Executive Action [1973)

LBJ was not innocent.

But the story goes far deeper than that.

And it depends on who you ask.

As Oliver Stone told it, Johnson was integral to the plot against Kennedy.

Here, Johnson is largely a footnote.

Here we enter the politics of history.

The politics of film.

The politics of telling a story.

To decipher, we must know Dalton Trumbo.

Relative to Oliver Stone.

What is most remarkable is that there was a film made which not only rivals the quality and conviction of Stone’s JFK, but perhaps exceeds it.

This is that film.

David Miller, its director, barely has a stub of biography to supplement his rather large filmic oeuvre.

Which is intriguing.

Let’s investigate further.

Miller started out as an editor for an RKO (Radio-Keith-Orpheum) film directed by a Halliburton.

That was 1933.

By 1937, he was directing.

Miller seems to have strictly directed short films for the next four years.

His first feature-length film of note was Billy the Kid in 1941.

By the next year he was directing John Wayne in Flying Tigers.

The war years were lean.

A short propaganda film here and there.

Seven years elapsed.

But Miller was back in the game by 1949…directing Bing Crosby in Top o’ the Morning.

That same year, Miller directed the Marx Brothers in their final feature film: Love Happy.

Future highlights for Miller included the noir film Sudden Fear in 1952 starring Joan Crawford and Jack Palance.

He directed Ginger Rogers in 1954’s Twist of Fate (aka Beautiful Stranger).

By 1956, he was directing Lana Turner and Roger Moore in Diane.

Joan Crawford teamed up with Miller again in 1957 for The Story of Esther Costello.

By 1960, Miller was teaming up with screenwriter Dalton Trumbo.

They had at their disposal Kirk Douglas.

The film was Lonely Are the Brave.

Miller was making a spy thriller by 1968:

the little-known Hammerhead.

The year I was born, 1976, Miller was making his last film (again with Lana Turner): Bittersweet Love.

His penultimate film, Executive Action, is a masterpiece.

Again teamed with Dalton Trumbo.

There is plenty of bitterness to go around for the conspirators of JFK’s murder.

Which brings us to the current state of American politics.

Who is really in control?

Is it Joe Biden?

I don’t not think that anyone would assume Biden is even controlling his own bowels at this point.

Which is sad.

Because he has only been in office a mere 30-some-odd days.

Is the business world running the U.S. government?

It’s possible, but I don’t think so.

As much as they would like to use Biden as their puppet, I do not think we are completely being ruled by corporations at the moment (though their power is considerable).

What about the Democrat Party?

Is it running America?

Nancy Pelosi seems powerful.

But also inept.

Ineffectual.

Impotent.

She and Biden make the perfect pair.

Slurring and stuttering.

Schumer is just a yutz.

But the Biden/Pelosi combo is one for the ages.

My fellow San Antonian, the late Jacques Barzun, might have something to say here re: decadence.

Decay.

Like rotting teeth.

You can give Biden dental implants.

And Hunter too.

You can give Pelosi dentures.

But Joe and Nancy will continue to be an overwhelming embarrassment.

Which brings up Biden’s “80 million votes”.

And Pelosi’s unpopularity within her own party.

AOC’s star will fade, but for now, Sandy Cortez wields far more political capital than the haggard Pelosi.

And it is not hard to see why.

Cortez is an attractive (albeit moronic), young star of American communism.

She promises everything.

She will (of course) deliver nothing.

But hey: that’s the essence of communism.

Pelosi’s day has come and gone.

And it was a LOOOOOONG day.

Pelosi has overstayed her welcome.

Even in the minds of her fellow socialists.

But this is all just theater.

Because Biden, nor Pelosi, nor AOC are in control.

What about Kamala?

Nope.

I don’t think so.

So we must keep searching.

And here we hit gold.

Either the military, the CIA, or the NSA (which is to say, the military) are now in control of the country.

In the case of the CIA, we must remind some readers that this organization started off with military roots.

The OSS.

And for many years, the CIA overthrew communist governments.

That is, until Barack Obama appointed a communist (John Brennan) to head the Agency.

It is not a matter of debate that Brennan voted for Gus Hall in 1976.

https://www.cnn.com/2016/09/15/politics/john-brennan-cia-communist-vote/index.html

“John Brennan on Thursday recalled being asked a standard question for a top security clearance at his early CIA lie detector test: Have you ever worked with or for a group that was dedicated to overthrowing the US?”

