What Spencer Tracy and Stanley Kramer’s 1960 INHERIT THE WIND has to say to the current sitting UNSUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES in 2022

 

“Henry Drummond: Can’t you understand? That if you take a law like [abortion rights] and you make it a crime —, tomorrow you can make it a crime to teach it in the private schools? And tomorrow you may make it a crime to read about it. And soon you may ban books and newspapers. And then you may turn Catholic against Protestant, and Protestant against Protestant, and try to foist your own religion upon the mind of man. If you can do one, you can do the other. Because fanaticism and ignorance is forever busy, and needs feeding. And soon, your Honor, with banners flying and with drums beating we’ll be marching backward, BACKWARD, through the glorious ages of that Sixteenth Century when bigots burned the man who dared bring enlightenment and intelligence to the human mind!”

 

I don’t know if you can say it any better than that. Even if you have never watched the movie, go look up just that performance by Spencer Tracy, it is one of the greats. Ostensibly about Evolution, the quote also works well for voter suppression, civil rights, and female contraceptive and abortion rights.

And here’s the thing… I’m not in favor of Abortions. It is too my mind a crushing thing. But here’s the thing it is even more a crushing thing to the woman who needs it. No one is in favor of an Abortion. The Abortion itself is not a pleasant or sought after thing. It is a thing of circumstance and for the one who has to make that choice… necessity.

A man does not want anyone telling him what to do with his guns, yet for some reason they feel women should have less rights over their own body and reproductive choices than men demand for inanimate objects. Unless you are going to raise that fetus into adulthood, and support mother and child comfortably for the duration, you don’t get a say over her private choice.

By the pro-life argument, applied to men, women should have the right to tell you what to do with your sperm. Why stop with the fertilized egg having rights that trump the host? Why not also grant the sperm rights that trump the host? Taken to that standard — masturbation or sex for any reason outside of procreation should be considered as much a crime as abortion. If pro-lifers had to apply their nonsensical extremist standard to men that they apply to women, I guarantee you the pro-life movement would find itself quickly and drastically devoid of supporters.

I’m being a little facetious here but you get my point.

 

 

 

And here 62 years removed from INHERIT THE WIND, from the enlightenment that gave us that courageous movie and that courageous speech, we find the grand children of that enlightened age…  marching backward. Buoyed by the not yet dead relics and slaves of a much romanticized “never was” antebellum glory, and the dream of Reich… that in reality— was never more than a nightmare.

Living out the fractured dreams of men who had their chance and squandered it, and want the young to go backward into their follies and their lament. Old fools leading young fools… into the Holocaust.

What a waste of energy and lives and potential.

Here in an age of science fiction and possibilities, to be led by Dinosaurs into regression and cannibalism and witch-hunts… to go crawling backwards as a nation and a species… when so many have given and sacrificed so much… for the rights you would let the vermin of an atrophied age… defecate on.

I think we should not allow that.

I think we should fight.

 

A colorful collection of pro-abortion signs.

I think The Supreme Court, The Trumps, The Nazis, The KKK, The loss of Journalism and Newspapers, The usurping of media Mass and Social by the interests of elitism and hate, the proponents of the rights of gun manufacturers and corporations…. I think we should fight them all.

And by fits and starts… drive them into the sea.

Click the banner above to get involved.

Like, comment, subscribe, but most of all… think. In an age where so few do, …think, ponder, ruminate, and with a clear and focused mind—- say ‘this far, no further’.

May God, whichever God you bend your knee to… Keep you, and preserve you, and strengthen you, not to in all things be right (that is the stance of the zealot and the enemy) but rather the empathy to draw a line, between right and wrong…. and the conviction and the strength to hold and fight for that line.

 

FIVE Best designed Marvel Oversized Hardcovers (OHCs) / Collected Editions!

 

The FIVE Best designed Marvel Oversized Hardcover (OHC) Collected Editions! Here we are discussing what the books look like under the slipcover.

From left to right you have:

The four book Coates BLACK PANTHER run.The Iconography of that Green and Black and Red cover is just so compelling and striking.

Then we follow it with the BLACK BOLT OHC by Ahmed; the kinetic, painterly and abstract cover perfectly indicative of the interior.

