Sunday, January 15, 2012

Whose Dirt's in the Ditch?

Like Robin Hood, as a Christ figure, Cool Hand Luke is even closer to Nietzsche's idea of a superman than Jesus Christ. He might not be as close as Robin Hood, but Lucas Jackson engages his followers and the viewer with his commitment to peace at the same time he refuses to acknowledge the superiority of established authority. As a criminal whose example seems to bring a sort of enlightenment and peace to those around him he's very clearly consciously written as a Christ figure despite the character's struggle with faith. It's a cool, well shot movie.

I almost say I like it in spite of the Christ thing. I don't necessarily dislike stories of Christ figures--showing the audience how naturally they identify with someone whose nature does not sympathise with the established modes of society is, I think, immensely valuable. The only quibble I might have here is that the otherwise great group of characters making up Luke's fellow prisoners take to worshipping him a little too quickly for my taste. Then again, a lot can be said for a handsome guy with an irrepressible aura of peace.

George Kennedy as the de facto leader of the inmates when Luke arrives was the first to make me think of Robin Hood, as he, the bigger man, beats Luke in a boxing match before becoming his subordinate, not unlike Little John. All together, the group feels more like merry men than disciples, too. And several are effortlessly memorable, with young Harry Dean Stanton and Dennis Hopper among them. It's in these little vignettes that the movie shines.

The whole reason I watched the movie was Artie Lange on Nick and Artie last week was talking about a scene where the men, digging a ditch, are treated to a show by a beautiful young woman washing her car. It's not hard to see how it won Lange's admiration. The girl is gorgeous, the scene is sexy, and despite its relative brevity, it looms large in the film.

It's a beautiful film generally, though. It seemed cinematographer Conrad Hall never ceased finding interesting shots of guys digging ditches. If that's not the mark of a good photographer, I don't know what is.

Twitter Sonnet #344

Faded honey sparkles on a Lego.
Grinning witches throw grapes at a Swamp Thing.
Loveless shorties find fake flesh to forego.
Few alive recall when our breakfasts sang.
Angry barrels fling sacred twigs outside.
Mario missed shots in a steel garden.
Within antique sleepwear hearts now abide.
But inverted bark will never harden.
Soup base blood shocks and warms a vampire.
Mollusc Monument hides Excalibur.
Chrome lingerie pranks a virgin flyer.
Notung shattered the shy Soul Calibur.
Some things are secrets just 'cause no-one asked.
Discerning gulls prefer the mizzen-mast.

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