Archive for Hank Worden

Peak Condition

Posted in FILM, Television with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2017 by dcairns

YES, now that you mention it, we ARE still enjoying the new series of Twin Peaks, thank you very much!

One intriguing thing about David Lynch & Mark Frost’s version of the world here is that apparently no one ever retires. Lynch himself, in his early seventies, is on active duty for the FBI. Ernie Hudson is a colonel in the Pentagon, aged 72. Robert Forster, new sheriff in town, is in his late seventies, and he’s assisted by Michael Horse, who’s in his late sixties. And the great Don Murray, in his late eighties, is running an insurance company. “The sheriff is, like, 90,” sneers bad boy Richard Horne, inaccurately.

Richard Beymer, 79, runs a hotel, while his screen brother, David Patrick Kelly, is in the marijuana business at 66. I don’t believe retirement has ever been formalised in that particular trade, though it has often been assumed to be a young man’s game.

And maybe it should be?

At 83, Russ Tamblyn’s Dr. Jacoby doesn’t seem to be practicing psychiatry anymore, but he’s, uh, sort of in business for himself.

Harry Dean Stanton is running a trailer park at, like, 90.

My supposition is that when we finally meet Everett McGill as Big Ed, he’ll still be working in a gas station at 72, and Warren Frost, as Doc Hayward the town GP, he’ll still be practicing medicine*.

Back in season 2, there were some impressive geriatrics also — Mr. Mibbler, the world’s oldest bank teller (Ed Wright, who was 85) — and the world’s oldest waiter, Hank Worden, who was 90. But the way these characters (associated with Lynch-directed episodes) were treated was a little different. Both were subject to jokes about their doddering, their dithering, their slow pace. One could find it a little cruel, and class it in the same camp as Lynch’s casting of little people and disabled people. But one could also ask, who else is casting the very elderly and the oddly-shaped? Lynch is a surreal filmmaker, but he also deals with realities otherwise somewhat neglected. Doesn’t mean he gets a free pass or anything.

When asked if the slow-scrolling highway lines in THE STRAIGHT STORY were a joke on his usual low-angle road shots, Lynch replied, straight-faced, “No. That’s what it looks like when you move at that speed.” And so Mibbler and the waiter gradual and uncertain movements were recorded with the same accuracy. It could be that it’s THE STRAIGHT STORY that shifted the attitude to the elderly, but it’s more likely to be Lynch’s own advancing years.

Anyhow, there are no jokes about Gordon Cole “getting too old for this” or Sheriff Truman taking a long time to cross a room. The only time you’d guess Don Murray’s age is when we first see him stand up, and it takes a bit more effort than it did back in BUS STOP or A HATFUL OF RAIN. Lynch’s vision of aging is now a happily, or angrily, defiant one. Do not go gentle. Lynch & Frost’s weary, rumpled, kindly authority figures will keep on trying to protect us from immortal evil forces.

*Yes, I’ve now watched episode 7. The doc seems to be spending a lot of time fishing, but he also refers to having diagnosed a patient via Skype just the other day. So in the world of Twin Peaks you can be a doctor at 91, though perhaps on a somewhat informal basis.

 

Monterey Gun

Posted in FILM, Television with tags , , , , , , , on August 17, 2016 by dcairns

Poster - One-Eyed Jacks_07

I don’t think it’s premature of me to reveal that my Big Brando Project is a video essay for Criterion’s forthcoming Blu-ray of the restored ONE-EYED JACKS. Here’s the announcement on their website. It doesn’t mention me by name, but it does say there will be video essays. Well, I’m doing one of them. Should be finished today, more or less! A fun job.

I’d tell you more but I’m saving it for the video essay. OK, here’s one fun fact that isn’t included: David Lynch’s Twin Peaks features a brothel called One-Eyed Jack’s. It also features the nonagenarian Hank Worden, who was in Brando’s film (briefly), and a character named Emory who works at the whorehouse, seemingly named after Ben Johnson’s sleazy desperado, also in the Brando. Seems either Mark Frost or David Lynch is a fan.

Things I read off the screen in “The Silence”

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , on November 8, 2011 by dcairns

ARAKAVSANI! With a fuzzy drawing of Prince Charles on the front page.

While screening Ingmar Bergman’s THE SILENCE for students, I got obsessed with the signage, as I often do. In this film, set in an unidentified Ruritanian country arming for war, all the signs are in an imaginary gobbledygook tongue, which I’m afraid just makes them more alluring to me.

L.X. YXIKOWA

AKIET BARS

CHIN VARIETIES — that’s a place *I* want to hang out! Later, we go in with Harriet Andersson, and it’s not a museum displaying chins through the ages — a Tommy Trinder here, a Charles McGraw there — but a music hall type joint with tumbling dwarfs. Which is almost as good.

LUXEMUDO

And best of all, the poster advertising a movie Elaine May hasn’t made yet. I guess they were thinking of the Babylonian goddess, but I don’t know why.

“Relax… with a Skajnok.” I’m reminded that Bergman had experience in TV advertising. This is such a good product shot, it really shows — you can take the director out of the commercials, but you can’t take the commercials out of the director.

Not technically writing, unless we’re reverting to hieroglyphs, but a pretty good drawing of Fungus the Bogeyman by young Jörgen Lindström.

Of course it’s also interesting to note how heavily the film has influenced David Lynch, not just in its masturbation and dwarfs, but in the superannuated hotel waiter (who might as well have been played by Michael Gough, really, but is actually Håkan Jahnberg), a dead ringer for Hank Worden, playing a similar role in Twin Peaks. Even the names are similar!