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English novelist Anthony Burgess, 1917-1993, was born 100 years ago last month. He exploded onto the literary scene around 1960 as a middle-aged prodigy, publishing his first five novels in about a year. Supposedly, he had been misdiagnosed with terminal brain cancer so he wrote all these books to leave his widow an inheritance. (This story is too good for me to fact-check.)

His most famous book, A Clockwork Orange, was published in 1962 when he was in his mid-40s. Kubrick’s colossally entertaining film adaptation in 1971 elevated Burgess to international celebrityhood. Despite now being interviewed on TV a lot, he remained extraordinarily productive, putting out dazzling books on a shorter schedule than any other famous author, while writing endless amounts of literary journalism.

But then high end public boredom started to set in as his skills and ambitions somewhat waned with age. Mostly people got used to Burgess the way NBA fans got used to Kareem: Yeah, sure, everybody knows there is this super-agile 7′-2″ guy with an unstoppable shot. Ho-hum.

 
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  1. BB753 says:

    The story about his misdiagnosed cancer seems to be true, as he mentions it himself in his memoirs. Who knows? Novelists are rarely honest about their own lives.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    But did he write five novels in one year or were some of them old manuscripts in his file drawer?

    I'm just wary about the best anecdotes told by the best storytellers. I know a lot of John Huston stories, for example, but it would be too much work to try to verify what was precisely true and what was improved in the retelling over the years. The man was John Huston. He was really good at telling stories.

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  2. Anonym says:

    ItIs he worth reading, and if so, which books would you recommend and why?

    Read More
  3. So there’s hope for those of us who still haven’t amounted to anything!

    A Clockwork Orange indeed. Once took a first date to a showing of the film, which she’d never seen. Great first date! She turned out to be as sick as I.

    Ho-hum.

    Public boredom is a terrible thing. We can do anything, no matter how formerly miraculous, and within a very short time practically everyone is taking it for granted. I don’t want to mention my favorite subjects — like moon landings, jet travel, and microwave popcorn — but there, I just did.

    Read More
  4. wren says:

    I had never heard this sad story.

    “His dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange was published in 1962. It was inspired initially by an incident during the Second World War in which his wife Lynne was robbed, assaulted and violated by deserters from the US Army in London during the blackout. The event may have contributed to her subsequent miscarriage.”

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

    Read More
    • Replies: @wren
    "I told the Evening Standard that the germ of the book was the fourfold attack on my first wife by American deserters, and this was summarised on newspaper vendors' posters as CLOCKWORK ORANGE GANG ATTACKED MY WIFE. Maurice Eldelman MP, an old friend, attacked the film in the same newspaper and I had to telephone though a reply. I was not quite sure what I was defending - the book that had been called 'a nasty little shocker' or the film about which Kubrick remained silent. I realised, not for the first time, how little impact even a shocking book can make in comparison with a film. Kubrick's achievement swallowed mine whole, and yet I was responsible for what some called its malign influence on the young."
    , @syonredux
    We've talked about the rape of Burgess' wife by American deserters a time or two on Steve's blog. One source of interest: were the attackers Black? A disproportionate number of the American service men who committed rape in WW2 were Black:

    In an American military cemetery in France. In what is known as “Plot E” there are 96 markers with numbers and no names. Eighty of these graves belong to African-American soldiers including Louis Till, all of them executed for rape and murder.
     
    http://www.unz.com/isteve/the-megaphone-3-movies-about-emmett-till-in-the-works/#comment-1548639
    , @Anon
    The Greatest Generation. Fuck yeah!
  5. OT
    CNN reporter travels to India to interview our future H1B cognitive elite in their native environment.

    TV presenter eats HUMAN BRAIN during filming of documentary before angry cannibal throws own poo at him

    In an episode of Believer, a six-part CNN series on spirituality, US religious scholar Reza Aslan meets with the Aghori, a nomadic Hindu sect in India.

    After Aslan has bathed in the sacred Ganges river, an Aghori scholar smears the ashes of a cremated body on his face and he is given alcohol served in a human skull.

    Then he is given a piece of burned human brain and eats it

    Soon after the interview turns nasty and one of the cannibals tells the presenter: “I will cut your head off if you keep talking so much.”

    Then the guru begins eating his own poo – and then flings it at Aslan and his camera crew.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Rod1963
    Aghori's are bad people and Tantriks, he should have avoided them. But then too many Americans have a romantic image of these sorts of buggers thanks to highly sanitized writings promoted in the West.
    , @Anonymous
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aghori

    These guys will never emigrate. They have zero interest in the world.

    Moreover, they merely did to Reza Aslan, who was being an uncomprehending jackass in that documentary, what many wish they could do.

    Ergo, they are alright by me.

    , @slumber_j
    We now know that eating any mammal's brain is a bad move, although it's one I made myself in my younger days in Spain. That is, it's a bad move if you don't like spongiform encephalopathies: scrapie, BSE etc.

    When you eat human brain specifically, you risk contracting kuru. From Wikipedia:


    The term kuru derives from the Fore word kuria or guria ("to shake"),[1] due to the body tremors that are a classic symptom of the disease and kúru itself means "trembling".[2] It is now widely accepted that kuru was transmitted among members of the Fore tribe of Papua New Guinea via funerary cannibalism. Deceased family members were traditionally cooked and eaten, which was thought to help free the spirit of the dead.[3] Females and children usually consumed the brain, the organ in which infectious prions were most concentrated, thus allowing for transmission of kuru. Thus, the disease was more prevalent among women and children.
     
    Also, eating brains strikes most people as gross. And it turns out there's a reason for that.
  6. wren says:
    @wren
    I had never heard this sad story.

    "His dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange was published in 1962. It was inspired initially by an incident during the Second World War in which his wife Lynne was robbed, assaulted and violated by deserters from the US Army in London during the blackout. The event may have contributed to her subsequent miscarriage."

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

    “I told the Evening Standard that the germ of the book was the fourfold attack on my first wife by American deserters, and this was summarised on newspaper vendors’ posters as CLOCKWORK ORANGE GANG ATTACKED MY WIFE. Maurice Eldelman MP, an old friend, attacked the film in the same newspaper and I had to telephone though a reply. I was not quite sure what I was defending – the book that had been called ‘a nasty little shocker’ or the film about which Kubrick remained silent. I realised, not for the first time, how little impact even a shocking book can make in comparison with a film. Kubrick’s achievement swallowed mine whole, and yet I was responsible for what some called its malign influence on the young.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    "Kubrick's achievement swallowed mine whole" - that's a great line.
    , @2Mintzin1
    Burgess is somewhat justified. In the book, there are three incidents of rape/attempted rape.
    The last one (assault on the wife) was pretty much as recounted in the book, but the other two (in the book our hero Alex rapes two 12 year old girls...in the movie, it is consensual sex with two beautiful teenagers on camera; the other incident in the book is an attempted rape of a child... the movie uses, instead, a remarkably built adult actress who has her clothes stripped off) were sexed up by Kubrick to near- pornography. He also made the violence look fun, accompanying it with goofy music.


    Scenes that should have inspired pity and horror were changed in order to titillate Kubrick's audience, to glamorize his hero, and, not so incidentally, to make money. And today, we have ...Quentin Tarantino.

    The book, by the way, certainly was a "nasty little shocker", as well as a brilliant peice of writing.

    , @Moshe
    Well that was an astonishing film.
  7. Cagey Beast says: • Website

    I recently saw a comment under a YouTube video of Roberta Flack’s Killing Me Softly that said “humans once made music like this”. Well this clip deserves “humans once made television like this” even though it wouldn’t have been anything special when it was broadcast. Today, we could no more have a discussion like that on TV as NASA could put an astronaut into space.

    Read More
    • Agree: Old fogey
    • Replies: @Clifford Brown
    This is wonderful. Thank you for posting.
    , @Dan Hayes
    Cagey Beast,

    Thank you for providing this wonderful video clip. It really brought Burgess to life (even though long deceased!).
    , @Alfa158
    I had read somewhere that Walter Carlos was making the transition to becoming Wendy Carlos while writing the music for Clockwork Orange. That seemed to be the case based on the shots in that clip. I don't know if it had anything to do with the sex change or just the exhaustion of the synthesized music genre but Carlos's work never seemed quite as striking after the change. In most art forms, women have never produced as much work at the same very highest levels as men.
    , @BB753
    "Today, we could no more have a discussion like that on TV as NASA could put an astronaut into space."

    Educated men in suits and ties? Smoking on the tv set? Intelligent analysis and meaningful conversation? No, you can't have that today, you cisgendered heteropatriarchal bigot!
    , @Reg Cæsar
    Killing Me Softly was a piece of hack work, beneath even lyricist Norman Gimbel's usual mediocre BMI standards. The title line doesn't scan! I can't tell you who wrote the "tune"; but he and Norm were Roberta's flacks.

    Humans made songs-- and films-- better than these, before the 1970s.
  8. @BB753
    The story about his misdiagnosed cancer seems to be true, as he mentions it himself in his memoirs. Who knows? Novelists are rarely honest about their own lives.

    But did he write five novels in one year or were some of them old manuscripts in his file drawer?

    I’m just wary about the best anecdotes told by the best storytellers. I know a lot of John Huston stories, for example, but it would be too much work to try to verify what was precisely true and what was improved in the retelling over the years. The man was John Huston. He was really good at telling stories.

    Read More
    • Agree: BB753
    • Replies: @syonredux

    I’m just wary about the best anecdotes told by the best storytellers. I know a lot of John Huston stories, for example, but it would be too much work to try to verify what was precisely true and what was improved in the retelling over the years. The man was John Huston. He was really good at telling stories.
     
    That's putting it mildly: The Maltese Falcon, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Key Largo, Fat City, The Man Who Would be King, Prizzi's Honor, ....
  9. @Buzz Mohawk
    So there's hope for those of us who still haven't amounted to anything!

    A Clockwork Orange indeed. Once took a first date to a showing of the film, which she'd never seen. Great first date! She turned out to be as sick as I.

