Archive for May 3rd, 2008

No Firstborn Ever Spoke Thus©

Where, where have you been, son?
Your supper lay untouched for all to see;
The sitting down to sup was fit
For feast unto the dead.
Do you not think we care?

‘Mother, you are easily moved to care
But stronger than hunger you made me.’
No firstborn ever spoke thus.

Where, where have you been, son?
Your brethren stopped short their play
In ill conceal’d annoyance, I think-
And joy was thoroughly spoilt
Are they not good for you?

‘Mother, they still have you to hold
But out of love’s narrow fold you set me.’
No firstborn ever spoke thus.

Where where you have been, son?
Your hands are bloody; so is your crown
What hands could make you suffer so
With nails as sharp as these.
Do you not think we care?

‘Mother you are easily moved to care
But stronger than death you made me.’
No firstborn ever spoke thus.



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While William IV urged Melbourne to accept the Garter he remarked,”A Garter may attract to us somebody of consequence which nothing else can reach. But what is the good of my taking it? I can’t bribe myself.”
In those days most important church appointments carried political implications. Despite all efforts to avoid a storm it would still result in harassment from least unexpected quarters. He was so much harried by such intereference to remark thus:”I have always had much sympathy with Saul. He was bullied by the prophets just as I have been by the bishops, who would if they could, have tied me to the horns of the altar and slain me incontinently.”
Recalling his past experience Lord Melbourne when informed of the passing of a bishop he exclaimed:”Damn it! Another bishop dead.”With a sigh he added,”I believe they die to vex me.”

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Taking a story of three vagrants on “the beach” in Mexico who pool their scratchy resources and go hunting for gold in the desolate hills is as old as ‘dem hills.’ Who can resist such a lure of the dangers of desolate places if pots of gold were guaranteed at the end? Greed has never been good even if in the ‘80s we were told by some quarters to the contrary. In Treasure of the Sierra Madre we see the baseness of human nature, greed,like a steel- spring shut on those who succumb to it. John Huston, who wrote and directed it from a novel by B. Traven, does not obfuscate this essential feature of human self- aggrandizement and also equally valid instinct for self preservation ( in an environment where all the barriers are down) even while he boldly presents a great adventure film. ‘ For the details are fast and electric from the moment the three prospectors start into the Mexican mountains, infested with bandits and beasts, until two of them come down empty-handed and the third one, the mean one, comes down dead. There are vicious disputes among them, a suspenseful interlude when a fourth man tries to horn in and some running fights with the banditi that will make your hair stand on end. And since the outdoor action was filmed in Mexico with all the style of a documentary camera, it has integrity in appearance, too. Most shocking…, however, will likely be the job that Mr. Bogart does as the prospector who succumbs to the gnawing of greed. Physically, morally and mentally, this character goes to pot before our eyes, dissolving from a fairly decent hobo under the corroding chemistry of gold into a hideous wreck of humanity possessed with only one passion—to save his “stuff.” And the final appearance of him, before a couple of roving bandits knock him off in a manner of supreme cynicism, is one to which few actors would lend themselves. Mr. Bogart’s compensation should be the knowledge that his performance in this film is perhaps the best and most substantial that he has ever done.’ Quote from NY Times review by Bosley Crowther,1948
Plot Synopsis
by Hal Erickson

John Huston’s 1948 treasure-hunt classic begins as drifter Fred C. Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart), down and out in Tampico, Mexico, impulsively spends his last bit of dough on a lottery ticket. Later on, Dobbs and fellow indigent Curtin (Tim Holt) seek shelter in a cheap flophouse and meet Howard (Walter Huston), a toothless, garrulous old coot who regales them with stories about prospecting for gold. Forcibly collecting their pay from their shifty boss, Dobbs and Curtin combine this money with Dobbs’s unexpected windfall from a lottery ticket and, together with Howard, buy the tools for a prospecting expedition. Dobbs has pledged that anything they dig up will be split three ways, but Howard, who’s heard that song before, doesn’t quite swallow this. As the gold is mined and measured, Dobbs grows increasingly paranoid and distrustful, and the men gradually turn against each other on the way toward a bitterly ironic conclusion. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a superior morality play and one of the best movie treatments of the corrosiveness of greed. Huston keeps a typically light and entertaining touch despite the strong theme, for which he won Oscars for both Director and Screenplay, as well as a supporting award for his father Walter, making Walter, John, and Anjelica Huston the only three generations of one family all to win Oscars.
DVD Releases
Similar Movies
Black Water Gold (1969, Alan Landsburg)
Greed (1924, Erich Von Stroheim)
Legend of the Lost (1957, Henry Hathaway)
MacKenna’s Gold (1969, J. Lee Thompson)
Trespass (1992, Walter Hill)
Plunder of the Sun (1953, John Farrow)
The Trail of ’98 (1928, Clarence Brown)
The Last Posse (1953, Alfred L. Werker)
The Mountain (1956, Edward Dmytryk)
Le Ruffian (1983, José Giovanni)
Movies with the Same Personnel
The Maltese Falcon (1941, John Huston)
The African Queen (1951, John Huston)
Key Largo (1948, John Huston)
The Red Badge of Courage (1951, John Huston)
Beat the Devil (1953, John Huston)
High Sierra (1941, Raoul Walsh)
The Man Who Would Be King (1975, John Huston)
Across the Pacific (1942, John Huston)
Other Related Movies
is related to: Across the Pacific (1942, John Huston)
The African Queen (1951, John Huston)
Beat the Devil (1953, John Huston)
Key Largo (1948, John Huston)
The Maltese Falcon (1941, John Huston
Ack: http://www.allmovies.com


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