Archive for Joseph McCarthy

Euphoria #16

Posted in Comics, FILM, Theatre with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2008 by dcairns

New York cartoonist Dean Haspiel nominates this passionate clinch from ON THE WATERFRONT as the latest in our highly scientific study of the scenes that set your pulses pounding:

“Native New Yorker, Dean Haspiel is the author of super-psychedelic romances and semi-autobiographical comics and is a founding member of Brooklyn’s DEEP6 Studios.

His studio-mate Simon Fraser describes Dean’s scene thusly: “Dean’s suggestion is very Dean, it’s the Terry and Edie kiss from ‘On the Waterfront.’ It’s a “Kiss/Rape” but her performance makes it more complicated than that. She’s excited.”

Let’s all pray for Dean’s speedy apprehension.

But NO! For truly, one man’s meat is another’s poisson, judge not lest ye be judged, and remember the wise words of Professor Praetorius: “Science, like love, has her little surprises.”

We don’t judge other people’s euphoria here at Shadowplay, we merely celebrate the human capacity for ecstasy!

Just got my hands on Joseph McBride’s splendid Whatever Happened to Orson Welles, and upon reading the McCarthy-era political stuff, I was interested to read the account given of a 1982 discussion at the Cinematheque Francaise, where Welles was asked to comment on Elia Kazan.

Chere mademoiselle, you have chosen the wrong metteur en scene, because Elia Kazan is a traitor. He is a man who sold to McCarthy all his companions at a time when he could continue to work in New York [on Broadway] at high salary, and having sold all his people to McCarthy, he then made a film called ON THE WATERFRONT which was a celebration of the informer.”

Then: “In other respects, he’s one of our great directors.”

In a strange sense, what makes ON THE WATERFRONT acceptable is the way in which Kazan and Schulberg stack the decks in favour of Terry Malloy: he’s dealing with dangerous criminals who kill people, they’re not his true friends, and he stands only to lose out personally by informing on them. If his brother had been true to him, there would be a real moral quandary in his betrayal, but Steiger’s character has made a living from exploiting his sibling. Conversely, Kazan was betraying people who had been loyal, who had committed no crime, who wished him nothing but good, and Kazan benefitted materially from snitching.

I love the story of the biographer who asked searching questions of Kazan about contradictions in his story, and Kazan fell unconscious at his desk rather than answer them. A moral microchip blew inside.


Footnote: Eva Marie Saint is the whole show in this scene, top-notch work from an underrated actress. Her posture at the end is incredible.

Dean’s fellow cartoonist Simon Fraser informs me of the following:

“Dean was taught to swim by Shelly Winters. Who was his godmother. Dean was also babysat by a very young Bobby DeNiro. A family friend. There’s a lot more of that kind of thing from Deans family.”

Wow. And to think I was previously impressed by Simon having a cartoonist friend who’s descended from Johnny Weissmuller! Any connection to Shelley Winters is like a hotline to God.

Shelley / God