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The State of the Nation

Starting Over Again

Only the Lonely

Nine Things I will Miss about Thailand

Circles

Just Do It

Ayr on a Shoestring

Oh Lonesome Me

Tipping Point

Movie Reviews

Putting Pen to Paper

A Year to Remember

A Year to Forget

10 Reasons I Cannot Go Home

China Girl

The State of Play

Veggies

Mind Your Language

New Horizons

Injustice

Honeymoon

Taxes and Death

Also-rans

Stinkhorns

Grey is the Colour

Beating Myself Up

Nothing More to Say

Better Late than Never

Staying Put

Musical Chairs

Wanderlust

A Dog's Life

A Sabbatical

A Welcome Diversion

A Guide to Business Ethics

Remembering the Austin Allegro

Our Lords and Masters

In Transit - Part 2

In Transit - Part 1

Nagging Doubts

While Bangkok Burns

An Evening to Remember

Thai Business Malpractice

The New and the Old

Christmas Lights

Groundhog Day

Singapura

Possessions

Adventure is Out There

Education

Grabbing it While You Can

A Few Ups and Many Downs

Limbo

Pack Up Your Old Kit Bag

Salmon

Bananas

Religion

Football

Grateful

Yummy

Ate Two Caesar

Swine Pie

The Thai Rollercoaster

Stuck in the Middle

There's no Regrets

Profit and Loss

Running on Empty

Getting it out Your System

National Mistrust

Bring in the Old, Out with the New

Humility

I am Reviewing, My Situation...

Wat Phrabhat Nam Poo

Today I will Mostly be Eating...

Mortality

The Thai Experience

Wat Khaowong

Reality Bites

Wat Simalais

Amazing Thailand

He Must have a Big Wand

Right Place, Wrong Time

Carousel

Tin

And it does go on

Mangos

Bring Him Home

Resurgence

Protege

Listening to my Reader.

 

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Diary Archive 2.

Diary Archive 1.

 

 

Carousel

Last night I watched Carousel (the 1956 movie version) for the umpteenth time. And I openly cried at it for the umpteenth time.

So am I turning gay now I am 54? I am reasonably sure that is not the case. I find Shirley Jones more attractive than Gordon MacRae by way of proof.

The story and especially the music is intensely emotional, but not in any trite way. It may seem very superficial to look too deeply into a Hollywood musical that shows one the main leads polishing stars in some pre-heaven holding bay but we should not forget that Oscar Hammerstein wrote these lyrics:

You've got to be taught
To hate and fear
You've got to be taught
From year to Year
It's got to be drummed
in your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught

You've got to be taught
To be Afraid
Of people whose eyes
are oddly made
And people whose skin
Is a different shade
You've got to be carefully taught

You've got to be taught
Before it's too late
Before you are 6 or 7 or 8
To hate all the people
your relatives hate
You've got to be carefully taught

There is nothing trite or superficial about that.

I think it is the story of doomed love that gets to me and even though it is not explicit in the movie, it is explicit in the lyrics and music and it is the music that has subversively affected me so that by the time he falls on his knife I fall to pieces. A couple who love each other so intensely yet are doomed to never be happy together. Even if the robbery had been a success he had, in a few minutes of madness, already gambled his share way, and Jigger was not a man to let that go. He was never going to San Francisco, he knew it and she knew it. The tragedy is played out before us. And she is party to all of this. Not that he would have listened but she could never tell him that she loved him. Until he was dead that is. That is a real surprise coming from the dewy eyed girl of that first meeting. But she is no simpering play thing as it made clear at the outset when she defies her mill owner boss. And it is made even clearer in the lyrics of 'What's the use of Wonderin':

Something made him the way that he is,
Whether he's false or true,
And something gave him the things that are his,
One of those things is you, so

When he wants your kisses,
You will give them to the lad,
And anywhere he leads you, you will walk.
And anytime he needs you,
You'll go running there like mad.
You're his girl and he's your feller,
And all the rest is talk.

Against this we have the unhappy marriage of Carrie and Mr. Snow. Happy on the surface and she still friends with Julie but both instilling in their children a hatred of those beneath them or unlike them. Their children are being carefully taught. The movie's message appears to be that intense love cannot survive and is pre-ordained to fail whereas false love, conditional love will succeed.

Another reason this movie is so good is the cast. They are all perfect. As I mentioned the key to the plot is in the music and the lyrics, not the dialogue. For music and lyrics we need singers. Rodgers and Hammerstein knew this. For an almost non-singing role they got Cameron Mitchell, an actor; the other leads were also carefully chosen. Cousin Nettie and Enoch Snow were opera singers (and it shows). Jacques d'Amboise, who does the dance sequence with the daughter Louise, is a multi-awarded dancer cited as one of the finest classical dancers of our time. Louise, Susan Luckey, went on to appear in The Music Man and also had great success.

The travesty of this movie is the adoption of one of the songs by a few thousand cretins in Liverpool. It is surely the worst case of an appropriation of a song in history. Now that is something to cry over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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