Then standing up, in simple but striking red, the CAPTAIN BRITAIN hardcovers by Alan Moore. I prefer these hardcovers to the new omnibus, because they list the writer’s name. And Alan Moore book, without his name on it, for me, is just not worth owning.

Then we have a beautiful Alex Ross cover adorning Coates’ run on CAPTAIN AMERICA. A must own.

And then finally we have Tom King, with the book that put him on the map, and is arguably still the best thing he has done…  THE VISION, wrapped in a soft green that feels plush and nostalgic.

That’s it guys, a quick look at some of the best designed Marvel OHCs!

Musical Discovery of the Day : Michael Kiwanuka’s SOLID GROUND

 

Solid Ground Lyrics

[Verse 1]
How does it feel when it’s quiet and calm?
And will I be denied?
How will it feel when it’s time to move on?
Mother says kneel and pray
When it gets hard, I will roll those sleeves
Life can be so unkind
I will be found on the edge of the world
Where there’ll be no one around[Chorus]
Oh, solid ground
Solid ground
Solid ground
Solid ground

[Verse 2]
How does it feel to be on your own?
No one to understand
I know I’m here and I don’t belong
I’m on my knees today
When it gets dark, I will know no fear
Life can be so unkind
Hanging around on the edge of the world
Finally no one around

[Bridge]
Oh, would you help me?
I don’t understand
Is it over?
Am I losing solid ground?

[Chorus]
Solid ground (Solid ground)
Solid ground (Solid ground)
Solid ground (Solid ground)
Solid ground (Solid ground)
Solid ground (Solid ground)
Solid ground (Solid ground)
Solid ground (Solid ground)
Solid ground (Solid ground)

 

The whole album, 2016’s LOVE & HATE comes strongly recommended. Not just to stream, this is one worth actually owning the physical CD. Recommended. A mellow, lush, plaintive folksy wail to be played on a drizzling day, against the dying of the light.

Great Youtube Video of the Day : John Campea Show

I don’t really do social media. So I don’t follow what anonymous person or mob is outraged by this or that, so it was breaking news to me that the actress on the new Obi Wan Show, Moses Ingram (great name by the way, though more fitting for a guy than a girl I think, in my admittedly sexist and Dinosaur way  🙂 ),  received a deluge of hate comments, posts, messages. I am guessing on Twitter, or Instagram, or Facebook/Meta.

However per the John Campea show that is what has happened. The faceless social media mob, deluged the actress with hate.

 

I urge you to watch his video, I find it excellent. I don’t always agree with John Campea on his movie or tv tastes, but in terms of the perspective he brings to incidents like this, bringing reason to the unreasonable, how he holds a mirror up to the irrational, and calls it irrational, is second to none.

It is a great video.

And it is easy for someone like me, whose livelihood is not tied to interacting with the public and having a public presence, to say well don’t have a twitter, or facebook, or social media presence. That presence is part and parcel of being an Actress or Actor or Public person these days, much like a resume or continued education or a certification class is part of your career or job. She should be able to utilize the tools of her job, in this case social media withou being abused or terrorized or hampered from doing her job.

I also did not love her performance, however what must be remembered is ultimately that is the performance that the writers and Directors signed off on, or it would not have made it to the screen. An actor ultimately performs first and foremost for her Director. So as an actor if you have given your Director/ Producer the performance they signed off on, you have done your job. Now if that performance is perhaps not the strongest thing in the film, at that point the ‘blame’ to a certain extent must lie with the Director/Producer who were ok, with that performance.

All this to say you can dislike a performance, but while an actor gives a performance, ultimately it is the Director, and producer, and Editor that actually creates the sequence and tone that the audience sees. It is ultimately not the actor’s vision that ends up on the screen, those decisions are made above the actor’s paygrade, a film or tv series very much the product of a collective and not an individual.

So there is responsibility to go around when any segment of a film or tv show falters for you.

However, whether just the actor or a collective,whether something works for you or doesn’t , simply move on to something else. A disliked performance, or show, or film, does not give you the right to attack the person who created a product, in hopes of you liking it. Anymore than you buying a shirt you don’t like the cut of, or a concert you didn’t love, or a sporting event that didn’t go your way gives you the right to viciously attack those responsible for trying to produce, in good faith, content you’ll like.