Brennan said, “I froze”.

Which brings us to JFK.

And communism.

And Vietnam.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/wellness/1992/10/06/jfks-addisons-disease/aceb473c-a5dc-4199-9453-d3fcd3b18312/

JFK had Addison’s disease.

And treatment for Addison’s disease can cause mood swings.

Maybe not the best trait for a President of the United States (especially at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis).

Not only this, but JFK and RFK lied about Kennedy’s condition.

Indeed, mood changes characterize Addison’s disease itself (and are not simply a side effect of treatment):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Addison%27s_disease

At his autopsy, JFK was found to have virtually no adrenal glands whatsoever.

To say this is an advanced stage of Addison’s would be an understatement.

This would have predisposed JFK to:

-anxiety

-depression

-irritability 

-poor concentration.

Again, not the traits you want in a President.

And not the sort of thing a Presidential candidate and his brother (Attorney General) should have lied about.

But they did.

None of which is to say that Kennedy deserved to die like a dog.

He didn’t.

But we now come into a realm of questioning and philosophy which involves the existential survival of America.

For the first time in my life, I today regarded Lyman L. Lemnitzer as a potentially-reasonable person.

He of Operation Northwoods infamy.

Why?

Because of the care taken in that document with regard to contrived obituaries, etc.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff, under Kennedy, did indeed present the option of (plot) terror attacks on the American people.

Some of the attacks (options) would have been real.

That is the Lemnitzer I have always detested.

But some of the attacks (options) would have been simulated.

In other words, these men of war would have taken great care in concocting fake deaths…TO PROTECT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

From what?

From Soviet nuclear weapons in Cuba.

So I ask you today:  is it possible that this same panel (the JCS) is now in control of the USA?

What about Lloyd Austin?

Are the JCS really reporting to him?

Maybe so.

Maybe not.

And what of the CIA?

Why was Mike Pompeo (West Point) put in charge of the CIA before becoming Secretary of State?

Why did Trump go to CIA headquarters so early in his Presidency?

Was it not reminiscent of his visits to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Vatican (respectively)?

If one was to really “drain the swamp”, where would this swamp-drainer start?

And if the CIA can infiltrate the Pentagon (the veracity of which, just prior to 9/11, Dr. Pieczenik has attested to), then can the Pentagon not (silently) reclaim the CIA?

What changes did Pompeo make while he was there?

Is it possible that the CIA is currently in control of the U.S. government?

And that the CIA has been gutted by Trump and Pompeo?

Is it possible that the U.S. military is operating out of Langley (in a script-flip of Langley infiltrating the Pentagon)?

Which then brings us to the NSA and CYBERCOM (which are, for the time being, virtually the same thing).

If any agency could run the country, it would be the NSA.

Why?

Because they would be able to undo corruption.

Piece by piece.

They would know which blackmailed leaders to remove (legally…over time…even if by martial law).

And they would know how to LEVERAGE information for command and control purposes.

For instance.

If Mark Milley (CJCS) was being a cunt (not that he ever would be), the NSA could neutralize him with information.

Perhaps Milley has some unsavory secrets he doesn’t want coming out.

The NSA would have that.

Which is to say, Paul Nakasone could literally be running the entire country all by himself at this point.

Perhaps with help from Keith Alexander.

And Jerry Boykin.

No need for kinetic warfare if the #InvisibleCoup / #SecretCoup / #SilentCoup is run with devastating efficiency and efficacy by Fort Meade.

But just in case, SOCOM/USSOCOM are ready to knock on some doors (if needed).

Joe Biden is being allowed to pretend he is President.

That is my theory.

I very much owe my realization to the writing of Martin Geddes.

What we are seeing is the United States being given a free sample of Chinese communism.

The military is running the country.

We can attack Iran.

And Biden will be blamed.

The military can mess up.

And Biden will be blamed.

And Biden will run the country into the ground on his own.

Yet the military will act as training wheels for this bicycle.

This is where SOCOM/USSOCOM comes in.

This is where Fort Bragg reigns supreme.

PSYOPS.

The American populace must be woken up.

It cannot be done all at once.

The American populace must experience first-hand the failure of socialism.

Which is why Donald Trump’s second term features Joe Biden as President.

Which brings us back to QAnon.