    Ho-hum.

    Public boredom is a terrible thing. We can do anything, no matter how formerly miraculous, and within a very short time practically everyone is taking it for granted. I don't want to mention my favorite subjects -- like moon landings, jet travel, and microwave popcorn -- but there, I just did.

    Read More
  10. syonredux says:
    @wren
    I had never heard this sad story.

    "His dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange was published in 1962. It was inspired initially by an incident during the Second World War in which his wife Lynne was robbed, assaulted and violated by deserters from the US Army in London during the blackout. The event may have contributed to her subsequent miscarriage."

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

    We’ve talked about the rape of Burgess’ wife by American deserters a time or two on Steve’s blog. One source of interest: were the attackers Black? A disproportionate number of the American service men who committed rape in WW2 were Black:

    In an American military cemetery in France. In what is known as “Plot E” there are 96 markers with numbers and no names. Eighty of these graves belong to African-American soldiers including Louis Till, all of them executed for rape and murder.

    http://www.unz.com/isteve/the-megaphone-3-movies-about-emmett-till-in-the-works/#comment-1548639

    Read More
    • Replies: @wren
    Thanks. I had not read that thread, and could not find more info about the incident.

    It figures that the comments section here would already have covered it.

    Searching for information, I came across a Guardian article on Burgess.

    They are not impressed.

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2005/nov/06/biography.anthonyburgess
    , @BB753
    This happened after WWII.
    , @Dan Hayes
    Syonredux,

    The thought of the rapists being black had also crossed my mind.

    Is it beyond the realm of possibility that one of the rapists was Emmett Till's dad? Most probably more than unlikely!
  11. syonredux says:
    @Steve Sailer
    But did he write five novels in one year or were some of them old manuscripts in his file drawer?

    I'm just wary about the best anecdotes told by the best storytellers. I know a lot of John Huston stories, for example, but it would be too much work to try to verify what was precisely true and what was improved in the retelling over the years. The man was John Huston. He was really good at telling stories.

    I’m just wary about the best anecdotes told by the best storytellers. I know a lot of John Huston stories, for example, but it would be too much work to try to verify what was precisely true and what was improved in the retelling over the years. The man was John Huston. He was really good at telling stories.

    That’s putting it mildly: The Maltese Falcon, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Key Largo, Fat City, The Man Who Would be King, Prizzi’s Honor, ….

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonym
    Even The Kremlin Letter is very watchable, way above its imdb rating of 6.4 I thought. I remember reading that the production did not go smoothly but can't find evidence of that with a brief googling.
  12. Burgess wrote a number of very original and interesting novels which sometimes function better as thought experiments than as literature. For my money the most entertaining thing he wrote was his autobiography (in two volumes).

    One novel (from 1962) that resonates in the current age is The Wanting Seed, a dystopian SF story set in a future in which overpopulation is tackled by state-sponsored favour for homosexuality and disapproval of heterosexuality. (Couldn’t happen in the real world, of course.)

    He was a lapsed Catholic, but unlike some of that breed he didn’t turn to the Left. In an age that was becoming increasingly corrupted by the poison of post-modernism and other Leftish causes, Burgess was a voice of decency and reason. His account of his time teaching at US colleges in the early 1970s is amusing for his gentle defiance of the zeitgeist.

    Read More
    • Replies: @guest
    Yes, The Wanting Seed is apt for our times, although it has a Population Bomb feel to it. It's the only book I've read by Burgess except Clockwork Orange, though I don't remember finishing Clockwork Orange. Wanting Seed has a bit too much wordplay, as you might expect. Much is made of "God" and "dog." But I like how he portrays homosexual as creepy and unnatural. (At least that's how they came off to me.) You won't find that nowadays.

    There's a brilliant sequence in which the powers that be have set up a fake war, with no enemy, in order to kill off the excess population. They dummy it up like the Western Front in WWI, with I want to say loudspeakers pumping in war noises. I can't remember every detail. But the upshot is every is gunned down as soon as the leave the trench, except Our Hero, who escapes.
    , @guest
    Also, The Wanting Seed made me look up the song Wanton Seed, which had lyrics like you won't find in a pop song anymore, even though it's about sex, too:

    I said to her, "My pretty maid
    Come tell me what you stand in need."
    "Oh yes, kind sir, you're the man to do the deed,
    For to sow my meadow with the wanton seed, the wanton seed."
    Then I sewed high, and I sewed low
    And under the bush the seed did grow.

    , @charles w abbott
    His autobiography is definitely worth reading, based on my skimming the first half of the first volume. I'm guessing it's all as good as what I've sampled.

    For me, his prose style is generally a pleasure to read. I'm not good at reading novels, though did read _A Clockwork Orange_ in high school (1980s), recommended by my school friend who had started it without discovering the glossary until he didn't need it anymore.

    Not to be missed (maybe not mentioned yet in the comments) is his writings on language for a general educated audience. I believe he revised / expanded the same work a few times.

    The last version was _A mouthful of air_.

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/112768.A_Mouthful_of_Air


    Most possibly, _A mouthful of air_ and _How to learn languages (and which languages to learn)_ by Mario Pei are stellar examples of "the friendly didactic work on foreign languages for the educated reader who is a native English speaker."

    Because he was teaching in a Malay environment (in Malaysia(?)) and definitely in Brunei, he has some whimsical examples such as how to write the name Sherlock Holmes in Arabic letters as the Malays would do it.

    He must have been quite proud of his first line in _Earthly powers_. From the next world, he's probably happy to see that people are quoting it still.
    , @Old Palo Altan
    "He was a lapsed Catholic, but unlike some of that breed he didn't turn to the Left."

    Unlike the lapsed Catholic currently occupying the See of Peter you mean?
  13. wren says:
    @syonredux
    We've talked about the rape of Burgess' wife by American deserters a time or two on Steve's blog. One source of interest: were the attackers Black? A disproportionate number of the American service men who committed rape in WW2 were Black:

    In an American military cemetery in France. In what is known as “Plot E” there are 96 markers with numbers and no names. Eighty of these graves belong to African-American soldiers including Louis Till, all of them executed for rape and murder.
     
    http://www.unz.com/isteve/the-megaphone-3-movies-about-emmett-till-in-the-works/#comment-1548639

    Thanks. I had not read that thread, and could not find more info about the incident.

    It figures that the comments section here would already have covered it.

    Searching for information, I came across a Guardian article on Burgess.

    They are not impressed.

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2005/nov/06/biography.anthonyburgess

    Read More
    • Replies: @syonredux
    Yeah, an interesting thing about the rape story is that Burgess seems to be the only source, and he was prone to fabulation:

    In 1944, two years into their marriage, with Burgess away on war-service, the pregnant Lynne was assaulted by a group of American men (presumably deserting GIs) on her way home from work through the London black-out. Lynne miscarried and one of her attackers tried to break her finger as she lay on the ground to remove her golden wedding ring. From this trauma undoubtedly sprang the 20-year catalogue of pub-bannings and impromptu stripteases in public places. And yet the truth of what really happened - not least its physical consequences - is lost in the three contending versions of the event subsequently offered by Burgess to his literary agent. In a much later interview, Burgess maintained that Lynne's consequent ill-health meant that she could never have children. One of her early 1950s letters to a friend, on the other hand, talks about starting a family. Is Lynne deluding herself, or is Burgess deliberately misleading his pursuers? Or did he genuinely not know? To borrow Biswell's delicate phrasing, these are hard questions and the only people qualified to answer them are dead.
     
    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/anthony-burgess-my-wifes-trauma-which-version-do-you-want-322947.html
  14. cthulhu says:

    Kubrick’s string of movies from 1962 to 1975 – Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon – is one amazing run. Has any post-film-noir American director equaled it?

    And speaking of date movies as Buzz was upthread: After The Deer Hunter won the Best Picture Oscar (I was in high school), it was playing at the local theater and I took my girlfriend to see it – we lived in a small town and at that time, we got movies anywhere between 2 and 4 months after their initial release, so it just happened that it showed up at one of our town’s four screens a few weeks after the Oscars. We knew that it was set during the Vietnam war but didn’t know much about it otherwise except for the Best Picture award. Amazingly enough, she didn’t drop me like a rock after the experience…

    Read More
    • Replies: @Polichinello
    I'd add Paths of Glory to that list, as well, extending the string a bit further.
  15. BB753 says:
    @syonredux
    We've talked about the rape of Burgess' wife by American deserters a time or two on Steve's blog. One source of interest: were the attackers Black? A disproportionate number of the American service men who committed rape in WW2 were Black:

    In an American military cemetery in France. In what is known as “Plot E” there are 96 markers with numbers and no names. Eighty of these graves belong to African-American soldiers including Louis Till, all of them executed for rape and murder.
     
    http://www.unz.com/isteve/the-megaphone-3-movies-about-emmett-till-in-the-works/#comment-1548639

    This happened after WWII.

    Read More
    • Replies: @syonredux

    This happened after WWII.
     
    The rape of Burgess' wife? Not according to WIKIPEDIA:

    A Clockwork Orange was written in Hove, then a senescent seaside town.[11] Burgess had arrived back in Britain after his stint abroad to see that much had changed. A youth culture had grown, including coffee bars, pop music and teenage gangs.[12] England was gripped by fears over juvenile delinquency.[11] Burgess claimed that the novel's inspiration was his first wife Lynne's beating by a gang of drunk American servicemen stationed in England during World War II.
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Clockwork_Orange_(novel)#Background
  16. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @wren
    I had never heard this sad story.

    "His dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange was published in 1962. It was inspired initially by an incident during the Second World War in which his wife Lynne was robbed, assaulted and violated by deserters from the US Army in London during the blackout. The event may have contributed to her subsequent miscarriage."

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

    The Greatest Generation. Fuck yeah!

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    The writer in the movie should have gone to Don Corleone for justice.