You don’t have the right to terrorize someone for doing their job, anymore than you would want someone terrorizing you for a meal,or plumbing work, or home repair, or mowing the lawn, or cutting hair, or driving a bus.

Your movie ticket, or streaming subscription does not grant you anything more than the promise of entertainment you might like, not the certainty. And even if it did, and failed that promise, all you are due, is the right to speak with you dollars, and move onto something else.You do not buy yourself the right… to abuse and terrorize people.

I think any sane, well adjusted, non-venal, non-scumbag person knows this. I think what you have in social media, is concerted efforts from hate groups, a vocal minority, to piss in the pool whenever they can, and take ownership of a fandom they have no real interest in, other than in its visibility to spread their tired message of hate. You trace a lot of these IPs most of them are bots, a lot of them are coming from the prisons, and a good many from lives underneath rocks.

Everyone has a right to an opinion, but what you have the right to SHARE is an informed opinion, and until social media inputs filters with teeth, hate speech and profanity, your message does not get sent and you get banned for a day or week or month, etc when it trips these filters. And attempts to game the system such as use of bots etc, get that whole block of messages/attempts/accounts blocked or removed.

Social Media does not have to be a cesspool, it is allowed and i feel nourished to be one, because dissension, mob rule, allow the venal and opportunistic to easily rule and lead the irrational.

Kinda Trumpian isn’t it. 🙂

 

Kudos to John Campea for another great video.

 

 

 

 

 

Movie of the Day : MAN ON THE SWING Blu-ray Release by Imprint Films

Movie of the Day : MAN ON THE SWING Blu-ray Release by Imprint Films.

This was a blind buy for me. I bought this movie pretty much because IMPRINT FILMS has a good track record of releasing interesting films, and I liked the slipcover.

Well I have to tell you, this blind buy paid off; as MAN ON THE SWING is a riveting and fascinating 1970s film, with great direction, cant take your eyes off it story and great performances, particularly Joel Grey  gives a staggering, award winning performance as the titular character.

Completely captivated by this film. It kept and keeps you guessing to the ending and beyond. And a very nice score by legendary composer lalo schifrin. I think i adore this film. Highly Recommended!

The Blu-ray includes a brief but impactful and I think essential interview with Joel Grey looking back on his time on MAN ON A SWING. As well as multiple Director commentaries.

I was not angry till I came to France. – Remedies

I heard former Resident Trump call the recent atrocity in Texas , that it was “savage and barbaric” yet he was still adamantly against gun control.

I would say that stance; that head in the sand, inflexible stance… is what is “savage and barbaric”. And I say this as a gun owner. The fact that a troubled person could walk in and purchase a weapon capable of mass destruction and use it for such, says that something about the process needs looking at, so this does not happen again.

There is a great book/audio book called the PSYCHOPATH TEST that lays out the need for such a test, that those who seek power (and the instruments of power) are in some cases those who should be kept furthest from it.

And I am all for such a test, not just for purchasing a handgun, but also for law enforcement and to hold political office.  Such a test might not save lives, but perhaps it might. It might keep the reigns of power and violence out of the hands of those not fit to wield it.

And indeed the atrocity in Texas is an extension of the  rush on Congress, and the intolerant wave and extremist brand of hate and madness that Trump has fanned; fanned chaos and dissension, and the breakdown of civility and the moral compass of a nation, in an attempt to rise and stay… in power.

The answer must therefore be those organizations fighting for reason, and justice.

The answer must be, for us, to do something, if only assisting financially those trying to preserve the better angels of our nature and our Liberty.

Here are my opinions of organizations fighting the good fight, and worth supporting.

You do your own homework, but if they likewise vet out for you… support them.

Today’s pick… the ACLU. We will get to gun control, but this series I want to discuss all the major tentpoles I feel are necessary to the rise or fall of  society. Education,  Law & Law Enforcement, Prison Reform, Newspapers/A true free press with journalistic integrity, the rights of citizens vs the rights of corporations. and valid representation of people in the policies of Government.

 

And today I want to focus on the fight against For Profit Prisons.