We know that Q was more that one writer.

https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20210117-swiss-text-sleuths-unpick-mystery-of-qanon-origins

But anyone could be framed for writing it.

Even myself.

But I did not write it.

And I very much believe that those now in control of our government DID write it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Team_B

The CIA pulled off 9/11.

But they were not alone.

There were traitorous elements within our military.

I can only now hope that those elements have left.

But, again:  the NSA/CYBERCOM would have all the goods needed to remove corruption from even the top ranks of the military.

All other unified combatant commands would need to rely on kinetic means.

Which brings up a possible coconspirator in preserving and defending the Constitution:

INSCOM.

As we have said, SOCOM would be a muscle held in reserve.

A further buttress may be SPACECOM.

Indeed, it is possible that STRATCOM is not a part of this “invisible coup”.

STRATCOM’s capabilities may be constrained by those of SPACECOM.

Nevertheless, CYBERCOM (again) can control all other human elements.

It would be a sort of blackmail to save America.

If globalists can have a Great Reset, what’s to say the U.S. military couldn’t manufacture a national reset?

I would bet on the U.S. military before I would bet on the World Economic Forum.

And I also bet that the U.S. military now knows that the WEF have committed an act of war in inflicting COVID-19 upon the United States.

WEF, acting as a sort of nationstate, would fall under the category of terrorist organization (biological terror).

Bill Gates has given aid and comfort to this enemy.

Anthony Fauci has given aid and comfort to this enemy.

And all three have worked in concert with a foreign adversary to wreck the economy and morale of the United States.

That foreign adversary is China.

To win this war, it was necessary for Joe Biden to playact.

Except he doesn’t know he’s playacting.

Nor does Nancy Pelosi.

The U.S. military will act at its own pace.

The number one imperative is the good of the country.

Biden cheated and got caught.

The best path forward was to continue to find and weed out corruption.

The U.S. does not want a world war.

China will be dealt with in due time.

But first, the American house must be cleaned.

It is back to a one-room schoolhouse.

We are in session.

The class is political economy.

Joe Biden is teaching us.

What not to do.

The country is experiencing his leadership.

Right after having experienced the free market policies of a truly competent President:

Donald Trump.

The spell must be broken.

The mass media must be exposed.

They lied about Trump for four years.

They lie about everything.

Now they have what they wanted.

Trump’s great defeat.

And a senile incompetent in power.

But they have no plan to help people.

They merely wanted power for the sake of power.

Now that they have it, they don’t know what to do with it.

There is no tit to suck.

This is a crucible for policy.

Free markets work.

Watch the price of eggs.

Socialism/communism does not work.

And to the extent that it does work, it relies on authoritarianism to FORCE people to sacrifice for the greater good.

That is not what America is about.

America is about freedom.

Our dalliance with communism is about to be short-lived.

The U.S. military will dismantle propaganda.

Each domino will fall.

Andrew Cuomo.

Gavin Newsom.

This is a controlled demolition of a condemned building.

The corruption must come down.

But it must come STRAIGHT down.

So as to not harm the people to an undue extent.

Communism lies.

For the greater good.

Capitalism advertises.

It is a subtle differentiation.

Laissez-faire.

Capitalism will win.

Goods must flow freely.

And you know what else must flow freely?

Ideas, motherfucker!

Dalton Trumbo was a communist propagandist.

A good story teller.

But a liar in some key details.

In reality, those who want depopulation (Bill Gates) are communists.

Bill Gates has hitched his wagon to Chinese communism.

America must go a different course.

Freedom.

Liberty.

You CAN take the vaccine (if you want to).

Listen to Donald Trump.

Therapeutics are better.

But he gave you your damn vaccine.

In record time.

Take at your own risk.

It’s experimental.

Trumbo was one of the Hollywood Ten.

Perhaps soon we will be able to list the Pedowood Ten (as Los Angeles has devolved in depravity).

History forgets some of these former (Hollywood Ten) communists.

But some we remember.

Dmytryk.

Ring Lardner Jr.

And Trumbo.

Ayn Rand was an anticommunist.

Good for her.

Not one of the Ten.

Other significant Hollywood personages blacklisted:

-Lillian Hellman

-Paul Robeson

-Richard Wright

Look them up.  This wasn’t racial.

Wright was literally a member of the American Communist Party.

