Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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Alien 3 is a dog alien

Actually, this didn't have anything to do with anything, but I was trying to figure out what to put in the "subject" field, and when I typed an "A" this came up in IE from an Alien message board that I visited several months ago.

Besides, it has been several weeks since the last time I posted an image of an alien. Scary, ain't he?

The Arrival Of My Ship

Tomorrow the first several thousand dollars owed me by Verizon is going to be deposited into my account, with the more in a couple of weeks. It is more money than I made all last year at the job I quit last week.

I am temporarily retiring from professional life, instead devoting all of my energies towards school. I am looking forward to this partly because of how engaging my classes are, but also because I love the idea of returning to a Bohemian lifestyle. Of course, I will have to pinch pennies, but I will have paid off my rent and cell phone bills for the year.

I look forward to the coming months with relish.

I Am Spartacus!

Do you like movies about gladiators?

I recently watched my Criterion DVD of Spartacus again, which is an example of a type of large-scale filmmaking that is coming back into vogue. In the fifties and sixties, in order to combat television, movie studios created lavish spectacles it took all day to watch in widescreen, color and stereophonic sound.

Many of these (Ben-Hur, The Robe) were religious epics, and so it was with some cheek that the Jewish Kirk Douglas, mounting his own production, decided that it would be as areligious as the leftist source novel.

In fact, he went one step further and hired Dalton Trumbo, one of the Hollywood Ten, the "unfriendly" witnesses blacklisted by the House of Un-American Activities. Douglas' insistence that Trumbo recieve screen credit is generally credited with having effectively destroyed the blacklist.

When acclaimed epic director Anthony Mann wasn't working out (the opening sequence in the Libyan mines was shot by him; if one looks carefully, one can see the stylistic differences from the rest of the film), Douglas then brought in young Stanley Kubrick, whom he had worked with on the classic anti-war picture Paths of Glory. Kubrick was essentially a "hired hand" on this production, and had not considered it a part of his oevre, but there is no denying that his precision is part of what made the film so compelling.

Spartacus (Kirk Douglas) is forced to fight his friend Draba (Woody Strode) to the death

Loosely based on an actual slave rebellion that took place in Rome just before that whole Christianity fad began, Spartacus is a perfect example of intimate stories told on a sweeping canvas. It is also one of the most intelligent of the epic films. For example, the film manages to savor the irony that the ambitious Crassus (Laurence Olivier) ends up being the Emperor of Rome, the most powerful man in the known world, and yet he still feels powerless when dealing with his slave, Spartacus' wife, Virinia (Jean Simmons).

Alex North's outstanding score is written in a style long since extinct, but one that had a power and presence all its own. From the harsh depictions of slavery to the glittering evocations of freedom to the ultimately wrenching material for the characters themselves, North manages to create a tapestry that deserves better than the meager 42 minute album, which, while good, does not contain enough music to adequately represent the score. The theme for slavery and that for freedom are the same melody, but their orchestration is so different that they sound like separate motives.

Another favorite epic of the era is Lawrence of Arabia, a film that I will go to see whenever it comes back out again (sometimes the Paris or the Ziegfield play the restored 70 millimeter prints of it), but I feel that it loses much of its power when seen on video. There is a case where the size and detail of the image is essential to the aesthetic of the film. Spartacus is no doubt diminished, but it still is moving, as it concentrates on universal emotions. Anyone who doesn't feel something well up within them during the "I'm Spartacus" scene or the finale needs serious therapy.

The Return Of My Face

That may sound strange, but it will make sense in a minute.

You see, I have had a beard for about ten years. I had to shave it for that job that I just quit. Since I have quit the job, I no longer need to shave it.

The face in the mirror is mine once again.

Road Trip!!!

I am up to see Suit this weekend! Huzzah!

* * *

I just typed my surname into Google to see what would happen. It was pretty interesting. I wonder if I'm in any way related to Oscar Gizelt of Delmonico's (that would be cool, as I love Delmonico's)? I also know which amp my father uses when he gigs.
Tags: alex north, cinema, film music

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