    Clemenza's men could have straightened Alex and his droogs.
  17. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @wren
    "I told the Evening Standard that the germ of the book was the fourfold attack on my first wife by American deserters, and this was summarised on newspaper vendors' posters as CLOCKWORK ORANGE GANG ATTACKED MY WIFE. Maurice Eldelman MP, an old friend, attacked the film in the same newspaper and I had to telephone though a reply. I was not quite sure what I was defending - the book that had been called 'a nasty little shocker' or the film about which Kubrick remained silent. I realised, not for the first time, how little impact even a shocking book can make in comparison with a film. Kubrick's achievement swallowed mine whole, and yet I was responsible for what some called its malign influence on the young."

    “Kubrick’s achievement swallowed mine whole” – that’s a great line.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Harry Baldwin
    Kubrick's The Shining also swallowed Stephen King's novel whole, but King didn't have the wit or grace to acknowledge it. Rather, he thought Kubrick ruined it and he had it redone as a TV mini-series. And we all know how great that was.
  18. 2Mintzin1 says:
    @wren
    "I told the Evening Standard that the germ of the book was the fourfold attack on my first wife by American deserters, and this was summarised on newspaper vendors' posters as CLOCKWORK ORANGE GANG ATTACKED MY WIFE. Maurice Eldelman MP, an old friend, attacked the film in the same newspaper and I had to telephone though a reply. I was not quite sure what I was defending - the book that had been called 'a nasty little shocker' or the film about which Kubrick remained silent. I realised, not for the first time, how little impact even a shocking book can make in comparison with a film. Kubrick's achievement swallowed mine whole, and yet I was responsible for what some called its malign influence on the young."

    Burgess is somewhat justified. In the book, there are three incidents of rape/attempted rape.
    The last one (assault on the wife) was pretty much as recounted in the book, but the other two (in the book our hero Alex rapes two 12 year old girls…in the movie, it is consensual sex with two beautiful teenagers on camera; the other incident in the book is an attempted rape of a child… the movie uses, instead, a remarkably built adult actress who has her clothes stripped off) were sexed up by Kubrick to near- pornography. He also made the violence look fun, accompanying it with goofy music.

    Scenes that should have inspired pity and horror were changed in order to titillate Kubrick’s audience, to glamorize his hero, and, not so incidentally, to make money. And today, we have …Quentin Tarantino.

    The book, by the way, certainly was a “nasty little shocker”, as well as a brilliant peice of writing.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Simon
    Am so glad you pointed out some of the disturbing alterations Kubrick made in Burgess's novel. Another (and apologies that I don't have the book in front of me at the moment to double-check this) is that the supremely bookish Burgess, I seem to recall, had the gang of hoodlums beat up a man carrying a bunch of books home from the library. In the movie, they beat up a rather creepy-looking old derelict who, you sense, Kubrick almost feels has it coming. And I'm convinced Kubrick made the protracted rape scene deliberately salacious.

    I had Burgess as a professor in a graduate writing seminar at Columbia. He was extremely charming and convivial but rather lazy; it soon became apparent that he never actually read any of the stories we students turned in. (Instead, he simply encouraged us to discuss them in class.) The main educational benefit we students enjoyed was quite simply the chance to see a genuine literary celebrity up close -- to have a beer with him at a nearby bar, to listen to his comments and observations, and to see that despite being a Famous Author, he was an actual human being.

    I remember asking him, when the film of "Clockwork" opened, if he'd made a lot of money from it. (Note: It was during an informal chat, and I don't think I was quite as crass as this probably sounds.) I remember he explained, a little sadly, that no, the film had brought him no money, or practically none; he said he'd sold the movie rights long ago for almost nothing.

    P.S. Someone above asked for recommendations. I found Burgess's "Enderby" books his most entertaining.

    , @el topo
    "He also made the violence look fun, accompanying it with goofy music.

    Scenes that should have inspired pity and horror were changed in order to titillate Kubrick’s audience, to glamorize his hero, and, not so incidentally, to make money."

    Quite so. I have always found the film to be loathsome.
  19. Rod1963 says:
    @Hippopotamusdrome
    OT
    CNN reporter travels to India to interview our future H1B cognitive elite in their native environment.

    TV presenter eats HUMAN BRAIN during filming of documentary before angry cannibal throws own poo at him
    ...
    In an episode of Believer, a six-part CNN series on spirituality, US religious scholar Reza Aslan meets with the Aghori, a nomadic Hindu sect in India.
    ...
    After Aslan has bathed in the sacred Ganges river, an Aghori scholar smears the ashes of a cremated body on his face and he is given alcohol served in a human skull.
    ...
    Then he is given a piece of burned human brain and eats it
    ...
    Soon after the interview turns nasty and one of the cannibals tells the presenter: "I will cut your head off if you keep talking so much."

    Then the guru begins eating his own poo - and then flings it at Aslan and his camera crew.

     

    Aghori’s are bad people and Tantriks, he should have avoided them. But then too many Americans have a romantic image of these sorts of buggers thanks to highly sanitized writings promoted in the West.

    Read More
  20. Dan Hayes says:
    @syonredux
    We've talked about the rape of Burgess' wife by American deserters a time or two on Steve's blog. One source of interest: were the attackers Black? A disproportionate number of the American service men who committed rape in WW2 were Black:

    In an American military cemetery in France. In what is known as “Plot E” there are 96 markers with numbers and no names. Eighty of these graves belong to African-American soldiers including Louis Till, all of them executed for rape and murder.
     
    http://www.unz.com/isteve/the-megaphone-3-movies-about-emmett-till-in-the-works/#comment-1548639

    Syonredux,

    The thought of the rapists being black had also crossed my mind.

    Is it beyond the realm of possibility that one of the rapists was Emmett Till’s dad? Most probably more than unlikely!

    Read More
  21. Maslon says:

    And here I think it a bit of a stretch to try to write four novels in two years.

    Thank you for all your work over the years, Steve. Reading you has meant a lot to me.

    Read More
  22. Moshe says:
    @wren
    "I told the Evening Standard that the germ of the book was the fourfold attack on my first wife by American deserters, and this was summarised on newspaper vendors' posters as CLOCKWORK ORANGE GANG ATTACKED MY WIFE. Maurice Eldelman MP, an old friend, attacked the film in the same newspaper and I had to telephone though a reply. I was not quite sure what I was defending - the book that had been called 'a nasty little shocker' or the film about which Kubrick remained silent. I realised, not for the first time, how little impact even a shocking book can make in comparison with a film. Kubrick's achievement swallowed mine whole, and yet I was responsible for what some called its malign influence on the young."

    Well that was an astonishing film.

    Read More
  23. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Hippopotamusdrome
    OT
    CNN reporter travels to India to interview our future H1B cognitive elite in their native environment.

    TV presenter eats HUMAN BRAIN during filming of documentary before angry cannibal throws own poo at him
    ...
    In an episode of Believer, a six-part CNN series on spirituality, US religious scholar Reza Aslan meets with the Aghori, a nomadic Hindu sect in India.
    ...
    After Aslan has bathed in the sacred Ganges river, an Aghori scholar smears the ashes of a cremated body on his face and he is given alcohol served in a human skull.
    ...
    Then he is given a piece of burned human brain and eats it
    ...
    Soon after the interview turns nasty and one of the cannibals tells the presenter: "I will cut your head off if you keep talking so much."

    Then the guru begins eating his own poo - and then flings it at Aslan and his camera crew.

     

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

    These guys will never emigrate. They have zero interest in the world.

    Moreover, they merely did to Reza Aslan, who was being an uncomprehending jackass in that documentary, what many wish they could do.

    Ergo, they are alright by me.

    Read More
  24. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    But people don’t seem to get tired of Stephen King?

    Read More
  25. I really like both the book and movie versions of Clockwork Orange but for different reasons. I think I’d give the edge to the book, though, because the narrator’s rambling passages come off like a guy in a bar taking his sweet time telling a really interesting story and you just can’t get this same effect on film. The dialect in the book is really hard to parse at first but once you get used to it you’ll go around talking just like Alex, the narrator.

    Alex is possibly a good case study in game. In spite of being a cold-blooded, violent rapist, he is completely comfortable with who he is and comes across as unflappably confident and charming. Arguably this is a tell for sociopathy but I don’t think Burgess intended Alex to be a sociopath since he quietly reforms and moves on with his life in the “lost” final chapter.

    Read More
  26. Edwhy says:

    The one I’ve reread a few times, The Malayan Trilogy, is my favorite.

    Read More
  27. Supposedly, he had been misdiagnosed with terminal brain cancer so he wrote all these books to leave his widow an inheritance.

    Does this sort of thing have therapeutic potential, Raymond K Hessel style?

    Read More
  28. slumber_j says:
    @Hippopotamusdrome
    OT
    CNN reporter travels to India to interview our future H1B cognitive elite in their native environment.

    TV presenter eats HUMAN BRAIN during filming of documentary before angry cannibal throws own poo at him
    ...
    In an episode of Believer, a six-part CNN series on spirituality, US religious scholar Reza Aslan meets with the Aghori, a nomadic Hindu sect in India.
    ...
    After Aslan has bathed in the sacred Ganges river, an Aghori scholar smears the ashes of a cremated body on his face and he is given alcohol served in a human skull.
    ...
    Then he is given a piece of burned human brain and eats it
    ...
    Soon after the interview turns nasty and one of the cannibals tells the presenter: "I will cut your head off if you keep talking so much."

    Then the guru begins eating his own poo - and then flings it at Aslan and his camera crew.

     

    We now know that eating any mammal’s brain is a bad move, although it’s one I made myself in my younger days in Spain. That is, it’s a bad move if you don’t like spongiform encephalopathies: scrapie, BSE etc.

    When you eat human brain specifically, you risk contracting kuru. From Wikipedia:

    The term kuru derives from the Fore word kuria or guria (“to shake”),[1] due to the body tremors that are a classic symptom of the disease and kúru itself means “trembling”.[2] It is now widely accepted that kuru was transmitted among members of the Fore tribe of Papua New Guinea via funerary cannibalism. Deceased family members were traditionally cooked and eaten, which was thought to help free the spirit of the dead.[3] Females and children usually consumed the brain, the organ in which infectious prions were most concentrated, thus allowing for transmission of kuru. Thus, the disease was more prevalent among women and children.

