavern, and his cigarette holder almost puts out her eye, and she still doesn’t say “Put that ridiculous thing away,” although the actress herself looks annoyed. Earlier, they arrive in Jocko’s bizarre mini-rocket car, with inline seats like a jet plane and even a bubble top, and again, no one, even among the citizens of “hick Southern town” pays any attention, even though it would have been less noticeable if he’s driven up in a time travelling Delorean. Next year, 1958, The Screaming Skull opens with our protagonists driving up in a gull-wing Mercedes, prompting Tom Servo to quip “Yes, shocking horror arrives in style in your 1953 Mercedes!” (MST3k, Episode 912).

    15. Julius Caesar was reputed to be “every woman’s husband and every man’s wife.”

    16. Whatever the movie’s intent, this can only remind the modern viewer of The Nightman, the child-molesting night visitor in Charlie’s autistic musical The Nightman Cometh [11], the fourth season finale of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia [12]; hence my title above.

    17. Willingham is likely better known today as a screenwriter, but his career was punctuated by numerous disputes over authorship, most notably perhaps suing to have his name alongside Buck Henry for The Graduate (another Jews expose the gentiles tale); in this, he kind of reminds me of Ian Fleming’s nemesis, Kevin McClory; see Jef Costello’s “The Cat is Back! The Spectre Behind S.P.E.C.T.R.E.,” here [13]. I suspect he’s the sort of writer that absorbs influences around him without being able to later sort them out; the discipline of the Citadel having failed him he was likely exceptionally susceptible to the Judaic influences of Strassberg, Garfein, et al.

    18. And what a cast, all making their film debuts: Ben Gazara (The Big Lebowski), Pat Hingle (Tim Burton’s Commissioner Gordon), George Peppard (before Breakfast at Tiffany’s and The A Team), and even Mark (later, for “spiritual reasons,” Peter Mark) Richman, later to play the smarmiest of middle-aged, yellow cardigan wearing Bond rip-offs, Agent for H.A.R.M. and, later still, Spock’s father!). Storch’s acting, however, is so broad and “comical” that he might as well have been replaced by Larry Storch.

    19. An excellent refutation of “Method” can be found here [14]. While filming Marathon Man, Dustin Hoffman (star of Willingham’s The Graduate) arrived on set for the dentistry scene all dirty and unslept, to find Sir Laurence sitting at ease. How can you deliver such great performances and me so relaxed, Hoffman asked. “My boy, it’s called acting.”

    20. “In a series of articles for the Sunday Times, ‘Consider the Public’ [Coward] diagnosed and rebuked  . . . the bad new actors who use a pretentious and unreliable ‘Method’ to justify an inflated sense of their own intellects as well as a contempt for audiences, actors of the older generation, [reasonably educated people who behave with restraint in emotional crises are necessarily “clipped,” “arid,” “bloodless,” and “unreal”] and the theatre itself, expressed mainly through coprophilic stage business, slovenly dress, and dirty fingernails. Against all this Coward praised simple, unpretentious craft—‘You must have the emotion to know it, then you must learn how to use the emotion without suffering it’—which he had honed the hard way entertaining troops; ‘Noël distrusted every emotion on stage and dealt solely in the illusion’ (Payn, p. 42). And above all, respect for theatrical tradition, and the audience itself, without which there would be no theatre at all.” See my “Sir Noël Coward, 1899–1973, Part 2,” here [15] and reprinted in The Homo and the Negro, op. cit., and in North American New Right, Vol. I (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2013).

    21. According to Gazarra, Dean was bucking for his role of Jocko in the stage production. Jef Costello might have to revise his low opinion of Robert Vaughn as Napoleon (like Gazara’s Jocko, a diminutive tyrant) Solo (Jocko) — “nice looking . . . but hardly physically imposing.” — when he considers that Vaughn was quite successful as the masterful Jocko in a road company production; see “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.—A Cautionary Tale, Part 2,” here [16]. Actors Studio bumptiousness ultimately backfired, though: “One day, Garfein, who had already learned how to be pushy from his experiences with Lee Strasberg, did exactly that, thus completely poisoning Spiegel against him. Spiegel ended up taking the film away from Garfein before he even had a chance to edit it and add a score. When several pivotal scenes dealing with homosexuality were removed by the censors, Garfein’s original vision had been altered beyond recognition. ‘Sam’s vengeance was long-lasting and far-reaching,’ Gazzara stated in his autobiography. ‘The Strange One was a good movie, very well made, but Jack’s film career was hurt badly by his run-in with Sam. He messed with the wrong man, and it hurt all of us.’” — TCM.com.

    22. “What distinguishes The Strange One from other fifties attacks on military abuses is the filmmaker’s decision to force us to see the action significantly from Jocko’s perspective — it’s as if The Caine Mutiny had been told from the viewpoint of Captain Queeg.” — David Lamble at Claudesplace.com, 6/7/09, here [17]. Say, didn’t I already mention Caine?

    23. Jocko deParis, get it?

    24. Cancer, because Jocko is a diseased form of what the Academy is designed to produce, leaders of men. His clique is what I have called a “bad Männerbund,” imitating the Aryan warrior band but actually run for the benefit of Leader himself; I base this idea on Tony Tanner’s analysis of Capt. Ahab, and I apply it to Brian De Palma’s Al Capone in ““God, I’m with a heathen.” The Rebirth of the Männerbund in Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables, here [18] and reprinted in The Homo and the Negro, op. cit.

    25. “Well, sir, it’s got to be one of two things. Either you’re lying, in which case there’d be no whiskey in that tube — or you’re right. I did it all, just as you say. Now, if I was such a Machiavellian, crafty, conniving character as all that, would I be so stupid as to leave whiskey in that tube for you to come along and find it? I don’t think so, sir. It stands to reason that thing would be washed with loving care.”

    26. Nicely foreshadowed by the first scene, where Jocko interrogates two freshmen and asks “I suppose you think we all belong to the KKK down here?” Lamble, op. cit., notes that “All through the film Willingham knowingly mocks the dying days of Jim Crow, particularly through a clever use of a lynching motif — first in a joking reference in Jock’s first monologue and finally in an ironic twist of the bully’s fate which is sealed on a segregated railroad car.” In his TCM interview, Garfien says he was inspired by seeing segregated trains while filming in Florida, due to his being (of course) “an Auschwitz survivor.” The studio refused, supposedly because “Southern markets” would be offended, so Garfien snuck in some token, as it were, Negroes literally through the studio back door. I’ve heard this story — that Southern theatres would refuse to book films with “black” actors (Ray Dennis Steckler claims he replaced a black actor in Wild Guitar for that reason, and then proudly adds that he cast that same actor in his next film — Incredibly Strange Creatures [gee, thanks, that must have helped his career]) — and I call bullshit. Negroes in subservient roles were perfectly acceptable — who protested Gone with the Wind? As always, the Jew brings moral enlightenment to the goyim. Columbia Studio head Harry Cohn was rather immune to judeophilia, from sponsoring the goyishe Three Stooges (so unlike the subversively intellectual Marx Brothers) to asking, when solicited for a donation to a society to save the Jews, “How about a society to save me from the Jews?”

    27. It’s little known, because little taught, that the “infamous”: anti-American laws and committees of the ’50s were created in the ’30s at the instigation of Jews seeking to suppress the peace movement (smeared as “isolationists” and “German agents”). I suspect McCarthy was a naïve goy “conservative” manipulated by Troyskyites (today’s Neocons) into a purge taking care of their Stalinist rivals.

