“We gotta have control of what happens to us.”
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Dir. Stanley Kramer. Perf. Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle
Sid Caesar, Buddy Hackett, Ethel Merman, Mickey Rooney, Dick Shawn, Phil Silvers, Terry-Thomas, Jonathan Winters, Edie Adams, Dorothy Provine, Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, Peter Falk, Jimmy Durante. United Artists, 1963.
The age of intellectuals is full of surprises and paradoxes. One would have thought, for instance, that in societies dominated by intellectuals the atmosphere would be ideal for the performance of poets, writers, and artists.
What we find instead is that a ruling intellectual hierarchy tends to hamper or even stifle the creative individual. The reason for this paradox is that when intellectuals come to power it is as a rule the meagerly endowed among them who rule the roost.
The genuinely creative person seems to lack the temperament requisite for the seizure, exercise, and, above all, the retention of power.
If Hitler had the talents of a great painter or architect, if Lenin and Stalin had had the making of great theoreticians, if Napoleon and Mussolini had had it in them to become great poets or philosophers, they might not have developed an unappeasable hunger for power.
Now, one of the chief proclivities of people who hunger for literary or artistic greatness but lack talents is to interfere with the creativeness of others. They derive an exquisite satisfaction from imposing their taste and style on the gifted and brilliant.
Throughout most of history the creative intellectual was at his best in societies dominated not by “men of words” but by men of action who were culturally literate.
Hoffer, Eric. The Temper of Our Time. New York: Harper & Row, 1966.
“It’s the things that we admire or want that enslave us.”
The film and novel focus on Howard Roark, an individualistic young architect who chooses to struggle in obscurity rather than compromise his artistic and personal vision, following his battle to practice what the public sees as modern architecture, which he believes to be superior, despite an establishment centered on tradition-worship.
The complex relationships between Roark and the various kinds of individuals who assist or hinder his progress, or both, allow the film to be at once a romantic drama and a philosophical work. Roark is Rand’s embodiment of the human spirit, and his struggle represents the struggle between individualism and collectivism.
The Fountainhead. Dir. King Vidor. Perf. Gary Cooper, Patricia Neal, Raymond Massey, Kent Smith. Warner Bros., 1949.
The movie stars Kathleen Turner, in a performance that must be seen to be believed. How does she play a 17-year-old? Not by trying to actually look 17, because the movie doesn’t try to pull off that stunt (the convention is that the heroine looks adult to us, but like a teenager to the other characters).
Turner, who is actually 32, plays a teenager by making certain changes in her speech and movement: She talks more impetuously, not waiting for other people to reply, and she walks in that heedless teenage way of those who have not yet stumbled often enough to step carefully.
There is a moment when she throws herself down on her bed, and never mind what she looks like, it feels like a 17-year-old sprawled there. Her performance is a textbook study in body language: She knows that one of the symptoms of growing older is that you arrange your limbs more thoughtfully in repose.
—Roger Ebert, in his 1986 review of Peggy Sue Got Married
Turner discusses her favorite scene in a 1991 interview with Oprah Winfrey
Ruth’s outreach might be desperate and clumsy, but she at least recognizes that some sort of effort is needed. Her kids refuse to meet her halfway. “Fine, I’ll just keep waiting like I have been,” Ruth says with steely resignation. As she later sobs over old family pictures, though, we see that she’s waiting not for the future but for a past moment that might never return.
—John Teti, A.V. Club
“The Invisible Woman.” By Bruce Eric Kaplan. Six Feet Under. HBO, Los Angeles. 31 Mar. 2002.
Perhaps the most unabashed case for rejecting Adams’ “inhuman” theories, however, comes from someone who actually takes them seriously. In his 1919 review of The Education, Robert Shafer criticizes what he understands to be the human costs of Adams’ “suicidal doctrines”:
“Everything recognizable as distinctly human is swept away, swallowed up in the anarchy of mechanical energies into whose presence the modern scientist proudly ushers us . . . a waste place inhuman and desolate beyond words to cry our woe. . . . Let us by all means admit that the universe is real . . . but let us not therefore deny our own humanity, distorting ourselves into mere helpless mechanisms. . . .
Every man is aware of a different world within himself which is his sole possession, by virtue of which he is an individual. . . . And only the man who is conscious that there is a portion of his being which thus differs from, and even opposes itself to, his mortal constitution and its surrounding world of nature and society — only that man has become in the full sense of the word human.”
Taylor, Matthew A. Universes without Us: Posthuman Cosmologies in American Literature. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013.
We are incredibly excited about our 70mm Film Series this week. Unfortunately, we have some bad news. We were able to only find one single print of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in existence, and it is original from the 1968 release.
We began testing prints today and discovered that while the print has very few scratches, it has turned very pink over the years. We have tried to find a replacement print, but this is the only print of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in circulation. . . .
We do believe that in the spirit of repertory film programming and the 70mm Film Festival that we should screen the 70mm film print as it is. The only other option would be a Blu-Ray presentation. We cannot condone that as part of this festival. As we will still be running the film on Saturday at 2pm and Sunday at 5pm, we will now do so at a reduced price of $3 per ticket.
Jennings, Dave. “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is pink.” Music Box Theatre Blog. 14 Feb. 2013.