Books

The Defiant Ones (1958)

In Brief: this is the write-up of The Defiant Ones prepared for the on-off book on Lon Chaney Jr, Moonlight Shadows. Feedback is very welcome!

Defiant Ones Poster

Produced by Stanley Kramer for Lomitas Productions, Inc. Directed by Stanley Kramer. Screenplay by Nedrick Young & Harold Jacob Smith. Music score by Ernest Gold. Cinematography by Sam Leavitt. Edited by Frederic Knudtson. Distributed by United Artists.

Technical: 1.66:1, black and white, Westrex mono. Running time: 96 minutes. Production: late February to early April 1958. Premiere: September 24 1958 (NY).

With Tony Curtis, Sidney Poitier, Theodore Bikel, Charles McGraw, Lon Chaney, King Donovan and Claude Akins.

Two convicts—one white (Tony Curtis), one black (Sidney Poitier)—in a Southern chain gang are being transported in a van when the vehicle crashes. They escape, and what follows is a story of the tensions between the two, being forced to flee cross-country together―mostly through swamplands―until they find a way of breaking the four-foot chain that binds them.

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Brave And New

I said recently in an email that I thought Huxley had it nailed—the most effective form of oppression isn’t force and violence. It’s privilege and comfort. Make the prison cell a luxuriant one and they won’t complain. Mostly.

But I’m not sure it’s 100% there, actually, because so many people these days have the weary, joyless resignation of utter defeat rather than ignorant bliss. I think this expanding technology, heralded by the Internet explosion since the Millennium, for all its addictive, compulsive, habit-forming qualities—this surfeit of neverending distraction—is not, in truth, a very happy addiction.

Things used to be more fun, folks.

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Happy 2014

Well, I’ve left the blog unattended for aeons again. Just wanted to sneak in before this year is over and done with.

Hasn’t been a very good year, apart from the Bowie stuff. Chaotic, frustrating, lacking in any of the progress or affirmation I’m looking for.

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