    28. Rather than M, the ending more closely emulates Elia Kazan’s On the Waterfront. Kazan, who “named names,” intended Terry Molloy’s lone stand to be a cinematic justification of his own role as a “friendly” witness (the bad guy, a union leader, is named Friendly). In his interview with Robert Osbourne on TCM, Garfein cites an occasion when he was rehearsing Gazara, James Dean, and others after hours, prompting Kazan to stop in and predict they would all become famous for such dedication. Kazan’s later A Face in the Crowd would again mine the idea of the charismatic hick leader (Andy Griffith, fresh from his military comedy No Time for Sergeants), not so secretly manipulated by rich goys, one of whom is explicitly identified by the horrified Patricia Neal character (no Dominique Francon here) as “the last of the isolationists.”

    29. Like most Judaic stories, Lang’s accounts of his pre-exilic activities are hard to verify.

    30. I discuss this in my critique, “The Fraud of Miss Jean Brodie,” here and reprinted in my Green Nazis In Space! (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2015).

    31. “Let’s you and him fight” is the Judaic motto, as we see in the Middle East. The current “anti-bullying” hysteria is a symptom of our Judaic culture; the idea of that the bully is “really” something else is the telltale clue to a Judaic, Frankfurt-style analysis.

    32. Again, one recalls Kazan’s Face in the Crowd, which ends with Griffiths’ “cornpone fascist” (a favorite term of James Kunstler) shouting from his penthouse “Come back! Come back!” to Patricia Neal’s wised-up character, while smug Vanderbilt liberal Walter Matthau smugly smugs that “I don’t figure him for the suicide type.”

    33. Though I’ve added the paragraphing and italics. Published in 2013 as a Penguin Classic, oddly enough. Amazon reviewers say the American edition has been censored, but I haven’t compared the two; there’s no mention of it in the Wikipedia article here [19]. To check the accuracy of my quote, you can read a pdf of the actual two pages from the (presumably UK) Penguin at jack Garfien’s own website here. Yes, Jack’s still around — thus the TCM interview — no longer a Young Turk but as feisty as ever, running his website — Le Studio Jack Garfien — from an apparent French exile. The French, as we know, are very welcoming to immigrants, especially Semites, especially anti-American ones, and though his people make up less than one-sixth of one percent of the population, I’m sure Jack feels right at home.

    34. Meaning, he says things I agree with. Is it just me, or does it sound like Morrissey rather identifies with Jocko? Check out the full list of “films under the influence of Morrissey here. [20]

    35. To read an actual Christian scripture that portrays Christ as the leader of a warrior Männerbund, see G. Ronald Murphy, The Saxon Saviour: The Germanic Transformation of the Gospel in the Ninth-Century Heliand (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989) and his English translation, The Heliand: The Saxon Gospel (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992). Why don’t we ever hear about this authentic gospel, and only about lachrymose fabrications about Mary Magdalene and Leonardo Da Vinci? Don’t ask me; ask the Tribe that owns the movie studios and cable “history” channels. As for sodomite, it’s interesting that when Jesus alludes to the “sin of Sodom” it clearly amounts to the failure to offer hospitality to strangers (“Shake the dust from your sandals,” etc.), and when the Roman centurion asks him to heal his sickly “boy” Jesus finds him to have “greater faith than I have found in Judea.”

    36. Perhaps even more profoundly, characters like Burroughs’ Wild Boys die or disappear because only thus can they serve ass guides and inspirations; see Timothy Murphy, Wising Up the Marks, and my essay “The Wild Boys Smile: Reflections on Olaf Stapledon’s Odd John, Part 3,” here [21] and reprinted in Green Nazis in Space!, op. cit.

    37. See, for example, “The Babysitting Bachelor as Aryan Avatar: Clifton Webb in Sitting Pretty, Part 2,“ here [22].

    38. But Garfein wouldn’t. Garfein’s next, second, and last film is the misleadingly title Something Wild (which I first saw when I confused it with the Griffin Dunne/Melanie Griffith comedy. It’s a dark, or rather, grey portrait of New York, on which the ungrateful “refugee” projects his own miserablist worldview onto the most prosperous and vibrant society on Earth at the peak of its world importance. Imagine The Honeymooners rewritten by Kafka. It shows Coleman Francis could have achieved with money, talent, and real actors. [38] Fortunately for the world’s sanity, Garfein, like Francis, stopped after an even briefer output of two films, leaving the world in peace.

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Citizen Czech: A Study in Crypsistic Cinema
    (”The Untouchables” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    3,617 words [1]

    Death of a Scoundrel (1956)
    Written, directed, and produced by Charles Martin
    Music by Max Steiner
    Cinematography by James Wong Howe
    Stars: George Sanders, Yvonne De Carlo, Zsa Zsa Gabor, John Hoyt, Tom Conway, Werner Klemperer

    “He was the most hated man on earth, but he could have been one of the great men in history. He was a genius.”

    “Finance is the basis of most relationships, don’t you agree?”

    While lazily using Google to try and find an address during my recent visit to Manhattan, I noticed that an adjacent address was notable not for its architecture but as the home of a legendary New York scoundrel.

    The controversial financier Serge Rubinstein bought the Bache house in 1944. He had angered various governments with his currency manipulations and shady accounting. But it was a conviction for draft evasion that resulted in different living quarters — two years at Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary.

    In 1955 he was found in the town house dead in his silk pajamas, his hands bound. The murder was never solved. Mr. Rubinstein had many enemies; Time magazine quoted a reporter as saying, “They’ve narrowed the list of suspects down to 10,000.”[1] [2]

    “Hmm,” I said to myself – as I often do, during the day – and went about my business. That evening, however, as I was back at the shabby chic hotel, browsing the cable channel guide in search of some comforting viewing – as I often do, during the evening – a listing appeared on TCM for a film that I vaguely recalled watching a bit of several years ago, and everything fell into place: why that item had caught my eye, and why in turn this TV listing did.

    The American Film Institute website points out [3] that when Death of a Scoundrel was released,

    Reviews noted the resemblance between “Clementi Sabourin” and real-life New York financier Serge Rubinstein, an amoral, Russian-born immigrant who had a genius for manipulating money. Rubinstein, a renowned playboy and swindler, was convicted of evading the draft in 1947. He was murdered in Jan 1955, and although an intensive investigation followed, the killer was never identified.

    A little more research turned up a “true crime” account [4] that I think you’ll find worth quoting in full:

    He was the son of Dimitri Rubinstein financial lender of Tsar Nicolas II of Russia. During the revolution of 1917, his family fled the country with a fortune in diamonds. They sewed the gems into the lining of their jackets. They then settled in England where Serge studied economics at the University of Cambridge. Rubinstein became an unscrupulous financier in Europe and then in the United States. Serge Rubinstein was Napoleonic in size and ambition. He sought wealth and believed rules applied to everyone except him. He was a swindler and blackmailer nonpareil, and though many people suspected this, he had the veneer of manners and requisite pocketful of cash to blend with the upper crust. He was a convicted draft dodger,[2] [5] but when it came to fighting women, he was a real tough guy. He beat his first wife unconscious and ripped off her clothes. He used his money to attract models, always dating several at once, yet insisted on fidelity from all of them. He bugged their apartments to be sure they complied. In summation, Serge Rubinstein was a bad guy.

    No surprise, then, that in January 1955 he was found strangled on the floor of his palatial Manhattan flat. Police first believed he’d been tortured for the purpose of revenge or for extracting business secrets. Then they started thinking it was a kidnapping gone wrong. The last person to see Rubinstein alive was one of his girlfriends, Estelle Gardner, but she had left his apartment around 1:30 a.m. Around 2:30 a.m. Rubinstein had called another girlfriend named Patricia Wray, but she had declined his invitation to come over. The apartment was protected by heavy doors and iron bars, which meant a key, had been used to gain entry. Rubinstein gave keys to staff and girlfriends. All were questioned and all were cleared. A year after the murder, police were still baffled.