    Also, eating brains strikes most people as gross. And it turns out there’s a reason for that.

    Read More
  29. @Dave Pinsen
    "Kubrick's achievement swallowed mine whole" - that's a great line.

    Kubrick’s The Shining also swallowed Stephen King’s novel whole, but King didn’t have the wit or grace to acknowledge it. Rather, he thought Kubrick ruined it and he had it redone as a TV mini-series. And we all know how great that was.

    Read More
    • Replies: @syonredux
    About the only thing that I can say in favor of King's adaptation: casting the very lovely Rebecca De Mornay as the wife.......Of course, having De Mornay instead of the Olive Oyl-esque Shelley Duvall as the wife does rather work against the horror of being snowbound.....
    , @Attila the Bum
    There was apparently conflict between the two men during production and Kubrick inserted veiled anti-King snubs in the movie as a result.
  30. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Hard to believe Burgess actually had a corny redemption final chapter of Clockwork Orange! (in the UK version only.). The American publisher was right to exclude it and Kubrick was right to ignore it.

    Bizarre case of author losing the plot of his own work. Because if Alex actually repents at the end it cancels out the success/failure dual mental state that results from the government doctors behavioral treatment. That is the deep part of the book! That the government solution is a foul kooky band-aid! That nature (orange) is what it is no matter the nurture (clockwork).

    My respect for Burgess waned some because of this but I forgive him. In the end Burgess had some sort of soft liberal side that he couldn’t help injecting into his dystopian masterpiece. Orwell would’ve read Burgess’ final chapter (in a state of total disbelief) and tossed it into the fireplace.

    Read More
  31. Dee says:

    That was a great movie! Saw it at the theatre, still have a VHS copy of it. Then girl friend gave me the sound track album for Xmas, which I still have.

    If you watch closely, the turntable Alex has is a Transcriptors Hydraulic Reference. I was in the market for a new turntable in ’72, so I went to the main library at the U of Michigan. Being one of the Public Ivies, they had an English HiFi magazine. It was about $200, which was a little out of my budget. Especially when you had to add the dust cover and plinth.

    The cover I understood, no idea what a plinth was. Eventually I figured out that was the base.

    Bought a Phillips 202 instead….

    The Transcriptors controlled the speed by raising or lowering a vane into some oil, that’s where the Hydraulic comes from. Only the English would/could come up with something like that….but it was cool.

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  32. syonredux says:
    @Harry Baldwin
    Kubrick's The Shining also swallowed Stephen King's novel whole, but King didn't have the wit or grace to acknowledge it. Rather, he thought Kubrick ruined it and he had it redone as a TV mini-series. And we all know how great that was.

    About the only thing that I can say in favor of King’s adaptation: casting the very lovely Rebecca De Mornay as the wife…….Of course, having De Mornay instead of the Olive Oyl-esque Shelley Duvall as the wife does rather work against the horror of being snowbound…..

    Read More
  33. The finest miniseries adaptation of any of King’s works is, of course, The Langoliers.

    When you combine a brilliant dramatic performance by Bronson Pinchot with state-of-the-art visual effects, how can you go wrong?

    (NOTE: I linked to a particular scene that starts at 2:08:40, or thereabouts.)

    I watched this when it first aired on ABC … ah, the memories.

    Read More
  34. Mostly people got used to Burgess the way NBA fans got used to Kareem: Yeah, sure, everybody knows there is this super-agile 7′-2″ guy with an unstoppable shot. Ho-hum.

    Did anyone ever get used to Shaq? I think Americans are always fascinated by raw, unadulterated power.

    Read More
  35. syonredux says:
    @BB753
    This happened after WWII.

    This happened after WWII.

    The rape of Burgess’ wife? Not according to WIKIPEDIA:

    A Clockwork Orange was written in Hove, then a senescent seaside town.[11] Burgess had arrived back in Britain after his stint abroad to see that much had changed. A youth culture had grown, including coffee bars, pop music and teenage gangs.[12] England was gripped by fears over juvenile delinquency.[11] Burgess claimed that the novel’s inspiration was his first wife Lynne’s beating by a gang of drunk American servicemen stationed in England during World War II.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Clockwork_Orange_(novel)#Background

    Read More
    • Replies: @BB753
    Oops, I was wrong! I was relying on my dim recollection of Burgess ' memoirs, "Little Wilson and Big God",
    From what I remember, his wife was an alcoholic with mental problems and prone to promiscuity. Perhaps her rape was a gang-bang gone "wrong".
  36. My favourite Burgess book by far is “Any Old Iron”. Very smart and thought provoking. Funny too.

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  37. @Cagey Beast
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JH3IZSM7J2U

    I recently saw a comment under a YouTube video of Roberta Flack's Killing Me Softly that said "humans once made music like this". Well this clip deserves "humans once made television like this" even though it wouldn't have been anything special when it was broadcast. Today, we could no more have a discussion like that on TV as NASA could put an astronaut into space.

    This is wonderful. Thank you for posting.

    Read More
  38. guest says:
    @Richard of Melbourne
    Burgess wrote a number of very original and interesting novels which sometimes function better as thought experiments than as literature. For my money the most entertaining thing he wrote was his autobiography (in two volumes).

    One novel (from 1962) that resonates in the current age is The Wanting Seed, a dystopian SF story set in a future in which overpopulation is tackled by state-sponsored favour for homosexuality and disapproval of heterosexuality. (Couldn't happen in the real world, of course.)

    He was a lapsed Catholic, but unlike some of that breed he didn't turn to the Left. In an age that was becoming increasingly corrupted by the poison of post-modernism and other Leftish causes, Burgess was a voice of decency and reason. His account of his time teaching at US colleges in the early 1970s is amusing for his gentle defiance of the zeitgeist.

    Yes, The Wanting Seed is apt for our times, although it has a Population Bomb feel to it. It’s the only book I’ve read by Burgess except Clockwork Orange, though I don’t remember finishing Clockwork Orange. Wanting Seed has a bit too much wordplay, as you might expect. Much is made of “God” and “dog.” But I like how he portrays homosexual as creepy and unnatural. (At least that’s how they came off to me.) You won’t find that nowadays.

    There’s a brilliant sequence in which the powers that be have set up a fake war, with no enemy, in order to kill off the excess population. They dummy it up like the Western Front in WWI, with I want to say loudspeakers pumping in war noises. I can’t remember every detail. But the upshot is every is gunned down as soon as the leave the trench, except Our Hero, who escapes.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Weltanschauung
    It's been a long time since I read The Wanting Seed, but I remember the inventiveness of it. Starts out as a dreary extrapolation of present trends: in an overpopulated future, Greater London covers nearly all of what used to be England, and the State enforces a one-child policy. But they haven't decimalized the pound, instead they have added units of Burgess's own invention alongside the traditional shillings and pence and guineas and crowns. Official news is fake, but then there is a spontaneous popular uprising which comes, not from anybody plotting or organizing, but just from Nature reasserting herself.
  39. syonredux says:
    @wren
    Thanks. I had not read that thread, and could not find more info about the incident.

    It figures that the comments section here would already have covered it.

    Searching for information, I came across a Guardian article on Burgess.

    They are not impressed.

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2005/nov/06/biography.anthonyburgess

    Yeah, an interesting thing about the rape story is that Burgess seems to be the only source, and he was prone to fabulation:

    In 1944, two years into their marriage, with Burgess away on war-service, the pregnant Lynne was assaulted by a group of American men (presumably deserting GIs) on her way home from work through the London black-out. Lynne miscarried and one of her attackers tried to break her finger as she lay on the ground to remove her golden wedding ring. From this trauma undoubtedly sprang the 20-year catalogue of pub-bannings and impromptu stripteases in public places. And yet the truth of what really happened – not least its physical consequences – is lost in the three contending versions of the event subsequently offered by Burgess to his literary agent. In a much later interview, Burgess maintained that Lynne’s consequent ill-health meant that she could never have children. One of her early 1950s letters to a friend, on the other hand, talks about starting a family. Is Lynne deluding herself, or is Burgess deliberately misleading his pursuers? Or did he genuinely not know? To borrow Biswell’s delicate phrasing, these are hard questions and the only people qualified to answer them are dead.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/anthony-burgess-my-wifes-trauma-which-version-do-you-want-322947.html

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  40. guest says:
    @Richard of Melbourne
    Burgess wrote a number of very original and interesting novels which sometimes function better as thought experiments than as literature. For my money the most entertaining thing he wrote was his autobiography (in two volumes).

    One novel (from 1962) that resonates in the current age is The Wanting Seed, a dystopian SF story set in a future in which overpopulation is tackled by state-sponsored favour for homosexuality and disapproval of heterosexuality. (Couldn't happen in the real world, of course.)

    He was a lapsed Catholic, but unlike some of that breed he didn't turn to the Left. In an age that was becoming increasingly corrupted by the poison of post-modernism and other Leftish causes, Burgess was a voice of decency and reason. His account of his time teaching at US colleges in the early 1970s is amusing for his gentle defiance of the zeitgeist.

    Also, The Wanting Seed made me look up the song Wanton Seed, which had lyrics like you won’t find in a pop song anymore, even though it’s about sex, too:

    I said to her, “My pretty maid
    Come tell me what you stand in need.”
    “Oh yes, kind sir, you’re the man to do the deed,
    For to sow my meadow with the wanton seed, the wanton seed.”
    Then I sewed high, and I sewed low
    And under the bush the seed did grow.

    Read More
  41. Dan Hayes says:
    @Cagey Beast
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JH3IZSM7J2U

    I recently saw a comment under a YouTube video of Roberta Flack's Killing Me Softly that said "humans once made music like this". Well this clip deserves "humans once made television like this" even though it wouldn't have been anything special when it was broadcast. Today, we could no more have a discussion like that on TV as NASA could put an astronaut into space.