 

https://www.aclu.org/issues/smart-justice/mass-incarceration/private-prisons

 

I really think the rise of Private Prisons has been and is disastrous not only for those incarcerated, who ultimately leave more dangerous and damaged  and factionalized and indoctrinated into crime and criminality; but even more damaging, to the larger society that they pass on this indoctrination to when they get out.. pass it like a virus to friends, family, and their children.

So the current state of Penal system/ Prison management, rather than making criminals if not upstanding citizens— at least safe, they instead are making criminals under their charge and the larger society they should be protecting…  more criminalized and dangerous.

There is no more racist place on the planet right now than American Prisons, it is an uber Jim Crow/Apartheid state, and this is because it is allowed to be, by a corrupt for Profit Prison management, that may or may not have ties to white supremacist organizations, but also benefits financially not by turning convicts into citizens, but by turning convicts into worse convicts, recruiting convicts, repeat offenders.

The for profit prison system, defines the conversation of the extreme, and by so doing they also effect the larger society. What you see in prisons today, becomes the accepted behavior of society 50 years hence.

If you can control the conversation of the extreme, you can define what will become the accepted.

So if you do not want the conditions of prisons today, to be the standard state of society tomorrow, what we are on the road too, you must make prisons a reflection of law and order, rather than anarchy and factionalism and horror and terror. What we breed in prisons, is nothing short of the future of the society that allows those acts.

Prisons should be run with military precision, in the best definition of that term, where you are all members of the state, and your individualism is subordinate to the singular state policy. Not the factional white supremacy policy, or this policy, or that policy. Prisons are a place where you are sentenced for committing crimes, it should not be a place, where the population is allowed to continue crimes and make a society of crime. A perfection of crime and terror.

Rather than this factionalism, this breeding ground for gang mentality and gangsterism and barbarism, prisons instead need to be a reflection of a society’s attempt to reintegrate the criminal into society when possible, and deprive the criminal element of the ability to continue its criminal predilections to larger outside society, but also the insular society under the Prison Management’s supervision. Because otherwise prisons become complicit in the crimes committed and allowed in its domain, you have criminals housing and training and breeding… criminals.

https://www.aclu.org/issues/smart-justice/mass-incarceration/private-prisons

 

So check the link out to the ACLU, and become a supporter if you have vetted them and they work for you and if you want to do something more… than nothing.

Still Watching : Abel Gance’s magnum opus film NAPOLEAN courtesy of the BFI’s 2016 Bluy-ray restoration/release

This is part 2, of an undetermined amount of parts, on Abel Gance’s magnum opus… NAPOLEAN, courtesy of the BFI three disc Blu-ray release.

As stated previously every frame of this film is a painting, but more than that… this was a director at the nascent period of cinema, building a visual vocabulary and creating cinematic techniques, and utilizing them in service of pure storytelling. Everything a movie like LAWRENCE OF ARABIA or AVENGERS ENDGAME or FORCE AWAKENS can give you, is iterations of a pure storytelling framework/mythos that was largely setup here.

The editing and special effects here, and camera movements, and lighting, are still as grand and as impressive, in many respects more impressive, than the 200 million dollar CGI blockbuster productions of today. All the special effects in the world are just tools, and their effectiveness lies in how they are used, to inform and enrich the story. Closing in on a hundred years later and Abel Gance’s NAPOLEAN still looks and feels and connects with an audience, as if 100 years of cinema has failed to truly catch up with this movie.

That’s how great it is. AND BUT FOR THE EFFORT OF A FEW FILM LOVERS aND CONSERVATIONISTS AND RESTORATIONISTS, THIS MOVIE WOULD HAVE REMAINED A LOST FILM.

AND THIS LOSS WOULD HAVE BEEN ALL OF OURS.

BUT THANKS TO FILM FOUNDATIONS AND FILM FANS AND COLLECTORS… THIS FILM HAS BEEN PRESERVED AND RESTORED AND ARGUABLY LOOKS AND READS AND IS SCORED… BETTER THAN IT HAS EVER BEEN.