    Unsolved cases are always a risk to devolve into a sideshow, and this one followed form when Rubinstein’s mother contacted a well-known medium named Hans Holzer because she believed her son was haunting his old apartment. Holzer staged a séance and claimed that Rubinstein’s spirit had supplied the names of his killers. He passed the info to the police, but no arrests were made, because, list or no list, there were simply too many suspects and too little physical evidence. The murder went from sideshow to show biz, when it inspired the 1956 motion picture Death of a Scoundrel, starring George Sanders.[3] [6] The tagline could have been Rubinstein’s epitaph: Men, women… he used them, ruined them on his fantastic march to self-destruction. But even the revival of interest sparked by the movie produced no new leads. Eventually, the murder was forgotten. Serge Rubinstein’s killing was just another cold case, and his life was an example of how bad habits can produce fatal consequences.

    Now that’s a picture I’ve got to see! And I think you’ll probably like to waste a couple spare hours on it as well.[4] [7]

    [1]

    The movie gets a big, Texas-size kickoff.

    DoS is one of those great B pictures that’s not quite an A picture, but provides its own kind of strange appeal. Though “ripped from the headlines,” the actual production manages to simulate the experience of several classic films. A black and white picture from RKO that explores, through flashbacks, the life of a rich prick who’s already dead when the film starts, with cinematography by a Hollywood legend, it’s not quite Citizen Kane. The same elements might suggest 1950’s Sunset Boulevard; and the presence of George Sanders can’t help but recall the same year’s All About Eve.

    There are, generally, two things interesting about this movie: what’s in the picture, and what’s not.

    DoS is clearly a B picture – despite moving the action from post-war Czechoslovakia to mid-century modern New York to Canada’s financial center, Bay Street, Toronto,[5] [8] it’s clearly set-bound, other than some rear-projection to suggest driving through New York.

    Oh, but what fills those sets! To start with, there’s the cast, topped by George Sanders, obviously still an A-list star, what with that Oscar™ for a rather similar role in All About Eve,[6] [9] only this time instead of narrating about Eve, he gets to play Ever herself, with some lesser character handling the narration.[7] [10]

    And there’s a lot to narrate: George sinks his teeth into the aforementioned studio scenery as Despicable Serge breaks hearts and lifts wallets all the way to the top, and beyond. It may not be his best performance, but it’s no surprise it was reputed to be Sanders’ favorite, as he may not be “acting” at all so much as letting his well-known streak of Total Bastard have full reign.[8] [11]

    The rest of the cast is decidedly B, but unfailingly interesting in several ways. Sanders’ brother is played by – Sanders’ look-alike, talk-alike brother, Tom Conway.[9] [12]

    Then there’s one of Sabourin’s victim/lovers, played by Sanders’ recently ex-wife, Zsa Zsa Gabor.[10] [13]

    Rounding out the cast are a plethora of later TV icons: there’s Yvonne De Carlo, Lily Munster herself, giving a great performance as Sabourin’s accomplice and wanna-be lover; and Werner Klemperer as his attorney (when Clem calls him in the middle of the night one expects the rudely awoken lawyer to bellow “Hoo-gaaan!” into the receiver). There’s even a juicy bit for John Hoyt, [14] familiar to fans of the Twilight Zone for his roles in the episodes “Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up? [15]” (Serling’s narration describes him perfectly as “a bitter dandy”) and “The Lateness of the Hour [16].”[11] [17]

    The script handles the usual B and noir-ish elements of coincidence – lifted wallets, counter-signed checks, long-lost relatives – with aplomb and some cleverness; for instance, there’s an improbable but interesting moment when Clem, intent on seducing an ingénue, a la All About Eve, contrives to get her cast in a play. It’s not until the Connecticut tryout that he discovers the play includes a plot point of a rich theatrical seducer whom the leading lady turns down flat (I guess Clem never bothered to look at the script); after having to sit through this in the audience (to de Carlo’s undisguised amusement) the same scene is later played out in real life (in effect, she’s rehearsed the role!)

    To top it off, those aforementioned sets are filmed to maximum effect by the legendary cinematographer James Wong Howe – crane shots up and down Sabourin’s massive spiral staircase trace his rise and fall — and Max Steiner himself contributes one of his epic scores; it may be a B picture, but every character has his own Wagnerian leitmotif.[12] [18]

    All this cinematic goodness is written, produced, and director by that Wellesian doppelganger, Charles Martin.

    Who is this Charles Martin? Certainly not the runt from The Untouchables (Charles Martin Smith). Nor is he Charles Martin “Professor of English Emeritus at Queensborough Community College at the City University of New York,” no matter what Google says.[13] [19]

    In fact, information on Mr. Martin is surprisingly sparse; even the Internet Movie Database provides only birth and death dates, besides a list of credits.

    Martin wrote, director or produced a dozen or so films, although this is the only time he combined all three roles. The rest of his filmography suggests someone with a knack for jumping on a bandwagon.

    One Man Jury, for instance, seems to combine Dirty Harry with Death Wish; If He Hollers… combines the Oscar™-baiting In the Heat of the Night with the lesser genre of blacksploitation. There there’s an Ed Wood-type descent into 70s-style sexy trash like How to Seduce a Woman; and Sweet Smell of Sex.[14] [20]

    Nothing, in short, to suggest either the relative skill shown in the movie under review, or even how Martin managed, or was allowed, to put together for one time only such a cast and crew. Another Hollywood mystery to be solved!

    Now, I said there were two things interesting here, what was in the movie and what wasn’t. What wasn’t is something of a Hollywood mystery as well, or rather, an example of Hollywood crypsis [21].

    Remember this above:

    Reviews noted the resemblance between “Clementi Sabourin” and real-life New York financier Serge Rubinstein, an amoral, Russian-born immigrant who had a genius for manipulating money.

    Now, it would be gross racism and stereotyping to the nth degree to infer that a Russian-born immigrant who had a genius for manipulating money, who just happened to be named Rubinstein, was of a particular race.

    So, let’s ask his rabbi, or at least the rabbi who performed the funeral:

    At his funeral, rabbi Dr. Julius Mark of Temple Emanu-El [22] made this assessment of Rubinstein’s life:

    The word ‘paradox’ best describes the strangely complex, ambiguous and unquestioned psychopathic personality of Serge Rubinstein. He possessed a brilliant mind but was utterly lacking in wisdom. He had a genius for acquiring wealth, yet never learned that money is a good servant but a harsh master. He wanted friends and never had them, since he never seemed to realize that to have friends one must be a friend. He wanted love, but never knew that love must be earned, and cannot be bought. He declared that America was the finest of all countries, yet stubbornly scorned those who pleaded with him to answer America’s call to service.  These remarks generated some controversy but were defended by other clergy.[10] [23]

    Project much, Rabbi? For though the personality so described is surely “paradoxical,” it is not paradoxical that Rubinstein should have, nevertheless, been one of the Chosen, as the Rabbi wants to insinuate. Indeed, just this very constellation of traits has been recently characterized as ashkepathy [24]:

    The Hoaxin’ have on average a much higher incidence of both the genes which predispose to paranoia and the genes which predispose to psychopathy and aggression.

    This gene combination appears to be stunningly effective at boosting IQ test scores and presumably the material success (and possibly sexual success, at least for the males — any reader have a study I could cite here?) of the people possessing it, but it comes at a great cost to the society in which this kind of person is numerically and socially significant.

    The personality trait combination of high anxiety with high aggression/psychopathy is rare among human groups, and really deserves its own categorization: ashkepathy. On the B5 inventory, a person with ashkepathy would score high on Neuroticism and low on Agreeableness. There aren’t many studies specifically examining the Ashkenazi personality profile which could corroborate the emerging genetic evidence of a distinct Ashkenazi personality, but one study did find that Jews have a higher overall “General Factor of Personality”, which showed moderately higher levels of Neuroticism and (oddly) slightly higher Agreeableness.

    All this, of course, is carefully hidden away in this Hollywood production, starting with “Clemenit Sabourini” as played by George Sanders. Sanders was literally born to play the role, since not only does it suit his off-screen personality, he was, like Rubinstein, born in Russia, despite his echt-British demeanor.