    Cagey Beast,

    Thank you for providing this wonderful video clip. It really brought Burgess to life (even though long deceased!).

    Read More
  42. “It was the afternoon of my eighty-first birthday, and I was in bed with my catamite when Ali announced that the archbishop had come to see me.”

    That’s Earthly Powers. I liked 1985 and especially the Malayan trilogy.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Weltanschauung
    I must read it one of these days if it fulfills the promise of that opening sentence.
  43. Somewhat OT-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWM57gILbS4

    A lone defender of the Anglo-Saxon tradition of free speech confronts an Antifa mob on the aptly named Nimrod Passage in London. LD50, an art gallery in the East End, dared to exhibit art influenced by the Alt Right and the “No Platform” crowd came out in force. As far as I can tell, the art gallery did not endorse any political ideology, but merely sought to exhibit some of the artwork that has exploded in the last few years on the Internet. The lone protester, who self-identifies himself as Jewish, seems eminently reasonable in his support for open discourse, but he is denounced as a Nazi and likened to Anders Breivik, the Norwegian ultra-nationalist who massacred 77 of his own countrymen. The free speech advocate is so reasonable and reserved in his protest that the whole thing seems almost staged. If Monty Python was still around, they could work wonders based on this crowd.

    The moral and intellectual bankruptcy of Europeans is utterly soul crushing. Europeans exist in the intellectual backwash of the vapid and inane American political discourse. It’s shocking that the European Left fails to realize how much their minds have been colonized by American Leftist cliches and psychobabble.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Pericles

    Europeans exist in the intellectual backwash of the vapid and inane American political discourse. It’s shocking that the European Left fails to realize how much their minds have been colonized by American Leftist cliches and psychobabble.

     

    Well put, and quite true.
  44. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Mick Jagger and his manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, really wanted to make “Clockwork” over a couple year period in the mid 60′s. First with Richard Lester and then John Schlesinger and the Beatles providing a soundtrack.

    http://www.denofgeek.com/us/movies/lord-of-the-rings/248675/beatles-vs-stones-and-two-unmade-stanley-kubrick-movies

    and

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/1924636/Mick-Jagger-sought-Clockwork-Orange-role.html

    Read More
  45. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Anon
    The Greatest Generation. Fuck yeah!

    The writer in the movie should have gone to Don Corleone for justice.

    Clemenza’s men could have straightened Alex and his droogs.

    Read More
    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
    Here you go. The opening scene of The Godfather.

    https://youtu.be/OIBpHO1gZgQ?t=45s

  46. Alfa158 says:
    @Cagey Beast
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JH3IZSM7J2U

    I recently saw a comment under a YouTube video of Roberta Flack's Killing Me Softly that said "humans once made music like this". Well this clip deserves "humans once made television like this" even though it wouldn't have been anything special when it was broadcast. Today, we could no more have a discussion like that on TV as NASA could put an astronaut into space.

    I had read somewhere that Walter Carlos was making the transition to becoming Wendy Carlos while writing the music for Clockwork Orange. That seemed to be the case based on the shots in that clip. I don’t know if it had anything to do with the sex change or just the exhaustion of the synthesized music genre but Carlos’s work never seemed quite as striking after the change. In most art forms, women have never produced as much work at the same very highest levels as men.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Hapalong Cassidy
    I don't know about that. I always thought Carlos' best work was the fantastic soundtrack for TRON in the early 80's.
  47. @Anon
    The writer in the movie should have gone to Don Corleone for justice.

    Clemenza's men could have straightened Alex and his droogs.

    Here you go. The opening scene of The Godfather.

    https://youtu.be/OIBpHO1gZgQ?t=45s

    Read More
  48. Simon says:
    @2Mintzin1
    Burgess is somewhat justified. In the book, there are three incidents of rape/attempted rape.
    The last one (assault on the wife) was pretty much as recounted in the book, but the other two (in the book our hero Alex rapes two 12 year old girls...in the movie, it is consensual sex with two beautiful teenagers on camera; the other incident in the book is an attempted rape of a child... the movie uses, instead, a remarkably built adult actress who has her clothes stripped off) were sexed up by Kubrick to near- pornography. He also made the violence look fun, accompanying it with goofy music.


    Scenes that should have inspired pity and horror were changed in order to titillate Kubrick's audience, to glamorize his hero, and, not so incidentally, to make money. And today, we have ...Quentin Tarantino.

    The book, by the way, certainly was a "nasty little shocker", as well as a brilliant peice of writing.

    Am so glad you pointed out some of the disturbing alterations Kubrick made in Burgess’s novel. Another (and apologies that I don’t have the book in front of me at the moment to double-check this) is that the supremely bookish Burgess, I seem to recall, had the gang of hoodlums beat up a man carrying a bunch of books home from the library. In the movie, they beat up a rather creepy-looking old derelict who, you sense, Kubrick almost feels has it coming. And I’m convinced Kubrick made the protracted rape scene deliberately salacious.

    I had Burgess as a professor in a graduate writing seminar at Columbia. He was extremely charming and convivial but rather lazy; it soon became apparent that he never actually read any of the stories we students turned in. (Instead, he simply encouraged us to discuss them in class.) The main educational benefit we students enjoyed was quite simply the chance to see a genuine literary celebrity up close — to have a beer with him at a nearby bar, to listen to his comments and observations, and to see that despite being a Famous Author, he was an actual human being.

    I remember asking him, when the film of “Clockwork” opened, if he’d made a lot of money from it. (Note: It was during an informal chat, and I don’t think I was quite as crass as this probably sounds.) I remember he explained, a little sadly, that no, the film had brought him no money, or practically none; he said he’d sold the movie rights long ago for almost nothing.

    P.S. Someone above asked for recommendations. I found Burgess’s “Enderby” books his most entertaining.

    Read More
    • Replies: @2Mintzin1
    "to see a genuine literary celebrity up close — to have a beer with him at a nearby bar"

    Dollars to donuts it was the old "West End"... a great place.
    , @Harry Baldwin
    Burgess may not have made much money from the film rights to Clockwork Orange and that is unfortunate, but it boosted his fame as a writer and no doubt greatly increased his book sales.

    Winston Groom, who wrote Forrest Gump, sold the film rights for $50,000 and felt very ill-used when the movie was a big hit. However, Forrest Gump the novel is not nearly as good as Forrest Gump the movie.
  49. BB753 says:
    @Cagey Beast
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JH3IZSM7J2U

    I recently saw a comment under a YouTube video of Roberta Flack's Killing Me Softly that said "humans once made music like this". Well this clip deserves "humans once made television like this" even though it wouldn't have been anything special when it was broadcast. Today, we could no more have a discussion like that on TV as NASA could put an astronaut into space.

    “Today, we could no more have a discussion like that on TV as NASA could put an astronaut into space.”

    Educated men in suits and ties? Smoking on the tv set? Intelligent analysis and meaningful conversation? No, you can’t have that today, you cisgendered heteropatriarchal bigot!

    Read More
  50. el topo says:
    @2Mintzin1
    Burgess is somewhat justified. In the book, there are three incidents of rape/attempted rape.
    The last one (assault on the wife) was pretty much as recounted in the book, but the other two (in the book our hero Alex rapes two 12 year old girls...in the movie, it is consensual sex with two beautiful teenagers on camera; the other incident in the book is an attempted rape of a child... the movie uses, instead, a remarkably built adult actress who has her clothes stripped off) were sexed up by Kubrick to near- pornography. He also made the violence look fun, accompanying it with goofy music.


    Scenes that should have inspired pity and horror were changed in order to titillate Kubrick's audience, to glamorize his hero, and, not so incidentally, to make money. And today, we have ...Quentin Tarantino.

    The book, by the way, certainly was a "nasty little shocker", as well as a brilliant peice of writing.

    “He also made the violence look fun, accompanying it with goofy music.

    Scenes that should have inspired pity and horror were changed in order to titillate Kubrick’s audience, to glamorize his hero, and, not so incidentally, to make money.”

    Quite so. I have always found the film to be loathsome.

    Read More
  51. Anonym says:
    @syonredux

    I’m just wary about the best anecdotes told by the best storytellers. I know a lot of John Huston stories, for example, but it would be too much work to try to verify what was precisely true and what was improved in the retelling over the years. The man was John Huston. He was really good at telling stories.
     
    That's putting it mildly: The Maltese Falcon, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Key Largo, Fat City, The Man Who Would be King, Prizzi's Honor, ....

    Even The Kremlin Letter is very watchable, way above its imdb rating of 6.4 I thought. I remember reading that the production did not go smoothly but can’t find evidence of that with a brief googling.

    Read More
    • Replies: @syonredux

    Even The Kremlin Letter is very watchable, way above its imdb rating of 6.4 I thought. I remember reading that the production did not go smoothly but can’t find evidence of that with a brief googling.
     
    Yeah. I watched it recently on Cable, and thought that it was perfectly all right. Not up there with The Maltese Falcon or The Man Who Would Be King, of course, but a pleasant viewing experience.
  52. BB753 says:
    @syonredux

    This happened after WWII.
     
    The rape of Burgess' wife? Not according to WIKIPEDIA:

    A Clockwork Orange was written in Hove, then a senescent seaside town.[11] Burgess had arrived back in Britain after his stint abroad to see that much had changed. A youth culture had grown, including coffee bars, pop music and teenage gangs.[12] England was gripped by fears over juvenile delinquency.[11] Burgess claimed that the novel's inspiration was his first wife Lynne's beating by a gang of drunk American servicemen stationed in England during World War II.
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Clockwork_Orange_(novel)#Background

    Oops, I was wrong! I was relying on my dim recollection of Burgess ‘ memoirs, “Little Wilson and Big God”,
    From what I remember, his wife was an alcoholic with mental problems and prone to promiscuity. Perhaps her rape was a gang-bang gone “wrong”.