Further communist elements:

-Leonard Bernstein

-Aaron Copland

-Dashiell Hammett

-Lena Horne

-Langston Hughes

-Burl Ives

-Alan Lomax

-Joseph Losey

-Burgess Meredith

-Arthur Miller

-Zero Mostel

-Dorothy Parker

-Edward G. Robinson

-Pete Seeger

-Artie Shaw

-Orson Welles

And more communist elements:

-Richard Attenborough

-Harry Belafonte

-Luis Buñuel

-Charlie Chaplin

-Jules Dassin

The lesson?

Being a communist when America is at war (Cold War) with a communist nation is not a good idea.

And guess what?

America is again at war with a communist nation (this time it’s China).

Getting out of stupid wars is a good idea.

Afghanistan and Iraq were/are stupid wars.

Trump did his best to remove troops.

There is no longer any urgent need to have troops in Europe as part of NATO.

The Soviet Union no longer exists.

Russia does not present the same threat to the United States as does China.

Which is to also say:  Vietnam was not a stupid war.

It was botched.

It was handled in a daft manner.

The draft gave birth to resentment.

But the threat was real.

And the war had merit.

Whether it retained that merit throughout is a matter of discussion.

Which is to say, JFK was not perfect.

He was made a martyr.

Which tends to overshadow aspects of his makeup which disqualified him for the Presidency (such as Addison’s disease…and lying about having Addison’s disease).

Biden and Pelosi are not focused on the believability of their “victory” and “power”.

By the time they realize what is going in, it will be too late for them.

They are no real threat to the republic.

JFK should not have been gunned down like a dog.

War is hell.

-PD

Seymour: An Introduction [2014)

Big gigantic balls.

It took Ethan Hawke.

Whom I formerly mistook for a hack.

To not even dabble in détournement.

But rather.

Straight-up.

Call it.

Seymour:  An Introduction

After Salinger.

But let me dispel all uncertainly early on.

This film, directed by Ethan Hawke, is a masterpiece.

The premise seemed interesting.

On Netflix.

“This should,” I thought, “be an easy one to jettison after a few painful minutes of shabby mise-en-scène…[after ignoring it on my ‘list’ for quite some time]”

And though there is no Liszt (ha!), Ethan Hawke tells one of the most touching stories I’ve ever seen.

Yes, that is the correct verbiage.

In the synesthesia of cinema.

It is the story of Seymour Bernstein (and not, as the title might lead one to believe, that of Seymour Glass).

Seymour did not become the supernova which his fellow Bernstein (Leonard) became.

No, Seymour Bernstein stepped away from the stage early.

As in, curtailed his career.

As a performer.

A pianist.

[but always a son–a man]

And so what makes Ethan Hawke’s film particularly special for me is the synergy created from two colliding ideas of great power:  music and anxiety.

Ah, to perform…

It’s hard (really, very fucking hard) for me to recall the good times which make me sad.

Those would be my four short years as a professional music performer.

[three of which coincided with a parallel mini-career as a studio (recording) musician]

Why did I step away?

To paraphrase Bogart in The Big Sleep, I must rank pretty high on insubordination.

I’m a rebel.

And though I pray that I never follow in the darker footsteps of Phil Spector, I was very much in what one would term popular or pop music.

But it wasn’t from a lack of training.

My bachelor’s degree, from an esteemed institution, is almost exclusively due to courses in Western classical music.

Though I am but an amateur pianist compared to Mr. Bernstein, I have a deep appreciation for what he is doing all throughout this film.

As a trained music theorist (my specialization).

And a trained composer (the activity to which I dedicated the bulk of my undergraduate hours).

But there is something more.

Seymour:  An Introduction is very much about hard work.

About craft.

What I’m doing right now.

What you are reading.

It is my craft.

Now.

Music has flown…like a fleeting bird.

And I have had to transpose my urge to create from “EveryGoodBoyDoesFine” by way of copious vicissitudes to “PleaseExcuseMyDearAuntSally” and other far-afield mnemonic devices.

Yes, dear friends…I identify with Ethan Hawke’s struggle.

And it is painful to watch him.

But he has redeemed himself with this film.

Through great doubt we travel…

What the fuck am I doing in business school?

Does my acting mean anything whatsoever to ME anymore?

To weave it, my problems were/are different than those of Mr. Hawke.

He is standing on the stage…[places, everyone]…on the X where I wish I was.