    But, like the black enamel coating acquired by the Maltese Falcon,[15] [25] even the most anodyne sources can see something is up. Someone at a site called Pop Matters says:

    It’s the story of a Czech refugee, fresh from a Nazi camp for unspecified reasons, who believes his brother (Tom Conway, Sanders’ real brother) has stolen his money and his girlfriend. In a fit of cold-blooded rage, he betrays his brother to the police (thus killing him) and makes his way to America, where it takes him five minutes to amass a fortune on the stock market thanks to a web of coincidence, chutzpah and larceny. Most of the film recounts his machinations with beady-eyed glee, from his various flirtations to the swindle that causes countless investors to lose their money while he stays rich. In other words, it hasn’t dated at all.[16] [26]

    If you look closely, there’s something here about Old World corruption and moral bankruptcy transferred to postwar America, with the brutal tactics of fascism supplanted by the tender mercies of the market.

    “Old World corruption”? Yes, “Clementi Sabourni” as played by Sanders is a “old world” figure, a poisoned bit of marzipan, right out of The Third Man (Welles again!).[17] [27] When I think of financial swindlers, I think of checks – I mean, Czechs. Especially the ones with those hoity-toity accents.

    And in a typical touch, Sabourni is assisted by his second-generation Irish immigrant pals, “Bridget Kelley” (de Carlo) and one known only as “Mr O’Hara” (tells you all you need to know[18] [28]). Thus is the WASP’s suspicions deflected to his hereditary foe, the dishonest Micks.[19] [29]

    As another reviewer ingenuously points out [30]:

    Overlong and repetitive, the action follows Sanders as he treads the familiar path from stony-broke immigrant to spendthrift playboy – movie moguls never tire of telling us that America was the land of opportunity.

    And we know who those “moguls” are, don’t we?

    Death of a Scoundrel is definitely a guilty pleasure, but a pleasure nonetheless.  TCM’s website says [31] that “While Death of a Scoundrel is no masterpiece compared to Citizen Kane, it’s still enormously entertaining trash,” but strives for significance by observing that,

    In many ways, Sanders’ cynical attitude toward romance shares a philosophical link with the cinema of German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder where love is often viewed as a master-slave relationship between two individuals.

    Why not drag Hegel in too?  Or Marx – wait, don’t bring him up. But forget Fassbinder; the significance lies in its hidden in plain sight exemplification of ethnic crypsis.

    Notes

    [1] [32] “A Single Brownstone Remains Between 62nd and 63rd” by Christopher Gray; REAL ESTATE | STREETSCAPES | FIFTH AVENUE (Feb 10, 2011), online here [33].

    [2] [34] A story in itself: “Rubinstein made extensive attempts to avoid the draft during World War II. He claimed that he was the sole support for seven dependents, with only a relatively low income. (He had married in 1941 to Laurette Kilbourne and they had two children, Alexandria and Dianna.) He also claimed that he worked for vital defense industries. Later, he claimed as a Portuguese citizen from a neutral country, that he could not serve in the United States armed forces. He was indicted for lying about his income to the draft board, when he claimed he only earned $11,000 in 1940, but actually earned $337,000. He was convicted as a draft evader and served two years in the federal penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania from 1947 to 1949.” – Wikipedia, here [35].

    [3] [36] Itself, apparently “inspired” by an hour-long TV documentary in 1955.

    [4] [37]  In addition to online streaming [38], Amazon.com now makes copies of this DVD [39], on demand, at a typical price, and it otherwise belongs to Warner Bros., which somehow took it over from RKO Radio Pictures. So far, Warner Bros. seems OK with this setup. Incredibly, there was a laserdisc release [40], also available from Amazon.

    [5] [41] Always good to see my Canadian cousins get a shout out!

    [6] [42] Later, he would be reduced to playing opposite a demonic frog in Psychomania (Don Sharp, 1973); see the review here [43].

    [7] [44] While Welles assumed he needed multiple narrators to convey all the needed information, writer-director Martin, in true B fashion, solves the problem by just ignoring it, letting De Carlo narrate the everything, whether she was there or not, and even the Czech scenes before she meets him.

    [8] [45] He’s not entirely one-dimensional, though, which does give Sanders some room to “act.” The New York Times noted in its original review [46] that “It should be mentioned, however, that the scenarist-director apparently was not certain whether to make his central character a complete villain or merely a dastard with some decency. As the story is unfolded in flashback, he is shown as being contrite on occasion. He begs for his mother’s forgiveness although he has wounded her to the quick. He changes his mind about ruining the career of the decorative young actress who spurned his advances. And he does an about-face in admitting that he loves the girl he dragged from the gutter to financial respectability. In short, it is often difficult to ascertain whether our “scoundrel” really deserves that designation.”

    [9] [47] The brothers had previously appeared – again, as brothers – in The Falcon’s Brother (1942), part of George’s successful run as suave film sleuth The Falcon [48] (which Leslie Charteris, creator of The Saint, called “a bargain-basement imitation”), after which Conway took over the role. Conway later played The Saint on radio, which Sanders had already played in his own series of films before The Falcon. By 1956, his career had declined to the point of appearing in The She Creature (ironically, with Chester Morris, who had had his own brief career as a film sleuth, Boston Blackie, during the same period as Conway’s Falcon), later found worthy of appearing on Mystery Science Theater. The filmmakers must have thought his undisguised British accent signaled upper class, though he’s apparently playing an American. When Conway gives Morris his hard-nosed marketing philosophy – “Hit ‘em and hit ‘em hard!” – in accents of a Cambridge don, Mike Nelson exclaims “Lord Knute Rockne!”

    [10] [49] Another link to Welles, through Touch of Evil. Sanders later married one of her sisters.

    [11] [50] He was also  KAOS [51] agent Conrad Bunny in the Get Smart [52]episode “Our Man in Toyland,” as Dr. Philip Boyce in the pilot episode of NBC’s Star Trek [53] (“The Cage [54]“); and appeared on Hogan’s Heroes too.

    [12] [55] The cues, with the RKO Radio Studio Orchestra conducted by Max Steiner himself, is available digitally here. [56]

    [13] [57] A search for Charles Martin [58] pulls up a little sidebar on Google, which gives this guy the birth and death dates of our Martin, along with “people also search for” suggestions of our guy’s movies and their stars.

    [14] [59] Perhaps a return to form, suggesting the 50s hit Sweet Smell of Success?

    [15] [60] “In 1840 it appeared in Paris. It had by then acquired a coat of black enamel so that it looked like nothing more than a fairly interesting black statuette. In that disguise, sir, it was, you might say, kicked around Paris for more than three score years, by private owners too stupid to see what it was under the skin. Then in 1923, a Greek dealer named Charilaos Konstantinides found it in an obscure shop. No thickness of enamel could conceal value from his eyes. You begin to believe me a little?” Kasper Gutman, The Maltese Falcon (Huston, 1941). Gutman is another Judaic conman under a thick coating of British upper-class voice and mannerisms.

    [16] [61] No doubt a reference to Tribesman Madoff.

    [17] [62] An absurd, made-up name, it seems to me; typically, online reviewers seem confused about the spelling and even nationality, many naturalizing it to Sabourini or such, but the credits and in-film headlines have it as Sabourin.

    [18] [63] Though, absurdly, played by John Hoyt, another echt-WASP who was born John McArthur Hoysradt in Bronxville, New York, the son of Warren J. Hoysradt, an investment banker, and his wife, Ethel Hoysradt, née Wolf. He attended the Hotchkiss School and Yale University, where he served on the editorial board of campus humor magazine The Yale Record. He obtained a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Yale. He worked as a history instructor at the Groton School for two years. He was a talented imitator (crypsis!) and his impression of Noël Coward got him the starring role in the Broadway version of The Man Who Came to Dinner.