    Read More
    • Replies: @syonredux

    Oops, I was wrong! I was relying on my dim recollection of Burgess ‘ memoirs, “Little Wilson and Big God”,
    From what I remember, his wife was an alcoholic with mental problems and prone to promiscuity. Perhaps her rape was a gang-bang gone “wrong”.
     
    Yeah, I'm kinda thinking along those lines myself.....
  53. The Enderby novels were a hilarious and prescient send-up of PC.

    And just to bring in a bit of local knowledge, Burgess was a schoolteacher in Malaya and the Malayan Trilogy is full of local allusions. The title of the first book “Time for a Tiger” refers to the excellent local tiger beer, Nabby Adams waking up from his drunken reverie is the biblical-Adam post-fall (Nabi Adam to Muslim Malays) in the fictional Ulu Lanchap (lancap is Malay for masturbation), etc…(I’d need to go through it again). Burgess’ depiction of Malayan society rings true, I LOL’ed at some of the characters who were stereotypes no doubt, but as every iSteve’r knows, stereotypes are based on truth. In contrast, both Naipaul (Among the Believers) and Theroux (The Consul’s File) missed the mark although in Naipaul’s defence he was on an Islamic fact-finding mission and didn’t spend much time in the country. No such excuse for Theroux who came up really flat in this and “The great Railway Bazaar”.

    There’s also speculation, or maybe just a parlour game in literary circles, that “Clockwork Orange” may not be a mishearing of “chocolate orange”, a sweet manufactured by Cadbury’s. Burgess may have made a sly allusion to a “Clockwork orang” with “orang” being the Malay for person (as many would be aware from orang-utan which just means jungle-man, you’re all mostly orang Amerika here by the way).

    Read More
  54. A Steve blog on Burgess and 53 comments; yet no-one has yet mentioned the writer’s greatest achievement: four consecutive occurrences of the word “onions” in plain declarative English, with no violation of grammar.

    Then, instead of expensive mouthwash, he had breathed on Hogg-Enderby, bafflingly (for no banquet would serve, because of the known redolence of onions, onions) onions. ‘Onions,’ said Hogg.

    Read More
    • LOL: BB753
    • Replies: @syonredux
    Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.
    , @Reactionary Utopian
    As I recall, he did the "onions onions onions onions" thing TWICE. Two widely separated places in the novel. He was marvelous.
  55. 2Mintzin1 says:
    @Simon
    Am so glad you pointed out some of the disturbing alterations Kubrick made in Burgess's novel. Another (and apologies that I don't have the book in front of me at the moment to double-check this) is that the supremely bookish Burgess, I seem to recall, had the gang of hoodlums beat up a man carrying a bunch of books home from the library. In the movie, they beat up a rather creepy-looking old derelict who, you sense, Kubrick almost feels has it coming. And I'm convinced Kubrick made the protracted rape scene deliberately salacious.

    I had Burgess as a professor in a graduate writing seminar at Columbia. He was extremely charming and convivial but rather lazy; it soon became apparent that he never actually read any of the stories we students turned in. (Instead, he simply encouraged us to discuss them in class.) The main educational benefit we students enjoyed was quite simply the chance to see a genuine literary celebrity up close -- to have a beer with him at a nearby bar, to listen to his comments and observations, and to see that despite being a Famous Author, he was an actual human being.

    I remember asking him, when the film of "Clockwork" opened, if he'd made a lot of money from it. (Note: It was during an informal chat, and I don't think I was quite as crass as this probably sounds.) I remember he explained, a little sadly, that no, the film had brought him no money, or practically none; he said he'd sold the movie rights long ago for almost nothing.

    P.S. Someone above asked for recommendations. I found Burgess's "Enderby" books his most entertaining.

    “to see a genuine literary celebrity up close — to have a beer with him at a nearby bar”

    Dollars to donuts it was the old “West End”… a great place.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Simon
    I see you know Columbia! Actually, though, the West End was too damned popular and generally quite crowded. This was the Gold Rail across the street, now (if memory serves) a Chinese restaurant.
  56. @Cloud of Probable Matricide
    "It was the afternoon of my eighty-first birthday, and I was in bed with my catamite when Ali announced that the archbishop had come to see me."

    That's Earthly Powers. I liked 1985 and especially the Malayan trilogy.

    I must read it one of these days if it fulfills the promise of that opening sentence.

    Read More
  57. @Richard of Melbourne
    Burgess wrote a number of very original and interesting novels which sometimes function better as thought experiments than as literature. For my money the most entertaining thing he wrote was his autobiography (in two volumes).

    One novel (from 1962) that resonates in the current age is The Wanting Seed, a dystopian SF story set in a future in which overpopulation is tackled by state-sponsored favour for homosexuality and disapproval of heterosexuality. (Couldn't happen in the real world, of course.)

    He was a lapsed Catholic, but unlike some of that breed he didn't turn to the Left. In an age that was becoming increasingly corrupted by the poison of post-modernism and other Leftish causes, Burgess was a voice of decency and reason. His account of his time teaching at US colleges in the early 1970s is amusing for his gentle defiance of the zeitgeist.

    His autobiography is definitely worth reading, based on my skimming the first half of the first volume. I’m guessing it’s all as good as what I’ve sampled.

    For me, his prose style is generally a pleasure to read. I’m not good at reading novels, though did read _A Clockwork Orange_ in high school (1980s), recommended by my school friend who had started it without discovering the glossary until he didn’t need it anymore.

    Not to be missed (maybe not mentioned yet in the comments) is his writings on language for a general educated audience. I believe he revised / expanded the same work a few times.

    The last version was _A mouthful of air_.

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/112768.A_Mouthful_of_Air

    Most possibly, _A mouthful of air_ and _How to learn languages (and which languages to learn)_ by Mario Pei are stellar examples of “the friendly didactic work on foreign languages for the educated reader who is a native English speaker.”

    Because he was teaching in a Malay environment (in Malaysia(?)) and definitely in Brunei, he has some whimsical examples such as how to write the name Sherlock Holmes in Arabic letters as the Malays would do it.

    He must have been quite proud of his first line in _Earthly powers_. From the next world, he’s probably happy to see that people are quoting it still.

    Read More
  58. @guest
    Yes, The Wanting Seed is apt for our times, although it has a Population Bomb feel to it. It's the only book I've read by Burgess except Clockwork Orange, though I don't remember finishing Clockwork Orange. Wanting Seed has a bit too much wordplay, as you might expect. Much is made of "God" and "dog." But I like how he portrays homosexual as creepy and unnatural. (At least that's how they came off to me.) You won't find that nowadays.

    There's a brilliant sequence in which the powers that be have set up a fake war, with no enemy, in order to kill off the excess population. They dummy it up like the Western Front in WWI, with I want to say loudspeakers pumping in war noises. I can't remember every detail. But the upshot is every is gunned down as soon as the leave the trench, except Our Hero, who escapes.

    It’s been a long time since I read The Wanting Seed, but I remember the inventiveness of it. Starts out as a dreary extrapolation of present trends: in an overpopulated future, Greater London covers nearly all of what used to be England, and the State enforces a one-child policy. But they haven’t decimalized the pound, instead they have added units of Burgess’s own invention alongside the traditional shillings and pence and guineas and crowns. Official news is fake, but then there is a spontaneous popular uprising which comes, not from anybody plotting or organizing, but just from Nature reasserting herself.

    Read More
  59. @Simon
    Am so glad you pointed out some of the disturbing alterations Kubrick made in Burgess's novel. Another (and apologies that I don't have the book in front of me at the moment to double-check this) is that the supremely bookish Burgess, I seem to recall, had the gang of hoodlums beat up a man carrying a bunch of books home from the library. In the movie, they beat up a rather creepy-looking old derelict who, you sense, Kubrick almost feels has it coming. And I'm convinced Kubrick made the protracted rape scene deliberately salacious.

    I had Burgess as a professor in a graduate writing seminar at Columbia. He was extremely charming and convivial but rather lazy; it soon became apparent that he never actually read any of the stories we students turned in. (Instead, he simply encouraged us to discuss them in class.) The main educational benefit we students enjoyed was quite simply the chance to see a genuine literary celebrity up close -- to have a beer with him at a nearby bar, to listen to his comments and observations, and to see that despite being a Famous Author, he was an actual human being.

    I remember asking him, when the film of "Clockwork" opened, if he'd made a lot of money from it. (Note: It was during an informal chat, and I don't think I was quite as crass as this probably sounds.) I remember he explained, a little sadly, that no, the film had brought him no money, or practically none; he said he'd sold the movie rights long ago for almost nothing.

    P.S. Someone above asked for recommendations. I found Burgess's "Enderby" books his most entertaining.

    Burgess may not have made much money from the film rights to Clockwork Orange and that is unfortunate, but it boosted his fame as a writer and no doubt greatly increased his book sales.

    Winston Groom, who wrote Forrest Gump, sold the film rights for $50,000 and felt very ill-used when the movie was a big hit. However, Forrest Gump the novel is not nearly as good as Forrest Gump the movie.

    Read More
  60. Book and movie both great.
    One of best book-movie adaptations ever.
    Very amusing when Alex is being rehabilitated, and he reads the Bible.
    He begins to like it as he sees it from the Romans’ side and appreciates the Crucifixion from their point of view.
    Never read the UK chapter.

    Read More
  61. @cthulhu
    Kubrick's string of movies from 1962 to 1975 - Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon - is one amazing run. Has any post-film-noir American director equaled it?

    And speaking of date movies as Buzz was upthread: After The Deer Hunter won the Best Picture Oscar (I was in high school), it was playing at the local theater and I took my girlfriend to see it - we lived in a small town and at that time, we got movies anywhere between 2 and 4 months after their initial release, so it just happened that it showed up at one of our town's four screens a few weeks after the Oscars. We knew that it was set during the Vietnam war but didn't know much about it otherwise except for the Best Picture award. Amazingly enough, she didn't drop me like a rock after the experience...

    I’d add Paths of Glory to that list, as well, extending the string a bit further.

