Gang Aft Aglae

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Polanski saw Milestone’s OF MICE AND MEN as a kid and was impressed by it — he hated that it ended so tragically, but as he thought about it, he realized it couldn’t end any other way — and so we have the ending of virtually every film Polanski’s made since.

Confession: I haven’t read the book. I was expecting to be moved though — I knew I was going to be a wreck by the end as soon as it started. Fiona thought she had seen it and wasn’t expecting such a powerful effect. Halfway through she realized she’d only seen bits and didn’t know where it was headed. The ending just wrecked her. I’ll shed a manly tear myself, but she was virtually incoherent for ten minutes after it was over. I had a lump in my throat the size and texture of Akim Tamiroff. This film needs a health warning.

On a related note, Steinbeck and Milestone joined forces again for THE RED PONY, which I consider over at The Notebook in this fortnight’s edition of The Forgotten. Which means that it’s also time for The ’68 Comeback Special over at Apocalypse Now, where Scout Tafoya considers BLACK JESUS, previously explored in The Forgotten, which is kind of neat to think about as we near the end of our odyssey through Cannes ’68.

9 Responses to “Gang Aft Aglae”

  1. Agreed. I saw OMAM again a while back and was a blubbering mess for a long time afterwards. The whole story is just a big ball of pain.

  2. I think the reason it had such a powerful effect on me is that I have a brother with learning difficulties. Chaney Jrs performance is broad but completely believable and absolutely the best performance he ever gave on film. I kept saying that it was so sad his father (who tried everything he knew to keep him out of the business) didn’t live to see it. He would have been proud.

  3. I think the film would be devastating even without the familial connection. But Roddy (and the fact that he was undergoing an operation, albeit minor) may have made it stronger still.

  4. Its already a sad story but Aaron Copland’s score just adds to it so by the end the combination of story and music just rips your heart out and stomps on it. Also, the dog’s death is just too much for me.
    Steinbeck was born about 100 miles from where I live. He wasn’t too popular in his hometown for some time and his books were banned in the area, including here ostensible for the ‘sex’ but really because of his critique of our farming industry.

  5. I still have The North Star to watch (on TCM today) which is another Milestone-Copland film. Since Copland’s work on The Heiress, though beautiful, was a touch compromised, it seems like in Milestone he found his one true movie industry collaborator.

  6. NORTH STAR is wonderfully bizarre.

  7. I’m looking forward to it! Edge of Darkness was really good.

  8. I was just realizing that I have EDGE OF DARKNESS in that set of Errol Flynn movies that I got because the other four were directed by Raoul Walsh. I’ll definitely have to give it a go.

  9. “His sins hurt nobody but himself,” was Milestone’s verdict on Flynn. Debatable, but there it is. The movie holds back on his heroics and is really an ensemble piece, but very compelling.

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