    [19] [64] It’s a trope with a long history and long legs; 60 years after DoS, the producers of Mad Men present their Tribesmen as plucky, put-upon outsiders, while the Jewish takeover of advertising is presented in the form of an Irish agency, McCann (Leif?) Erickson. For more on crypsis in Mad Men, see James J. O’Meara: The End of an Era: Mad Men and the Ordeal of Civility (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2015).

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Mad Men Jumps the Gefilte Fish Part Three: The Country of the Blind, Continued
    (”The Untouchables” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    4,217

    [1]Part 3 of 3

    “You’ll hang higher than Haman!”

    Today’s Mad Men, though set in the same era as Advise and Consent, portrays a very different world — in fact, an inversion. Mad Men’s sacrificial suicide victim, Lane Pryce, is a re-writing of Harley Hudson, giving him Brig’s secret crime and failed resolution.

    Pryce, who first appeared in Season Two as a financial overseer when Sterling Cooper was sold to a British conglomerate, comes to like living in New York rather than London, and especially rather than New Delhi, which is where he’s to be transferred “as a reward” for a job well done. So, in the Season Three finale, he conspires with Bert, Roger, and Don to steal the firm and its clients out from under his old masters. He is rewarded with a name on the door, but this requires him to pay in equity to the firm. Now in Season Five we learn that he did so by selling his British stock portfolio; since the new firm hasn’t prospered as he expected, he faces a ruinous tax assessment. Pryce forges Don’s signature on a company check to give himself a “thirteen day loan” but is tripped up when the Christmas bonuses are delayed. Desperate for the money, he cashes the check anyway. Bert eventually finds the cancelled check while bumbling around the office and informs Don; confronted, Pryce asserts that the money is his anyway since he made the firm possible, for which he’s never been rewarded, but Don demands that Pryce resign. Pryce sets his affairs in order and goes home to read up on suicide. He attempts to asphyxiate himself in the Jaguar his wife bought him in expectation of the bonus, but the notoriously unreliable British car fails to start. Pryce eventually hangs himself on his office door, leaving a pro forma suicide note that reveals his contempt for the partners.

    This time, the sin is financial, and its discovery by Bert/Seeb leads not to his elevation to higher office but his hanging in his old office. Rather than triumphing, Pryce will be dragged down from his high position (unlike Harley who strides down in his new estate) and suicided (like Brig).

    Such reversals are characteristically Judaic. The Old Testament is a sequence of stories where the “hero” is lauded for overcoming his superior through lying, cheating, and other trickery, from Jacob, whose very name means “supplanter,” to the much lionized David, who comes to prominence by cheating on the field of honor.[12] The impudent, “you got a problem with that” style puts the lie to any notion that “sharp dealing” is an “irrational stereotype.”[13]

    What is perhaps uniquely Judaic is not merely the reversal, but also the subsequent gloating, overdone, vulgar, and never ending. Here the locus classicus is the story of Esther, where Haman is not just thwarted, but hanged on the very gallows he had planned for Mordecai; moreover, the Hebrews then embark on another of their “justified” orgies of genocide, and have continued to “celebrate” their “victory’ to this day in the carnivalesque feast of Purim.[14]

    In fact, when I said dragged down then suicided, I might better have said dragged down and then hung up, or hanged, as Pryce’s means of suicide is Haman’s mode of execution.

    Which is an interesting change: while Brig’s suicide is relatively discreet, in the style of the times — a gun shot heard from his office washroom, oddly resembling the suicide of General Jack Ripper in the next year’s Dr. Strangelove — Lane’s end is given the whole Judaic “c’mon, don’t be hypocritically squeamish” treatment, his body taken down by the three partners and laid out on a sofa in some crass version of Christ’s deposition from the cross, his face ashen, in a sequence that shocked viewers almost as much as the treatment of Joan (though excellently performed by Jared Harris).

    I think the change of method is significant. The writers are not just reversing Harley’s character, leaving the WASP with no honorable fate, but even going further: reversing no less than the ur-archetype of the Aryan, Wotan himself.

    You may recall that I noted a moment in The Untouchables [2] when Malone frightens a crook into cooperation by holding another crook against the wall — only Malone and Ness know he’s already dead, a corpse — and shooting his head off. I connected this to the shamanic motif, in particular the mythological trope of Wotan and the Runes. Wotan hangs himself for three days to learn the meaning of the Runes; Malone hangs up the corpse to learn the meaning of the code in Capone’s logbooks.

    But what is the threat Malone delivers to the corpse?

    “You’ll hang higher than Haman!”

    I would suggest, then, that Haman and Wotan are symbolic opposites, that rather than Wotan, who acquires knowledge through self-hanging, Haman is the clever plotter, foiled and then “hoist by his own petard” by the trickier Hebrew. And in this episode of Mad Men, not only is Harley’s character reconfigured into a failure and suicide, his attributes of Superior Man or chakravartin are reconfigured as a failed Wotan.

    I’ve already identified Harley and Wallace as what Jack Donovan would call “runts” who make up for their size with knowledge — Wallace of the tax code, Harley of parliamentary procedure. Both can thus be further identified specifically with Wotan as well.

    Wallace is hanged in the elevator by Frank Nitti, while I would characterized the rostrum of the Senate, from which Harley presides, then steps down from when exiting to take the oath of office, as being similar to the World Tree that Wotan hangs from — like the World Tree, it is the World Center to which all attention is directed, like radii, — from the floor, to the visitors’ gallery, to the public, including the Oval Office, listening intently to the vote on radio — though perhaps not literally located in the middle of the chamber; it is probably made of wood, and like both the Tree and Wallace’s elevator, it is a liminal location where one can move up and down.[15]

    As we might expect, Pryce’s Wotan-attributes are largely negative. His rune-lore, in the form of ad agency accounting, is just a bunch of contemptible tricks and schemes, unworthy of a noble, first annoying the American partners when he acts as auditor for the new British owners, then proving his runt-worth by devising a plan for them to steal the firm out from under the limeys.[16]

    He confrontation with Pete over the latter’s bungling of a potential client — which we now know Pryce desperately needed to make the firm profitable to hide his embezzlement — unlike Harley’s with Ackerman, involves no intellectual cleverness at all but just fisticuffs — admittedly, seeing Pete “get plastered,” as William F. Buckley threatened to do to Gore Vidal, was rather cathartic for the audience, but still beneath the dignity of a supposed Wotan. And his attempt to cover his mounting debts — caused by his vanity-driven partnership buy-in, as well as his inability to discipline his wife’s spending — by forging a payout from the company becomes, like Brig’s secret, his ruination.

    Finally, Pryce’s attempt to read up on suicide methods — acquire knowledge of the runes — becomes a macabre joke. Deciding to asphyxiate himself in the Jaguar whose purchase by his wife was the last straw, the notoriously lousy car fails to start. Here, in his apartment building’s garage — another liminal setting, this time underground — the Wotan motifs are become more obvious, preparing us for the most obvious one of all, the hanging.

    Pryce settles in the car and then snaps his spectacles in half. Now, as someone who wears glasses himself, I found this odd; is this a common thing for myopic suicides I asked myself? Online discussions of the scene, which others found odd as well, suggested this was to demonstrate “no turning back.” We, on the other hand, might connect it with the breaking of Wotan’s staff, here a self-inflicted wound, rather than, as in the opera Siegfried, reflecting the triumph of Siegfried over the dead hand of fate (and itself a reversal of Wotan’s action in Die Walküre).

    But more importantly, the failure of the car to start forces Pryce to try to decipher the manual — more rune-reading — and to do so fashions a crude monocle. I think the screen shot makes it pretty clear that we are to see him, if only subliminally, or collective- unconsciously, as the one-eyed Wotan.[17]

    Since everything is reversing, Pryce moves from his one-eyed state to his hanged state. His corpse’s face, grey, ashen, suggests the World Tree, which is an ash — as the Norns sing, Wotan’s rash act of tearing off a branch to fashion his spear has killed the Tree:

    The wound, as time grew old,
    wasted the life of the wood;
    sere, leafless and stricken, fast faded the tree . . .