    Read More
    • Replies: @cthulhu


    I’d add Paths of Glory to that list, as well, extending the string a bit further.

     

    But Paths of Glory and Lolita were separated by Spartacus, which IMHO doesn't live up to the rest - not surprising, as it was a Hollywood film with a cloying Dalton Trumbo script that Kubrick took over at the behest of star Kirk Douglas. Kubrick swore off Hollywood after that experience.

    That doesn't stop Paths of Glory being one of Kubrick's top three (again, IMHO) films, but it's not in a continuous flow from 1957 to 1975.
    , @syonredux

    I’d add Paths of Glory to that list, as well, extending the string a bit further.
     
    Interesting to view the deeply compassionate and humanistic Paths of Glory alongside A Clockwork Orange.....
    , @guest
    Paths of Glory is one of two Kubrik movies I actually like, the other being The Shining. Watching the rest is like homework for me, though I enjoy the part of 2001 with the apes.
  62. The newest editions of Clockwork have an excellent Preface written by Burgess in the 1980s, in which he clarifies the difference between his vision and Kubrick’s vision. Along the way, he clears up any confusion one might have about his ideological leanings in late life. He would be run off campus these days.

    Read More
  63. @Cagey Beast
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JH3IZSM7J2U

    I recently saw a comment under a YouTube video of Roberta Flack's Killing Me Softly that said "humans once made music like this". Well this clip deserves "humans once made television like this" even though it wouldn't have been anything special when it was broadcast. Today, we could no more have a discussion like that on TV as NASA could put an astronaut into space.

    Killing Me Softly was a piece of hack work, beneath even lyricist Norman Gimbel’s usual mediocre BMI standards. The title line doesn’t scan! I can’t tell you who wrote the “tune”; but he and Norm were Roberta’s flacks.

    Humans made songs– and films– better than these, before the 1970s.

    Read More
  64. cthulhu says:
    @el topo
    "He also made the violence look fun, accompanying it with goofy music.

    Scenes that should have inspired pity and horror were changed in order to titillate Kubrick’s audience, to glamorize his hero, and, not so incidentally, to make money."

    Quite so. I have always found the film to be loathsome.

    Both of you seem to be irony-challenged.

    Read More
  65. cthulhu says:
    @Polichinello
    I'd add Paths of Glory to that list, as well, extending the string a bit further.

    I’d add Paths of Glory to that list, as well, extending the string a bit further.

    But Paths of Glory and Lolita were separated by Spartacus, which IMHO doesn’t live up to the rest – not surprising, as it was a Hollywood film with a cloying Dalton Trumbo script that Kubrick took over at the behest of star Kirk Douglas. Kubrick swore off Hollywood after that experience.

    That doesn’t stop Paths of Glory being one of Kubrick’s top three (again, IMHO) films, but it’s not in a continuous flow from 1957 to 1975.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The Trumbo dialogue for "Spartacus" is pretty bad.
    , @syonredux

    But Paths of Glory and Lolita were separated by Spartacus, which IMHO doesn’t live up to the rest – not surprising, as it was a Hollywood film with a cloying Dalton Trumbo script that Kubrick took over at the behest of star Kirk Douglas
     
    Spartacus was Kubrick's director-for-hire film. It's not really part of his oeuvre.
  66. @Richard of Melbourne
    Burgess wrote a number of very original and interesting novels which sometimes function better as thought experiments than as literature. For my money the most entertaining thing he wrote was his autobiography (in two volumes).

    One novel (from 1962) that resonates in the current age is The Wanting Seed, a dystopian SF story set in a future in which overpopulation is tackled by state-sponsored favour for homosexuality and disapproval of heterosexuality. (Couldn't happen in the real world, of course.)

    He was a lapsed Catholic, but unlike some of that breed he didn't turn to the Left. In an age that was becoming increasingly corrupted by the poison of post-modernism and other Leftish causes, Burgess was a voice of decency and reason. His account of his time teaching at US colleges in the early 1970s is amusing for his gentle defiance of the zeitgeist.

    “He was a lapsed Catholic, but unlike some of that breed he didn’t turn to the Left.”

    Unlike the lapsed Catholic currently occupying the See of Peter you mean?

    Read More
  67. Simon says:
    @2Mintzin1
    "to see a genuine literary celebrity up close — to have a beer with him at a nearby bar"

    Dollars to donuts it was the old "West End"... a great place.

    I see you know Columbia! Actually, though, the West End was too damned popular and generally quite crowded. This was the Gold Rail across the street, now (if memory serves) a Chinese restaurant.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    I went to Columbia College (the undergrad part of CU) years ago and remember both the West End and the Gold Rail.

    The Columbia campus is not very large and you would run into people you recognized, but had not met, all the time. Which is why I found it very odd that no one, repeat no one, ever came forward and said they remembered BHO from his time at Columbia. It makes me think that he went not to Columbia College, but rather General Studies which was more of a commuter school. But since his diploma is locked down tighter than the nuclear codes in the presidential football, we will probably never know.
  68. syonredux says:
    @BB753
    Oops, I was wrong! I was relying on my dim recollection of Burgess ' memoirs, "Little Wilson and Big God",
    From what I remember, his wife was an alcoholic with mental problems and prone to promiscuity. Perhaps her rape was a gang-bang gone "wrong".

    Oops, I was wrong! I was relying on my dim recollection of Burgess ‘ memoirs, “Little Wilson and Big God”,
    From what I remember, his wife was an alcoholic with mental problems and prone to promiscuity. Perhaps her rape was a gang-bang gone “wrong”.

    Yeah, I’m kinda thinking along those lines myself…..

    Read More
  69. syonredux says:
    @Polichinello
    I'd add Paths of Glory to that list, as well, extending the string a bit further.

    I’d add Paths of Glory to that list, as well, extending the string a bit further.

    Interesting to view the deeply compassionate and humanistic Paths of Glory alongside A Clockwork Orange…..

    Read More
  70. syonredux says:
    @John Derbyshire
    A Steve blog on Burgess and 53 comments; yet no-one has yet mentioned the writer's greatest achievement: four consecutive occurrences of the word "onions" in plain declarative English, with no violation of grammar.

    Then, instead of expensive mouthwash, he had breathed on Hogg-Enderby, bafflingly (for no banquet would serve, because of the known redolence of onions, onions) onions. ‘Onions,’ said Hogg.
     

    Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

    Read More
  71. syonredux says:
    @Anonym
    Even The Kremlin Letter is very watchable, way above its imdb rating of 6.4 I thought. I remember reading that the production did not go smoothly but can't find evidence of that with a brief googling.

    Even The Kremlin Letter is very watchable, way above its imdb rating of 6.4 I thought. I remember reading that the production did not go smoothly but can’t find evidence of that with a brief googling.

    Yeah. I watched it recently on Cable, and thought that it was perfectly all right. Not up there with The Maltese Falcon or The Man Who Would Be King, of course, but a pleasant viewing experience.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonym
    Yeah. I watched it recently on Cable, and thought that it was perfectly all right. Not up there with The Maltese Falcon or The Man Who Would Be King, of course, but a pleasant viewing experience.

    You are right, it's probably not on the same level as those as a general film. But as a realistic depiction of Cold War spying, it's up there. It was written by a former counter-intelligence officer, and routinely appears in lists of realistic spy movies. Richard Boone's performance inspired me to look up his other work. Maybe one day I will watch Have Gun Will Travel, but when I read a review stating that the protagonist prevails over "injustice, discrimination and hate", it made me reluctant to watch a proto-SJW cowboy, no matter how objectively good the series may have been (8.5 on imdb).

    Anyway, at this stage of my life I am rather partial to films that I know have attempted to depict things realistically. The Kremlin Letter is one of those films. I went through and binge watched a lot of the "realistic spy movie" genre - that film was one of the highlights for me. It takes a little to get into, but it's worth it.
  72. @cthulhu


    I’d add Paths of Glory to that list, as well, extending the string a bit further.

     

    But Paths of Glory and Lolita were separated by Spartacus, which IMHO doesn't live up to the rest - not surprising, as it was a Hollywood film with a cloying Dalton Trumbo script that Kubrick took over at the behest of star Kirk Douglas. Kubrick swore off Hollywood after that experience.

    That doesn't stop Paths of Glory being one of Kubrick's top three (again, IMHO) films, but it's not in a continuous flow from 1957 to 1975.

    The Trumbo dialogue for “Spartacus” is pretty bad.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Gary in Gramercy
    As is Tony Curtis's atrocious outer-borough accent, assaying the role of "Antoninus, a singah of sawngs." I first saw the movie in its entirety when it was reissued in a new, improved print in the mid-1990's, at the late, lamented Ziegfield Theatre on West 54th Street (wide screen, great sound, the only place to see classic epic "cast of thousands" movies from the '50's and '60's).

    I enjoyed it -- the "oysters and snails" scene with Lawrence Olivier, excised from the first theatrical release, is of particular note, given Olivier's reputation -- but called the friend who insisted I see the film to tell him I couldn't understand why a director as careful and perfectionist as Kubrick didn't make Tony Curtis do another take or three to get his accent up to scratch. Silence at the other end of the line. Then, my friend, a major cinephile who's read and seen everything, said: "That was the 31st take!"
  73. @John Derbyshire
    A Steve blog on Burgess and 53 comments; yet no-one has yet mentioned the writer's greatest achievement: four consecutive occurrences of the word "onions" in plain declarative English, with no violation of grammar.

    Then, instead of expensive mouthwash, he had breathed on Hogg-Enderby, bafflingly (for no banquet would serve, because of the known redolence of onions, onions) onions. ‘Onions,’ said Hogg.
     

    As I recall, he did the “onions onions onions onions” thing TWICE. Two widely separated places in the novel. He was marvelous.

    Read More
  74. syonredux says:
    @cthulhu


    I’d add Paths of Glory to that list, as well, extending the string a bit further.