 

 

A tale of two films : Carl Dreyer’s VAMPYR DVD/Blu-Ray/UHD Criterion vs Eureka! Recommendation Purchase Sale List

Eureka

Eureka unfortunately is not the company it used to be, back when its name was fittingly synonymous with MASTERS OF CINEMA. These days it tends to be overpriced and cutting corners by squeezing multiple films on a disc. And has jumped on the bandwagon of faddish genre films, rather than necessarily the top notch classics it made its name on.

And I get it, you have to sell what is moving.

However for me,  the martial arts films are not what I go to Eureka for (THE POLICE STORY Trilogy had me interested till I saw that box artwork, not horrible just not good. looks like jacky chan is looking for the bathroom on the cover. 🙂 . add the price they are asking for it, $75 US retail, and the only response to that is… no. just… no.)

Eureka might need someone better doing their art design/packaging.

 

And the films I am interested in, either they feel over-priced and under produced, or they simply do not feel like films I need to own. These are films I am perfectly content to just catch occasionally on streaming.

Thankfully the end of May brings one title which is an exception to my general disinterest in their releases.

It is Carl Dreyer‘s 1932 game changer… VAMPYR.

Click the above images to purchase your copy today. Limited to 3000 copies.

CRITERION for the past 14 years (since  2008 with the DVD and 2017 with the Blu-ray) has held the gold standard, as far as available physical media releases of Carl Dreyer’s  1932 VAMPYR were concerned.

Vampyr

Eureka in a hail-mary to their glory days have announced their version of VAMPYR, which going by the description, replaces the Criterion release as the edition to have. (And that is saying a lot because the Criterion Bluray release is a beautiful release as you can see above, and at its current 50% off sale price on Amazon is definitely still worth picking up)

The Eureka release is not just a new-scan of the classic film, it is a just completed ( 10 year in the making) new restoration of the film. The first such restoration in twenty years. In addition it ports over the major features from the Criterion release while adding a commentary with Director Guillermo DelToro and new features with Kim Newman and David Huckvale. On top of that it adds a 100page square-bound book, and the beautiful slipcase hard-box shown above. 

At roughly $35 retail US, it is not cheap. However if it lives up to the provided description, it is poised to be Eureka’s best and most significant release in years, and will be well worth the money. Also it is worth noting Eureka offers free shipping, the only company doing this. So all in all, the price for their VAMPYR release is a great deal, and I for one will be purchasing it.

And while I give the company a bit of a hard time in this post, it is only because I would like to see more quality releases such as VAMPYR, KWAIDAN and THE OLD DARK HOUSE. I even enjoyed their EDGAR ALLEN POE Boxset, I just wish it was across three discs rather than two.

So overall this post is nothing but love for Eureka, and hope for more potentially top notch releases… such as VAMPYR.

I’ll do a side by side review when my Eureka copy comes in.

Till next time, be well.

I was not angry till I came to France.

I find myself thinking that line, from HENRY V (specifically the Branagh directed version, his take on that line) a lot these days.

It is a mantra, a steadying tactic, an evocation of steadfastness and reason and scalpel like precision, against things beyond the pale, that should not exist in any world, in any time.

Those who the Gods would destroy, they first make mad.

I say that line to try, however feebly, to not lose myself to the Maelstrom.

This world can not afford anymore mad people.

I must make of my rage, something useful.

Or it will break me and the world in half.

So i say the line, like it’s an evocation.

“He broke first from the World, then from his God, and finally… finally he even broke from himself. I’ve never seen a man so broken up.”

An evocation for the reason and the strength and the purpose, to combat those things, in myself and in the world, and with fits and starts, push them back beyond the sea, into the hell of nothingness.

“I was not angry till I came to France.”

And I say that as someone who loves the country of France.

France being in that quote, for me, Florida, or Texas, or Ukraine or South Africa, or any place where wrongs, that stink to heaven, still cry out to be righted.

Guns.

Gun Owners, which I happen to be one.

And the irresponsibility of a society that does not hold everyone accountable, guns, gun owners, parents, gun shops, gun manufacturers, there is blood and culpability enough to go around.

But funny enough, some people don’t share in the culpability. Don’t have to account for the blood, that they were the closest to helping shed.

It’s not fair to hold everyone around a tragedy liable. The gun shops, the gun manufacturers, the friends and families of the perpetrator, and yet in a world dripping in unfairness, it is the closest and best step we can take, to stemming the tide of machine men with machine minds, killing in these machine times.