    In fact, a few seasons back, Pryce confronted, or rather, was confronted by, his own father, a bearded giant of a man who struck him down with . . . his stick. We see that not only is the age of Wotan in the past, but it is a past that Pryce, like Brig, will never be able to overcome, and which will eventually lead to his death.

    The final Judaic touch: when Bert reads Pryce’s suicide note, he exclaims in amazement:

    “It’s just boilerplate!”

    Oy, the WASP with his fancy-schmancy woids and cultcha, he’s ultimately just another Hollow Man. Rather than acquiring knowledge of the runes and gifting it to others, Pryce communicates nothing.

    So we see that for our age, Mad Men has fashioned for us a Purim Masquerade, featuring Wotan/Harley, an empty suit stuffed like a Guy Fawkes dummy who, rather than provide an inspiring contrast to Brig, will wind up as not merely as a failure, but a pathetic one. The 1960s world of Aryan men of honor, presented without question even by a Liberal progressive like Otto Preminger, has in Mad Men been replaced, or “unmasked” as the producers would say — though that’s typical Judaic double-talk since it’s really, like Purim, more a deceptive masking than an revelatory unmasking — as a world of money-grubbing chiselers and failures, soon to be replaced by another race that’s better at, and more honest about, the grubbing.[18]

    They have, we might say, “revoked the Ninth.”[19]

    Twilight of the Mad Men 

    Finally, let’s round up some stray doubles to illustrate the many levels of synchronicity found between the movie and the later TV show, and the kinds of significance that may emerge as we contemplate them.

    As Evola says, although principles are principles, context matters, and the same principle in a different setting will yield different results. In their climactic confrontation in Advise and Consent, where Munson rejects Ackerman’s blackmailing methods and forces him to flee the chamber, we see that Munson/Ackerman/Brig (though already dead) doubles in Mad Men Bert’s rejection of Campbell’s attempt to blackmail Don (who “really” died in Korea), but elsewhere things are otherwise. When the dynamic is Munson versus Cooley, it’s Robert Morse’s Bert that doubles Charles Laughton’s Sen. Seeb Cooley, with his eccentric, old fashioned ways, stout figure and goatee suggesting Cooley’s cornpone Senator.

    And Walter Pidgeon’s Majority Leader Munson, slick old silver fox and ladies’ man, will then be Bert’s “junior” partner, Roger Sterling. Sterling represents the Silver Age of the WASP, still on top thanks to Daddy’s clients (the firm was Sterling Cooper because of his father, Bert’s partner) but sinking fast and not knowing just why. His WASP rule is as phony as Don’s identity, both the targets of a pushy, knowing new generation of Judaics.

    That sinking away is seen in the opening animation. From day one, fans have speculated that it’s Don, finally jumping out the window; this enabled the producers to distract attention from Pryce turning out to be the suicide in the penultimate episode. Don won’t kill himself, at least not until the very last scene; as the embodiment of Aryan evil, he must be shown to destroy all who come in contact with him — the “real” Don Draper as well as his “real” brother, and Pryce’s wife, we’ll see, will blame Don for his death — thus providing the narrative motor. Like that real life embodiment of Aryan Evil, Hitler, he can’t die until his usefulness is over; hence the “Hitler is alive” rumors and “New Hitler” enemies.

    Like Majority Leader Munson, or John McCain, Sterling “represents the majority” but since Mad Men is a later, Judaic version, Sterling’s character fades into the background rather than taking the lead like Munson, played as a man behind the times with his drinking, smoking and adultery, even saddled with a Jewish ex-wife — a typical method of Judaic infiltration — despite all of which he is probably the fans’ favorite.

    But who’s Advise and Consent’s equivalent of Don Draper? Although the Homosexual Secret plot was given to Sal, who was exposed and tossed aside, not only by the firm but by the show’s Judaic producers,[20] here it serves as the main plot line, or McGuffin, and that makes handsome Sen. Anderson the designated Don Draper character. Remember, Don has become a Family Man as well this season, like Sen. Anderson.

    Just as the partners seem OK with Draper’s “secret” as long as he makes money for them, so the Senators in the supposedly “homophobic” 1950s are OK with Brig — remember, “We don’t want Brig Anderson’s tired old sin made public, whatever it was” — since he is an honorable man. His private life is just that, private. Even the “swinging” is subtle, almost courtly, even with the Kennedy-esque “ladies man” played by Peter Lawford. Aryan Man keeps all things in proportion and proper bounds; they almost resemble the chicks described in American Psycho:

    David Van Patten [3]: A good personality consists of a chick with a little hard body, who will satisfy all sexual demands without being too slutty about it.

    Ironically, in the days before the Senate became a Millionaire’s Club, a forced life away from home and family means everyone has what Pete Campbell can only dream of: a hotel suite in the City, away from the wife.[21] And further irony: it’s the closeted Brig that, like big phony Don, lives the “ideal” family life with wife and kids (albeit with one divorce and one fake marriage).

    Just to tidy things up, Joan on Mad Men is also a double for Brig in Advise and Consent; he’s bisexual, remember? As a woman, she is as much an outsider as the homosexual and (presumably, since he’s from Utah and named “Brigham”) Mormon Brig Anderson. She has her secrets as well, including an affair with Roger, which flared up once after her marriage and produced her child, while her husband was in the Army in Viet Nam, just as Brig’s secret was a single homosexual encounter while serving at Pearl Harbor.

    But while the Senators stand behind Brig and his sexual secret, though perhaps too late, against Van Ackerman, the name partners at SCDP themselves conspire with Peter/Van Ackerman against Joan/Brig and force her to become a prostitute, just as Brig’s long lost partner is now a blackmailing escort in, of course, Sal’s New York homosexual underworld.[22] I wonder if he ever meets up with Sal?

    Envoi

    But let us leave this sad state of affairs and ask ourselves, finally, Bert Cooper’s earlier question: “Who cares?” So what, if an Aryan culture of honor has been replaced by a swarming mob of hucksters? [23]

    For an answer, let us turn again to Burckhardt, who describes what the men of the Renaissance found to be “the strongest bulwark against evil”:

    The highly gifted man of that day thought to find it in the sentiment of honor. This is that enigmatic mixture of conscience and egotism which often survives in the modern man after he has lost, whether by his own fault or not, faith, love, and hope.

    The “mixture” is what the Judaic attacks, impudently claiming that conscience is just a cover for, or really is, egotism. By the time of these Mad Men, only egotism is left.

    This sense of honor is compatible with much selfishness and great vices, and may be the victim of astonishing illusions;

    As in Munson’s speech, quoted in Part One, about all the vices the Senate tolerates in the name of free speech.

    yet, nevertheless, all the noble elements that are left in the wreck of a character may gather around it, and from this fountain may draw new strength.

    This is where Brig failed the test. But in the real ’60s of the film, we still had the likes of Harley as a model, or even, Seeb Cooley, who confesses his guilt and ascends to take Harley’s place as the Senate’s presiding officer.

    It has become, in a far wider sense than is commonly believed, a decisive test of conduct in the minds of the cultivated Europeans of our own day, and many of those who yet hold faithfully by religion and morality are unconsciously guided by this feeling in the gravest decisions of their lives. . . . It is certainly not always easy, in treating of the Italian of this period, to distinguish this sense of honor from the passion for fame, into which, indeed, it easily passes. Yet the two sentiments are essentially different.[24]

    Discussing this passage in the context of “a history of the United States in the twentieth century,” John Lukacs adds that in our time:

    [T]he difference — indeed, the discrepancy — between fame and honor has become so great that in the character of presidents, and in those of public figures in all kinds of endeavor, the passion for fame has well-nigh obliterated the now remote and ancient sense of honor.[25]

    Notes

    12. Sanctimonious Sunday school stories never inform the ignorant that David and Goliath are supposed to meet in single combat, but David “wins” by cheating — he knocks out Goliath from a distance with his slingshot, then runs up and cuts off his head. A comparison of the scruples and conscience shown by Arjuna on the Field of Duty in the Bhagavad Gita displays all we need to know about how different the moral atmosphere of each race is.