     

    But Paths of Glory and Lolita were separated by Spartacus, which IMHO doesn't live up to the rest - not surprising, as it was a Hollywood film with a cloying Dalton Trumbo script that Kubrick took over at the behest of star Kirk Douglas. Kubrick swore off Hollywood after that experience.

    That doesn't stop Paths of Glory being one of Kubrick's top three (again, IMHO) films, but it's not in a continuous flow from 1957 to 1975.

    But Paths of Glory and Lolita were separated by Spartacus, which IMHO doesn’t live up to the rest – not surprising, as it was a Hollywood film with a cloying Dalton Trumbo script that Kubrick took over at the behest of star Kirk Douglas

    Spartacus was Kubrick’s director-for-hire film. It’s not really part of his oeuvre.

    Read More
  75. guest says:
    @Polichinello
    I'd add Paths of Glory to that list, as well, extending the string a bit further.

    Paths of Glory is one of two Kubrik movies I actually like, the other being The Shining. Watching the rest is like homework for me, though I enjoy the part of 2001 with the apes.

    Read More
  76. Pericles says:
    @Anonymous
    Hard to believe Burgess actually had a corny redemption final chapter of Clockwork Orange! (in the UK version only.). The American publisher was right to exclude it and Kubrick was right to ignore it.

    Bizarre case of author losing the plot of his own work. Because if Alex actually repents at the end it cancels out the success/failure dual mental state that results from the government doctors behavioral treatment. That is the deep part of the book! That the government solution is a foul kooky band-aid! That nature (orange) is what it is no matter the nurture (clockwork).

    My respect for Burgess waned some because of this but I forgive him. In the end Burgess had some sort of soft liberal side that he couldn't help injecting into his dystopian masterpiece. Orwell would've read Burgess' final chapter (in a state of total disbelief) and tossed it into the fireplace.

    What would Gordon Lish have made of it?

    Read More
  77. Anonym says:
    @syonredux

    Even The Kremlin Letter is very watchable, way above its imdb rating of 6.4 I thought. I remember reading that the production did not go smoothly but can’t find evidence of that with a brief googling.
     
    Yeah. I watched it recently on Cable, and thought that it was perfectly all right. Not up there with The Maltese Falcon or The Man Who Would Be King, of course, but a pleasant viewing experience.

    Yeah. I watched it recently on Cable, and thought that it was perfectly all right. Not up there with The Maltese Falcon or The Man Who Would Be King, of course, but a pleasant viewing experience.

    You are right, it’s probably not on the same level as those as a general film. But as a realistic depiction of Cold War spying, it’s up there. It was written by a former counter-intelligence officer, and routinely appears in lists of realistic spy movies. Richard Boone’s performance inspired me to look up his other work. Maybe one day I will watch Have Gun Will Travel, but when I read a review stating that the protagonist prevails over “injustice, discrimination and hate”, it made me reluctant to watch a proto-SJW cowboy, no matter how objectively good the series may have been (8.5 on imdb).

    Anyway, at this stage of my life I am rather partial to films that I know have attempted to depict things realistically. The Kremlin Letter is one of those films. I went through and binge watched a lot of the “realistic spy movie” genre – that film was one of the highlights for me. It takes a little to get into, but it’s worth it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @syonredux

    Maybe one day I will watch Have Gun Will Travel, but when I read a review stating that the protagonist prevails over “injustice, discrimination and hate”, it made me reluctant to watch a proto-SJW cowboy, no matter how objectively good the series may have been (8.5 on imdb).
     
    Have Gun-Will Travel is my all time favorite TV Western. And I wouldn't really call it proto-SJW. Sure, there are a few eps that involve "oppressed minorities," but the show was mostly about standard Western stuff (fighting bandits, stopping corrupt lawmen, etc).
  78. syonredux says:
    @Anonym
    Yeah. I watched it recently on Cable, and thought that it was perfectly all right. Not up there with The Maltese Falcon or The Man Who Would Be King, of course, but a pleasant viewing experience.

    You are right, it's probably not on the same level as those as a general film. But as a realistic depiction of Cold War spying, it's up there. It was written by a former counter-intelligence officer, and routinely appears in lists of realistic spy movies. Richard Boone's performance inspired me to look up his other work. Maybe one day I will watch Have Gun Will Travel, but when I read a review stating that the protagonist prevails over "injustice, discrimination and hate", it made me reluctant to watch a proto-SJW cowboy, no matter how objectively good the series may have been (8.5 on imdb).

    Anyway, at this stage of my life I am rather partial to films that I know have attempted to depict things realistically. The Kremlin Letter is one of those films. I went through and binge watched a lot of the "realistic spy movie" genre - that film was one of the highlights for me. It takes a little to get into, but it's worth it.

    Maybe one day I will watch Have Gun Will Travel, but when I read a review stating that the protagonist prevails over “injustice, discrimination and hate”, it made me reluctant to watch a proto-SJW cowboy, no matter how objectively good the series may have been (8.5 on imdb).

    Have Gun-Will Travel is my all time favorite TV Western. And I wouldn’t really call it proto-SJW. Sure, there are a few eps that involve “oppressed minorities,” but the show was mostly about standard Western stuff (fighting bandits, stopping corrupt lawmen, etc).

    Read More
  79. Dan Hayes says:

    syonredux:

    I agree. Although Richard Boone was a certified left-wing liberal, I agree that the political propagandizing was kept in bounds. Not due to Boone’s political proclivities, but that the times and venue (movie Westerns) kept the political propagandizing down.

    Read More
  80. Anonym says:
    @syonredux

    Maybe one day I will watch Have Gun Will Travel, but when I read a review stating that the protagonist prevails over “injustice, discrimination and hate”, it made me reluctant to watch a proto-SJW cowboy, no matter how objectively good the series may have been (8.5 on imdb).
     
    Have Gun-Will Travel is my all time favorite TV Western. And I wouldn't really call it proto-SJW. Sure, there are a few eps that involve "oppressed minorities," but the show was mostly about standard Western stuff (fighting bandits, stopping corrupt lawmen, etc).

    Ok, I’ll watch it.

    Read More
  81. @Steve Sailer
    The Trumbo dialogue for "Spartacus" is pretty bad.

    As is Tony Curtis’s atrocious outer-borough accent, assaying the role of “Antoninus, a singah of sawngs.” I first saw the movie in its entirety when it was reissued in a new, improved print in the mid-1990′s, at the late, lamented Ziegfield Theatre on West 54th Street (wide screen, great sound, the only place to see classic epic “cast of thousands” movies from the ’50′s and ’60′s).

    I enjoyed it — the “oysters and snails” scene with Lawrence Olivier, excised from the first theatrical release, is of particular note, given Olivier’s reputation — but called the friend who insisted I see the film to tell him I couldn’t understand why a director as careful and perfectionist as Kubrick didn’t make Tony Curtis do another take or three to get his accent up to scratch. Silence at the other end of the line. Then, my friend, a major cinephile who’s read and seen everything, said: “That was the 31st take!”

    Read More
  82. @Alfa158
    I had read somewhere that Walter Carlos was making the transition to becoming Wendy Carlos while writing the music for Clockwork Orange. That seemed to be the case based on the shots in that clip. I don't know if it had anything to do with the sex change or just the exhaustion of the synthesized music genre but Carlos's work never seemed quite as striking after the change. In most art forms, women have never produced as much work at the same very highest levels as men.

    I don’t know about that. I always thought Carlos’ best work was the fantastic soundtrack for TRON in the early 80′s.

    Read More
  83. Pericles says:
    @Clifford Brown
    Somewhat OT-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWM57gILbS4

    A lone defender of the Anglo-Saxon tradition of free speech confronts an Antifa mob on the aptly named Nimrod Passage in London. LD50, an art gallery in the East End, dared to exhibit art influenced by the Alt Right and the "No Platform" crowd came out in force. As far as I can tell, the art gallery did not endorse any political ideology, but merely sought to exhibit some of the artwork that has exploded in the last few years on the Internet. The lone protester, who self-identifies himself as Jewish, seems eminently reasonable in his support for open discourse, but he is denounced as a Nazi and likened to Anders Breivik, the Norwegian ultra-nationalist who massacred 77 of his own countrymen. The free speech advocate is so reasonable and reserved in his protest that the whole thing seems almost staged. If Monty Python was still around, they could work wonders based on this crowd.

    The moral and intellectual bankruptcy of Europeans is utterly soul crushing. Europeans exist in the intellectual backwash of the vapid and inane American political discourse. It's shocking that the European Left fails to realize how much their minds have been colonized by American Leftist cliches and psychobabble.

    Europeans exist in the intellectual backwash of the vapid and inane American political discourse. It’s shocking that the European Left fails to realize how much their minds have been colonized by American Leftist cliches and psychobabble.

    Well put, and quite true.

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  84. @Simon
    I see you know Columbia! Actually, though, the West End was too damned popular and generally quite crowded. This was the Gold Rail across the street, now (if memory serves) a Chinese restaurant.

    I went to Columbia College (the undergrad part of CU) years ago and remember both the West End and the Gold Rail.

    The Columbia campus is not very large and you would run into people you recognized, but had not met, all the time. Which is why I found it very odd that no one, repeat no one, ever came forward and said they remembered BHO from his time at Columbia. It makes me think that he went not to Columbia College, but rather General Studies which was more of a commuter school. But since his diploma is locked down tighter than the nuclear codes in the presidential football, we will probably never know.

    Read More
  85. @Harry Baldwin
    Kubrick's The Shining also swallowed Stephen King's novel whole, but King didn't have the wit or grace to acknowledge it. Rather, he thought Kubrick ruined it and he had it redone as a TV mini-series. And we all know how great that was.

    There was apparently conflict between the two men during production and Kubrick inserted veiled anti-King snubs in the movie as a result.

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PastClassics
Are elite university admissions based on meritocracy and diversity as claimed?
A simple remedy for income stagnation
Confederate Flag Day, State Capitol, Raleigh, N.C. -- March 3, 2007
The major media overlooked Communist spies and Madoff’s fraud. What are they missing today?
The evidence is clear — but often ignored