Quote of the Day: The Human Torch

Torchy Blaine 

Two public school boys and a torch (or flashlight, if you will): 

“And now something of the real and peculiar horror of the situation was communicated to Bell. The horror was of a peculiar nature because of the character and reputation of Ryan’s torch. Ryan’s torch, in fact, dwelt in a heavenly realm above and beyond all other torches — was famous, one might say fabulous, in the school at just this time. To be permitted to look at it was a privilege, to hold it was an honour; to use it, even with its owner’s sanction, was almost a blasphemy, frightening. This was to a certain extent because it was so wonderfully thin and small and covered with imitation crocodile leather; but principally because it had, at the top, a sliding apparatus which enabled its user to change the white light to red, and then to white again, and then again to green! What specific purpose, if any, this was intended to serve, nobody had as yet asked: everyone simply and instinctively knew that no one could ask for more. During the whole week it had been the making of Ryan: Ryan’s being was the torch and the torch was Ryan’s being. Ryan was a torch. If, then, the torch was lost, was not Ryan utterly lost, suddenly a nothing?”

~ From The West Pier, a novel by Patrick Hamilton.

3D lighting

Images from SECRET BEYOND THE DOOR and HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD.

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4 Responses to “Quote of the Day: The Human Torch”

  1. Interesting. West Pier was also the name of a play by Bernard-Marie Koltes — a favorite wrrter of Patrice Chereau’s.

    Is there a biography of Patrick Hamilton you might reccomend?

  2. I know of a couple of Hamilton bios but I’m not sure either is in print. The one I read was by Sean French, who occasionally writes on film. I believe he is the son of critic Philip French and one half of crime-writer “Nicci French” whose Killing Me Softly became a disastrous western outing for Chen Kaige).

    Just checked — Nigel Jones’ book appears to be in print. There’s fascinating stuff about Hamilton stalking Geraldine Fitzgerald, who appears to have been the inspiration for the wicked Netta in Hangover Square — thoguh her wickedness is likely to have been Hamilton’s invention.

  3. Fascinating.

    I love her late performances in such diverse fare as Arthur and Marco Ferreri’s marvelously demented Bye Bye Monkey.

    She had a cabaret act where she sang old Irish songs.

  4. Her finest hour, for me, is Siodmak’s delirious The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, where her performance suggests she’d make a great, diabolical Netta.
    Would love to have seen that cabaret act!

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