    13. Recent archeologists have been forced to conclude that the Judaic invasion of Canaan actually never happened, leading one to speculate about the nature of a people that would ascribe a fictitious genocide to themselves, and then boast about it.

    14. Even today, the Judaic Left, so quick to call for “civility” on the part of the Neo-Judaic Right, celebrates its election victory by demanding mass murder:

    The Blaze [4] reported Tuesday. “These Tea Bag bas***ds who by the way, I just wish they would all just go away — or, like in Passover, I just wish there was an angel of the Lord that would pass over — instead of killing the first born in all the households of Egypt just wipe out all the Tea Baggers,” he said. Malloy, perhaps securing his place as the most unhinged liberal hatemonger on radio, continued by suggesting the “angel” decapitate everyone in the Tea Party. “Just, you know, the terrible swift sword, just lob their heads off,” he added, while making exaggerated “swishing” sounds. — “Libtalker Mike Malloy calls for beheading of conservatives [5]

    15. Just as we first meet Harley through the conversation of the Ambassadors’ wives, commenting on his apparent irrelevance, now near the end another background conversation gives us a clue about him. As the Secret Service men climb the stairs there’s an odd little bit of business in the background; a tour guide explaining a painting to some tourists notes that when the British surrendered Washington refused to accept Cornwallis’s sword, because it was proffered by an officer below him in rank. One thinks perhaps this is to prepare us for the presidential succession, or to strike the right note of aristocratic politics and rank. But did the British military band not play, on that occasion, a tune called — “The World Turn’d Upside Down”? His stately descent and exit from the Senate, presumably to take up residence in the White House, also suggests Wotan’s “Entrance into Valhalla” from Das Rheingold.

    16. We know this is a mean trick, because the British company is headed by the guy who was so nice to über-Judaic Fran Drescher as The Nanny: “Oh, Mr. Sheffieeeeeeeeeeld!”

    17. Not to be confused with the Illuminati’s Eye of Horus. For an exhaustive look at the one-eyed motif thrust at us continuously in pop culture, see the website vigilantcitizen.com [6].

    18. In his essay on “The Myth of Punch,” Count Stenbock notes (p. 11) that in Tom Jones Fielding — a Brit, like Pryce — refers to “Punch and his merry wife Joan.” Is this ultimate source for the symbolic linking of Pryce/Punch and the married but decidedly un-merry Joan?

    19. In Mann’s Doctor Faustus. The Life of the German composer Adrian Leverkühn, told by a friend (1947) the titular composer, aware that his brain is rotting from syphilis, decides to avenge himself on German, that is, Western Culture by using his twelve-tone musical system to “revoke the Ninth Symphony.” We could say that it is atonalism, a Judaic invention if ever they were one, and their own unique “contribution” to Western music, is indeed musical syphilis.

    Arnold Schonberg was so incensed at Leverkühn’s appropriation of “his” methods that he forced Mann to include a note in subsequent additions, admitting the Schonberg’s “ownership” of the method. Of course, as Coomaraswamy often pointed out, no Aryan would ever claim “ownership” of an idea; truth is the property of all, while it is precisely error that is individual and “original.”

    Mann’s relation to the Jews is typically hard to pin down; Faustus contains some excoriating portraits of Judaics, from crooked musical promoters to the “polyhistor” Dr. Chaim Breisacher, who delights in confounding his Prussian hosts with a version of true “conservatism” more barbaric than any Soviet (and based, some speculate, on the equally confounding Julius Evola; the Left’s Evola, Herbert Marcuse, quotes Leverkühn’s revocation in his “Essay on Liberation” — with approval, of course. He also explicitly ties it to the music, of “sensuous” and “frightening immediacy” born in “the dark continent” and “deep South,” in that once-fashionable, now cringe-inducing way of the Peter Paul and Mary Liberal).

    On the other hand, Mann makes sure, right at the start, to have his narrator apologize for having to mention such distasteful characters, to point out that, literally, some of his best friends are Jews, and to explicitly point out “that I was never able to agree fully with our Fuhrer and his paladins.” His narrator, who loses his job but nevertheless stays in Germany, unlike Mann, is no doubt an attempt to atone for his having spent the war in sunny LA.

    20. Sal is the only original Sterling Cooper employee who has never shown up again; I guess he was useful to show up the era’s supposed homophobia — don’t get me started on the absurd idea that no one knew art departments were THE place for homos, just ask Andy Warhol — but ugh, who wants to bring up the faygelehs again, right Matt? Come to think of it, that fey chap Don hired from Season Two seems to have disappeared after outing himself, too; take about exploitation!

    21. Alain Daniélou made the controversial statement (a Traditionalist “gaffe” like talking about the truth of the caste system) that the British Raj collapsed because Victorian morality required wives to come out to live with their husbands in the Civil Service, thus destroying the sexually free-wheeling Männerbund.

    22. Another of Preminger’s cinematic firsts is the first portrayal of a “gay bar” in an American movie. The opening credits indicate a song is to appear, and it turns out to be one verse of a song specially composed to appear on the jukebox during this scene, in a performance grudgingly contributed by Frank Sinatra — remember when he was a “Hollywood Liberal”? The scene itself is so filled with stereotypes of pudgy old losers and young Four Freshman types in J. Crew pullovers that it makes the gay preppy spy gang in Agent for H.A.R.M. or the “gay high school Secret Service” in Red Zone Cuba look like a grisly killing machine. Preminger, Progressive Film Maker or Pseudo-Highbrow Exploitation Hack? It’s always so hard to tell with the Left.

    23. In Why America Failed: The Roots of Imperial Decline (New York: Wiley, 2012), Morris Berman insists that America has always been a “nation of hustlers” on the make. From this perhaps deeper perspective, the New England WASP, with his Puritan moralism that never really seemed to conflict with making a buck — one thinks of the Quaker owners of the Pequod in Moby Dick — was always just a crypto-Judaic at heart. Interestingly for an academic leftist, he has kind words for the cavalier culture of the South. He now lives in Mexico. See the interview on Alternet here [7] and especially the review at Second Vermont Republic here [8]. This would be in accord with the general European Right view of America as essentially a Judaic creation in the New World, destined to destroy White homelands.

    24. Part Six: Morality and Religion, Chapter 2, “Morality and Immorality,” available here [9].

    25. John Lukacs: Outgrowing Democracy: A History of the United States in the Twentieth Century (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1984), p. 288.