Directing a film.

You need a producer.

An “executive” producer.

You need a law firm.

Legal counsel.

[for all those archival clips you want to interpolate]

Yes…there is a long list of credited individuals at the culmination of Seymour:  An Introduction.

It doesn’t just say “Ethan Hawke”.

Those are the realities of film.

Godard has illustrated it as a process of check-writing.

$50 here.  [more like]  $3,000 here.

And again.  And again.

But it is obvious this was a project of love for Ethan Hawke.

And it worked.

Mr. Bernstein is 89 and still (apparently) teaches at NYU.

And what a gifted soul!

Ah…

This documentary reminded me of so many beautiful, important things!

It all moves too fast…

The pictures with Nadia Boulanger…

But Korea sticks.

At the front lines.

As jaw-dropping as Messiaen in his prison camp.

But let me speak to the choir now…

Friends of Deutsche Grammophon et al..

It’s important.

That extra dot.

To point out.

No pun intended.

A service.

PRACTICE in front of your audience (Warhol advised).

Dear Messrs,

[and scholarly, epicurean (?) womenfolk]

We have, in these minutes, footage of the great Glenn Gould.

We learn the chair.

How low.

Carry out folded.

Like a shabby parcel of manuscripts.

But Mr. Bernstein gives us the cinderblocks.

And while it is scary (Glenn Gould) in its proficiency.

The ear of God.

We get an even greater surprise.

Yes, most startling.

Clifford Curzon.

And the passion of a boy from Islington.

Precision.

Snap!

Unfurling arpeggios effortlessly.

While the baritone fingers surface the melody.

Just breathing above the water’s surface.

Curzon.

Those glasses.

We fall in love.

1977.

Year after I was born.

By 17 days.

Seymour Bernstein’s eight-year career was over.

As a public performer.

Debuting with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (!) a Brazilian piano concerto in world premiere (the 2nd by Villa-Lobos).

1969-1977

Double my career 🙂

[in more ways than one, I’m sure]

But as an astute student in the film observes, it was many thousands of hours (of practice and other dedicatory acts) to get to that point.

Mr. Bernstein didn’t sit down with the CSO and sightread the Villa-Lobos concerto.

It wasn’t his first time playing.

And so it comes back to work.

And anxiety.

& music.

Seymour Bernstein:  God bless you for knowing the quadrivium.

That MUSIC was one of the four higher liberal arts.

For the ancient Greeks.

Along with arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy.

What isn’t mentioned is that in which I am currently dabbling.

[dabbling my ass off]

The trivium.

Those “lower” three of the liberal arts.

Grammar, logic, and rhetoric.

And the liberal arts…in opposition to the practical arts.

[the latter being such as medicine…or architecture]

{Footnotes to be provided when hell freezes over}

And so I heartily recommend you watch this documentary.

Appreciate the importance of music.

See Abraham ready to sacrifice Isaac.

[he will laugh!]

Because God gives back.

Even though Mr. Bernstein doesn’t believe.

It makes no difference to me.

I am but human.

And I have a right.

To believe.

In God.

In music.

He just disappeared.

One last concert.

At the YMCA.

Knowing when to end.

When the notes fade.

And if on a good piano,

they almost seem to swell first.

As if by magic…

-PD

SNL Season 1 Episode 19 [1976)

The show was really rolling by this point.

The sets are more elaborate.

The budget seems to have increased.

And the humor is worth it.

The cold opening (I’ve avoided that term for the first 18 episodes) is a killer.

Chevy Chase (of course) as Ronald Reagan…prefiguring the stilted-hip of Bill Clinton on Arsenio Hall by a decade and change.

What we learn…Chevy can actually play the organ.  Some nice B-3 licks.

But the killer is Garrett Morris’ priceless contribution.

Like a silent film actor, Morris takes each condescending, racist jab from Reagan and grows more and more outraged…in such a believable Miles Davis kind of way (if we ignore the alto sax he’s holding).

What a start to a great episode!

Morris is in another high-art bit of humor later…for the fake donation solicitation Fondue Pots For Namibia.  Yes, it sounds like the title of a Zappa song (or perhaps Captain Beefheart), yet it is Saturday night variety show humor from 1976 at its best.  Bloody genius!

