Quote of the Day: Crouching monster, Hidden city

london belongs to me 

‘London, the crouching monster, like every other monster has to breathe, and breathe it does in its own malignant way. Its vital oxygen is composed of suburban working men and women of all kinds, who every morning are sucked up through an infinitely complicated respiratory apparatus of trains and termini into the mighty congested lungs, held there for a number of hours, and then, in the evening, exhaled violently through the same channels.

The men and women imagine they are going into London and coming out again more or less of their own free will, but the crouching monster sees all and knows better.’

night train

Words from Patrick Hamilton’s The Slaves of Solitude, images from Gustave Dore’s London and David Lean and Noel Coward’s BRIEF ENCOUNTER.


Just read that David Sherwin has been writing a script of Hamilton’s book. Genius Sherwin, who wrote Lindsay Anderson’s Mick Travis Trilogy, must have stacks of unproduced scripts (THE MONSTER BUTLER and THE GARDEN GNOMES BEGAN TO BLEED are but two), but I would really like to see this one come off…

5 Responses to “Quote of the Day: Crouching monster, Hidden city”

  1. Hamilton is a fascinating writer. His plays Rope and Gaslight have inspired masterful films (in the case of the former, two masterful films)

    And image from Sweeney Todd belongs with this entry.

  2. Actually the latter as well. The Thorold Dickson rendition starring My Favorite Actor of All-Time is really really great.

  3. It’s a real shame Hangover Square is such a travesty — an entertaining travesty, but still… it has the perfect cast for a faithful adaptation of the book, which makes it all the sadder. And John Brahm was a very stylish director… who doesn’t seem to have read the book. Hamilton wrote to the press denouncing the film and Brahms defended the changes — betraying complete ignorance of the original novel in the process.

    But Ridley Scott never read Philip K Dick either. Brahm could have filmed the book if the script had followed it. The movie helped kill Laird Cregar.

    Still to watch the Dickinson Gaslight — maybe tonight!

  4. Bernard Herrmann’s score made an overwhelming impression on a young teenage composer-to-be, Stephen Sondheim.

    Sondheim went to see Hangover Square over and over trying to copy down the notes of the score which are visible in one shot of the film. He has said that Sweeney Todd is entirely indebted to Hangover Square

  5. Wow. It’s an amazing score. I’d like to film Hamilton’s book more faithfully and use the same score. But that cast would be impossible to beat.

    Didn’t watch Gaslight this time, but ran the rather astonishing Uncle Silas instead, on which more later.

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