Someone touched that gun, before the perpetrator, put it in his hands, a weapon with the ability to wipe out people not yet grown, lives not yet made, families not yet had.

Everyone should suffer that weight, Especially those who financially profited by putting that weapon in the hands of someone so unfit to wield it.

 

I’ll in part two of this have a list of organizations, links to organizations, that can help you and I, place that unfathomable rage to shoring up the holes in our society and our world, that allowed us to see such a day of senseless tragedy, and allowed others… not to see the end of this day.

 

Till next time, breathe… in … and out… breathe …. in…. and out. And one breath at a time, I will meet you back here, to make right…. the wrong.

God… whatever God you bend your knee to… bless.

Watch This not That : 1950’s GONE TO EARTH by Directors Powell and Pressburger vs 1952’s re-edited version THE WILD HEART by Producer David O. Selznick

KIno Lorber is one of the DVD/Blu-Ray labels keeping these great movies alive on physical media, and doing the work of restoring and making available films that would otherwise be lost in time.

1950’s GONE TO EARTH by the incomparable British directing team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger is one such movie.

Not mentioned in the duo’s canon of legendary films such as BLACK NARCISSUS, RED SHOES, THE LIFE AND TIMES OF COLONEL BLIMP; the film, GONE TO EARTH, finds the duo at the end of their prolific period (starting with 1939’s SPY IN BLACK and continuing 11 years to 1950s GONE TO EARTH — they would collaborate on projects outside of this period, but for all intents and purposes that 11 year period was their golden age) which is odd, because in many ways GONE TO EARTH is their most ambitious and scandalous project. Dealing with touchy subjects of class, religious, sexual, and moral conflict.

The tale of a simple nature waif on the cusp of womanhood, and the conflict that arises when her womanhood and strange agency and individualism comes into the cross-hairs of the men around her, is at the heart of this pastoral tale.

In a way it echoes a lot of the motifs that were at the heart of Powell and Pressburger’s post-war films. Namely womanhood and obsession. Whether it is woman as the object of obsession as in THE LIFE AND TIMES OF COLONEL BLIMP, or the obsessions of women as in BLACK NARCISSUS and RED SHOES; GONE TO EARTH integrates both of these, at once a tale of woman as object of obsessions and also woman as north star, consumed and consuming in her own obsessions.

It is a very vital and fresh work for 1950, viewing this 72 years later it still feels… daring.

Perhaps too daring, as producer David O. Selznick wanted changes that spurred a court case between the director Powell and Selznick. Ultimately Selznick had the film re-edited, shortened, with scenes removed and different scenes shot, and released in 1952 under the prominent Selznick banner as THE WILD HEART.

Kino Lorber provides both versions on the Blu-ray. For the love of heaven, the one to see first (or only) is the original PowELL & Pressburger 1950 cut, GONE TO EARTH.

Powell and Pressburger are seldom interested in telling, they rather show, in rich technicolor palettes, and in behavior. Their cut is effective and builds to places that feel earned. Now contrast that with the Selznick edit, and the first warning sign you are in the hand of a hack, is the rather pointed and heavy handed narration. Narration can be done well. Whether MALTESE FALCON or BLADE RUNNER, it can be done well.

It just isn’t done well here.

From note one, there seems to be an agenda to pointedly label the female character as backward and ignorant and culpable, rather than letting the story play out and the viewer determine where culpability lies. Also Selznick’s cut reedits the male roles to make them less strange or off-putting or culpable, he puts the weight of this… seemingly on the woman.

It really spades the movie, this THE WILD HEART version, it makes a more straight-foward GONE WITH THE WIND pastiche out of a film that, under Powell and Pressburger, is different and more interesting thAn that.

So by all means pick up this Blu-ray from Kino-Lorber, however watch the GONE TO EARTH version first. In many ways this film was a lose, lose for producer and director.

Powell & Pressburger had burnt their bridges with the studio system, and work would be sporadic going forward. And Selznick was far from his award winning producer heyday on films like GONE WITH THE WIND and REBECCA. Selznick star was on the decline, and THE WILD HEART would be one of his last notable producing credits, and not well received.

Win goes to Powell & Pressburger.