Some of the more elaborate skits are guest host Madeline Kahn as the “bride of Frankenstein” singing Leonard Bernstein’s “I Feel Pretty” from West Side Story.  Howard Shore and band are great in this skit (especially pianist/vocalist Paul Schaffer…of future Letterman fame).

Another amazing skit involves Dan Aykroyd as Richard Nixon.  Rounding out this bizarre, vast set piece is John Belushi as Henry Kissinger.

Now for the bad.  Carly Simon is godawful in her first prerecorded number “Half a Chance”.  I mean, really godawful.

What is apparent over the course of the show is that Madeline Kahn was a much better singer than Carly.

At least Simon somewhat redeems herself on the ubiquitous “You’re So Vain”.  It’s obvious Carly had talent.  She has a great, soulful voice.  Not sure what the problem was on “Half a Chance”.  Perhaps it was the cheesy, out-of-tune, canned backing vocals.  Also, the song is a clunker.

Alternately, I could listen to the line “…clouds in my coffee” from now till eternity.  It has that 2 ou 3 choses que je sais d’elle vibe to it which is truly profound…the transcendental moment of spotting a microcosm in the mundane.

As The Mighty Favog said, “Talk to me…”

 

-PD

Secret Agent [1936)

If this is propaganda, it is among the most artful of all time.  For it seems to emanate from the mind of an individualist and patriot.  Alfred Hitchcock.

We get our subject material from Somerset Maugham.  Ashenden.

“The wrong man!  Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.”  Thus laughs “the General” Peter Lorre…a sort of lovable psychopath (if such a thing is possible).  Yes, the wrong man.  It is to Hitchcock’s oeuvre what prostitution is to Jean-Luc Godard’s.  But it is a grotesque moment.  The wrong man.  In this case, it went all the way:  they killed the wrong man.  Just an innocent old man with a wife and a dog.  All in a day’s work for a covert operative…Lorre’s laughter seems to tell us.

No.  Lorre is no typical agent.  He’s a hitman.  He doesn’t mind killing.  In fact, he kind-of enjoys it.  Takes pride in his craft (as it were).  Very clean, he says…strangling, a knife…no guns…too noisy.

But let’s back up to John Gielgud.  To make a spy, you kill the man.  It is quasi-Christian.  The old is gone.  Behold, the new has come.

The perfect spy has no past.  This sort of agent wakes up to read his own obituary.  Before long, he has a new identity.

Though this film predates WWII, its subject matter of WWI is certainly infused with the building tension of a second continent-wide conflagration.

And again we witness James Bond far before Ian Fleming birthed him.  The milieu is the same.  Gielgud reports to “R”…like the “M” we would all come to know and love.  And of course Lorre…himself an M of another type (see Fritz Lang).

Trouble in the Middle East.  Why can’t it be Tahiti?  Where’s Leonard Bernstein when you need him???

“The Hairless Mexican” a.k.a. “The General” Peter Lorre…kinda like the Federal Reserve:  not Federal and no reserves.  Yes, Lorre is quite hirsute.  As for his rank, it is as dubious as his other winning personality traits.

Gielgud’s not very careful…right from the start.  I suppose they should have trained the chap in the dark arts before sending him out into the field.  At least the field is Switzerland (Allen Dulles’ future stomping grounds).

Back to our Bond parallels…the gorgeous Madeleine Carroll, like Eva Green in Casino Royale, stipulates a separate-bed rule as part of her cover (Gielgud’s “wife”).  We wonder whether her character, like Hitchcock and Green’s Vesper Lynd, is of Catholic upbringing.

But for the main course…we get some rather convincing ethics from Hitchcock–a morality which we would scarcely see again in the future of film through to the 21st century.  To wit, espionage is the dirtiest of jobs.  Never mind the old trick of digging though a rubbish bin:  the whole operation is filthy and loused up with sickening concessions.  Hitchcock gets right to the point quite forthright:  murder.  Many of the darkest jobs are just that!  One can spin it anyway one wants, but it is still cold-blooded.

It’s not all fun and games, Gielgud tries to convey to Madeleine.  If you’re here for a thrill, you’d best recalibrate your perspective:  things are about to get real ugly!

