Celluloid and Immortality

De box looks at vun fellow, and de box says
“Yes, dot vun is for me!”
It looks at annoder, and it says, “Nawww!”
– Akim Tamiroff, as related by Orson Welles


Dean the Drop-out of Drop-outs

Dying young means
being young for all eternity.

He had the good luck of dying at the age of twenty-four. He personified the drop-out,
who was too sensitive and uncompromising to cope with life, but he didn’t have
much time to drop out. Life did him the favor of removing him from the scene.
That is the most commendable way of being defeated. It is true that he did his part
in exiting by recklessly speeding in his sports car.

James Dean

Dean didn’t have the bad luck of surviving his accident with scars like Monty Clift,
who went on to decline and died at the age of forty-five. Fate was even more unkind
to Dean’s precursor Brando. His magnificent physique hit the skids along with his fiery rebellious mien.

Yes, Dean was lucky. He died at the peak of his career with no bald spot or streaks of grey in his hair – and no paunch.

The option for an artist seems to be between longevity and becoming immortal.

Dean’s age for eternity, will always be twenty-four. Dying young is the best way
of being done in by life.




New chapeau invariably
becomes old hat,
and old hat
keeps making a come-back
as new chapeau.

A prince or a princess
should die young
and let things be.
Beauty fades
and is seldom hereditary.

Dean became immortal
at the age of twenty-four.
Brando due to the girt attained
as he aged – not quite!

Grace Kelly had a dream
career. As she sailed
to marry her prince
at the age of 26,
she already looked
like a dowager.

Grace proved that being
a Tinsel Town Princess
beats being a real one.



The Cranes Are Flying

The romance of Veronica and Boris is interrupted by the war.
He is inducted.

Veronica runs to the station, but his train leaves before
they can say goodbye to each other.

Boris carries a wounded comrade on his back through a marsh.
A shot rings out. Boris stiffens and lets go of the man he is carrying.

The Cranes are flying

We see Boris bounding up the stairs in tattered uniform.
He comes to a door and opens it. A wedding is taking place.
He finds himself joyously marrying Veronica.
He is elegantly dressed. Veronica is at his side.
She smiles radiantly.
Boris is both groom and spectator.

We see the wounded comrade looking up at Boris.
Now he is in mortal danger, since Boris cannot continue
to carry him to safety.

Boris has been allowed to see Veronica once more,
if only in his imagination.

Boris buckles and falls to the ground.

Boris and Veronica will never see each other
on this earth again.

The cranes are flying.


Flowers on Her Grave

In Broken Flowers directed by Jim Jarmusch,
Bill Murray sets out to search for a son
that one of his old flames may have had.
He makes a call on each one.

There is a scene where he places flowers
on a grave and says, “Hello beautiful.”

When someone you have loved has died,
it breaks your heart all over again,
it breaks your heart all over again.