     

    ...
    (Review Source)

PJ Media Staff6
PJ Media



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Including Sean Connery In The Untouchables
    Ed Driscoll Connery's overall performance was pretty awesome in Brian DePalma's 1987 big screen version of The Untouchables, though the Oscar he won for best supporting actor is likely more for his overall career than his role in the movie itself. But Connery's accent in the film is  much more of his own Scottish brogue than anything authentically Irish sounding. So it's not surprising that he  made the cut in this collection of video clips assembled by the British Screen Rush Website of "The Worst Irish Accents In The History Of Cinema." class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2010/3/17/sean-connery-in-the-untouchables/ ]]>
    ...
    (Review Source)
  • The 20 Best Films of the 1980s
    Lifestyle var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Arthur (1981) Trailer', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); Editor's Note: This is an expansion of Kyle Smith's list of the 10 best films of the 1980s published here in June. I've asked Kyle to expand his series as PJ Lifestyle begins offering more lists, articles, essays, and blog posts exploring culture, art, technology, and history by decade. Do you disagree with Kyle's choices? Do you have your own ideas for lists of movies or other cultural subjects? Which years and what subjects would you most like to see covered at PJ Lifestyle? Email: DaveSwindlePJM [@] gmail.com Also check out Kyle's top 10 movie picks for the '30s,  '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s,  '90s, and the '00s before he expands them to top 20s.20. Arthur (1981)A throwback to '30s screwball comedies, this light confection about a drunken playboy (Dudley Moore, in his prime) and the caustic butler (Oscar-winner John Gielgud) who serves as his counselor, nanny and father figure showcased Moore’s comic gifts but was also an oddly endearing buddy movie. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/9/12/the-20-best-films-of-the-1980s/ previous Page 1 of 20 next   ]]>
    ...
    (Review Source)
  • 10 Tough Leadership Lessons from Great Movies
    Lifestyle var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Twelve O'Clock High Theatrical Movie Trailer (1949)', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); No matter what the dream, to make it come true takes leadership. Luckily, Hollywood can help. Here are 10 films that teach important lessons for leading in tough times.10. How to Turn Failing into WinningTwelve O’Clock High (1949) is set in the early days of the American daylight bombing raids over Nazi Germany. The Allied bombers are getting clobbered. Meet Gen. Frank Savage (Gregory Peck), who has just been put into command of a bomber wing that is falling apart. To make matters worse, the previous commander was well loved by all.  Savage has to earn their respect, instill the unit with vision and purpose, and turn his beleaguered bombers into a war-winning machine. Because the film is a realistic portrayal of the dynamics of turning around a failing organization, the U.S. Navy and Air Force still use it in leadership training. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/7/29/10-tough-leadership-lessons-from-great-movies/ previous Page 1 of 10 next   ]]>
    ...
    (Review Source)
  • DEBUNKING DAVID MAMET. David Mamet
    (”The Untouchables” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Ed Driscoll DEBUNKING DAVID MAMET. David Mamet made his name by writing edgy plays with crackling dialogue in the early 1980s, and then contributing that same ear for incredible dialogue to mainstream Hollywood films. Remember "That's the Chicago Way" from The Untouchables? Those wonderful riffs from "Wag the Dog"? Did you bother to watch "Ronin", a so-so action film, but with lines like "Have you ever killed anybody?" DeNiro:"I hurt somebody's feelings once." If so, that's Mamet.Flak Magazine recently put up an article by Matt Fisher (who's email is [email protected]/* https://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2002/3/12/debunking-david-mamet-david-mamet/ ]]>
    ...
    (Review Source)
  • The 10 Best Films of the 1990s
    (”The Untouchables” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Lifestyle var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'The Lion King (Trailer)', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); 10. The Lion King (1994).The importance of The Little Mermaid (1989) and Beauty and the Beast (1991) in reviving Broadway musical-style animation shouldn’t be underestimated, and Pixar’s entry into filmmaking with Toy Story (1995) was revolutionary, but it’s the African saga based on Hamlet that gave animated storytelling a depth, seriousness and resonance it hadn’t had since Pinocchio. Now that we’re used to seeing one or two great animated films a year, it’s hard to remember how special it was for a movie to carry so much appeal to both adults and kids. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/6/27/the-10-best-films-of-the-1990s/ previous Page 1 of 10 next   ]]>
    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Sean Penn Embarrasses Himself in Over-Acted Gangster Squad
    (”The Untouchables” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Lifestyle The movie is called Gangster Squad but it’s so inept that I kept thinking of Police Squad! -- the 1980s spoof TV show that gave us the stone-faced detective Frank Drebin and led to the Naked Gun movies.Gangster Squad stars a top cast -- Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin as cops trying to break up a criminal racket, Emma Stone as Gosling’s girl, and Sean Penn as vicious gangster and ex-boxer Mickey Cohen. All of them are terrible, but special mention must be made of Penn’s performance as the lethal Cohen, who rules the underworld and owns the police in 1949 Los Angeles. Penn, who for reasons I couldn’t fathom plays the part under a fake nose and a prosthetic brow that make him look like Herman Munster, does a piece of cartoonish overacting, all snarls and shouts, that would have embarrassed the cast of the 1960s Batman.Moreover, the action of Gangster Squad is so ludicrous that you half expect “Ker-BLAM!” and “BIFF!” to pop up in quotation balloons on the screen. Brolin plays Sgt. John O’Mara, a tough-as-nails cop who accepts an assignment from his grizzled boss (Nick Nolte) to make war on Cohen’s crime outfit. The Sarge isn’t expected to make arrests, though: Cohen has so many cops on his payroll that that would be a waste of time. Sarge’s brief is to spend the movie destroying Cohen’s property and generally terrifying his minions until the final showdown. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2013/1/11/sean-penn-embarrasses-himself-in-over-acted-gangster-squad/ previous Page 1 of 3 next   ]]>
    ...
    (Review Source)

Christian Toto3
Hollywood In Toto



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • The Hanks-Aykroyd ‘Dragnet’ Deserved Better
    (”The Untouchables” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    The Hanks-Aykroyd ‘Dragnet’ Deserved Better

    “Dragnet” may not be the ultimate ’80s comedy, but it screams 1987 in ways that were unintended and quite intriguing.

    Here are the facts.

    Dan Aykroyd stars as Joe Friday,

    The post The Hanks-Aykroyd ‘Dragnet’ Deserved Better appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Why ‘Carlito’s Way’ Is Superior to De Palma’s ‘Scarface’
    (”The Untouchables” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    carlitos way brian de palma review

    In Brian De Palma’s “Carlito’s Way,” Al Pacino plays the “JP Morgan of the smack business.”

    Carlito Brigante has been a criminal for 25 years and has spent five years

    The post Why ‘Carlito’s Way’ Is Superior to De Palma’s ‘Scarface’ appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • De Palma’s ‘Domino’ Could Be His Worst … Ever
    (”The Untouchables” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    DOMINO de palma review

    Brian De Palma’s “Domino” begins in Copenhagen, and for no apparent reason, in the barely-distant future of “June 10, 2020.”

    An investigation between two cops, Christian (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Lars

    The post De Palma’s ‘Domino’ Could Be His Worst … Ever appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

    ...
    (Review Source)

The Weekly Standard Staff2
The Weekly Standard



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • What 'Deep Throat' Really Wanted
    (”The Untouchables” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    Max Holland

    I used to have this annual argument at Christmas with my brother-in-law, a well-regarded film editor in Hollywood.

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • The 'White Rat'
    (”The Untouchables” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Mark Felt—Watergate's 'Deep Throat'—wasn't interested in bringing down Nixon; he wanted the FBI's top job.
    ...
    (Review Source)

Kyle Smith1
National Review



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Chasing Bonnie and Clyde
    (”The Untouchables” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    The Highwaymen, just released on Netflix, punctures the myths surrounding the murderous Barrow gang.
    ...
    (Review Source)

Mark Steyn1
Fox News



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • No Way Out
    (”The Untouchables” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    As you'll know from this morning, I regard "the Russia investigation" as the world's most interminable MacNuffin. Still, I thought for our Saturday movie date it might be appropriate to have a film on a related theme. I mentioned North by Northwest, in
    ...
    (Review Source)

Kelly Jane Torrance1
The Weekly Standard



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Costner's 'Swing Vote'
    (”The Untouchables” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    Kevin Costner is an old-fashioned movie star. He's an Oscar-winning director and a financier-producer, too. He's also a plain ol' movie lover. Published August 1, 2008

    ...
    (Review Source)

The Federalist Staff2
The Federalist



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Realistic Patriotism Makes ‘12 Strong’ A War Movie Worth Watching
    (”The Untouchables” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    ‘12 Strong’ is a welcome change from the ‘We’re all to blame’ war movies that leftists in Hollywood crank out.
    ...
    (Review Source)

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