It is some scary shit.  Imagine Olivier Messiaen and Giacinto Scelsi collaborating with Morton Feldman for a 45 second piece.  It’s called Sonata for Corpse and Organ.  Their contact has been murdered.  The assassin pulled out all the stops.  Just after the prelude, a fugue of struggle ensued which left a button from the killer’s garments clutched in the dead organist’s hand.  We get a rich, chromatic chord until Gielgud and Lorre realize there’s far too little harmonic rhythm to this chorale.  The bloke’s been whacked (slumped upon the keys).

This button, a single-use MacGuffin, leads them to offing the wrong man.  Poor old Percy Marmont…

At this, Gielgud is ready to quit…sickened by the thought of having innocent blood on his hands.  Credit Madeleine Carroll with a nice performance…especially when she plays the straight (horrified) woman to Lorre’s laughter.

And so, again like Casino Royale, Gielgud and Carroll (madly in love) decide to dispense with the whole mission and pack it in (complete with a resignation letter to “R” from Gielgud).

I won’t give away too much.  Lorre is fantastic:  both ridiculously awkward in his humor and deft in his acting.

Unfortunately, the artfulness of the film which Hitchcock had lovingly built up is marred by a somewhat daft, abrupt ending.

Like this.

-PD

Death Defying Acts [2007)

It is shameful.  No, she says.  Who taught you that?  My first review of a film by a female director.  A director who happens to be female.  A nearly perfect film.

Silly me.  Gillian Armstrong is a very different person from Kathryn Bigelow.  Born almost exactly a year apart.  One making art films.  The other shilling for the cocksuckers known as the New World Order.

Zero Dark Thirty.  It is shameful.  9/11 Commission Report.  Shameful.  War on Terror.  Shame.  Shame.

The last words of the mother of Western civilization.  What were they?  Maybe Oswald Spengler was there by her bedside.  What did she whisper?  What were her worries?  Her aspirations for us?  Will she forgive us for throwing away our gifts in an endless magic show?

To be forgiven, perhaps one must repent.  Western civilization is balls-deep into a fabricated war against Islam.

Forgive me.  I have gone off track.  Good films bring the sediment to the surface.

And thus I close the window on Kathryn Bigelow.  She’s made her buck on a story.  Fanciful.  Opportunist.  More likely spawn of Satan than complete moron.

But Gillian Armstrong has no such agenda in Death Defying Acts.  We get a Welsh lady (Catherine Zeta-Jones) playing a Scot.  We get an Irish girl born in the Bronx (Saoirse Ronan) playing a Scot.  And finally we get an English-born Aussie (Guy Pearce) portraying a Hungarian-American escapologist from Appleton, Wisconsin.

Ahh, Appleton…  It was not so long ago that I spoke of thee.  Terry Zwigoff.  Ghost World.  Trying to make sense out of the final scene, I imagined Thora Birch journeying back to Zwigoff’s hometown.  Houdini’s hometown.

It’s all a trick.  Until it isn’t.  Es tut mir leid.  Wo bist du?  Kaddish.  Yes, Leonard Bernstein famously noted that God was/is in this [pointing] glass of orange juice.  Kaddish.

This is truly the age of anxiety.  Auden.  May His great name be blessed forever, and to all eternity.

It is Thanksgiving with soaked acorns.  bon appétit!

When there is seemingly nothing to praise, and then we realize how much we have.  And we do not begrudge the loss.  We give thanks for all the times of presence.

Ah, but we must face Montreal.  Yanqui U.X.O.  Leonard Cohen.  Philip Guston.

Maybe it was a famous blue raincoat draped over his shoulders.  There in the graveyard.  Where they have been living a bit prematurely.

No, I think rather it is a bird on a wire.  Harry had saved all his ribbons…for thee.  He was the partisan battling himself.  Push.  Push.  Harder.  Be perfect.  Be superhuman.  And then let his guard down for a moment…

“I was cautioned to surrender.  This I could not do.”

No.  Fuck you.

“I’ve lost my wife and children.”  You stole my country, he says.  Your country stole my youth.  I chose poorly.

“She died without a whisper.”  Tarantino is the worst filmmaker working today.  For that he deserves some credit.

“There were three of us this morning.  I’m the only one this evening.”  Double suicide on the Left Bank.  Guy Debord.  And who?  And who else?

An old man in the attic.  Hid us for the night.  […]  He died without surprise.

Thank you.  ברוך שם כבוד מלכותו לעולם ועד

طيب الله اسمه العظيم إلى الأبد، وإلى الأبد.

J’ai la France entière

-PD