When I first saw the truly despicable interview with Helen Thomas -pictured below, and her now vacant chair in the front row of the White House Press Room- the very first thing that I thought of was one of the great scenes in François Truffaut's masterful 1966 adaption of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, which airs on Turner Classic Movie on Sunday June 13th at 3:45 a.m.
Julie Christie = heavenly! :-)
See the Original Trailer at: http://www.tcm.com/video/videoPlayer/?cid=72250&titleId=74448Film info at: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0060390/
I first saw that film roughly about eight years after it came out, when I was at J.F.K. Junior High in North Miami Beach, and it made quite an indelible mark on me and my smart and impressionable friends, none of whom had read the novel yet, despite being avid readers.
Oh, those miserable pre-videotape, pre-DVD primitive cinema days when you could only see films in theaters or on TV, with local TV stations being nothing like ones in other cities that showed classic films late at night. :-
(And yours truly stuck at the end of the No Man's Land film universe of South Florida.
Well, at least I was close to the two WOMETCO theaters at the 163rd Street Shopping Center, one of my handful of home-away-from-home homes.
Well, at least it was less than six blocks away.)
When I was still living in the D.C. area, I'd heard the story that Mel Gibson was positively eager to do a re-make of 451 in order to get that anti-censorship, anti-conformity message out again for a new generation of movie-goers.
Usually, I'm dead-set against remakes, but knowing what his motivation was, I was cool with it, and hoped for the best.
In the scene that ran in my head about the tenth time I saw the Helen Thomas self-immolation -get it, fire?- our hero, Guy Montag, played by Oskar Werner, the former fireman who is now a converted book-lover, and hiding from the authorities hot on his trail, encounters the various people who inhabit the forest who have memorized entire books so that their words and stories will be forever protected from the Fire Dept. that burns books.
Yes, the "Book People," the so-called "wandering intellectuals" who burn their own books after memorizing them.
After being told by Granger, the head of this literary enterprise, who the various people walking around talking to themselves are, that is to say, what books they "are," a blond teenage girl (Yvonne Blake, also the film's Assistant Costume Designer) ambles over to meet Montag and says forthrightly, "I'm Jean-Paul Sartre's The Jewish Question. Delighted to meet you."
Granger: Oh, you see the little blonde coming towards us? Watch her blush.
"I'm Jean-Paul Sartre's The Jewish Question. Delighted to meet you." Screenshots above by South Beach Hoosier, i.e. me, of Yvonne Blake and Oskar Werner are from my videotape of this great film, just one of many from Truffaut that I have enjoyed thru the years, esp. at the National Gallery of Art's film series.
And yes, in case you were wondering, I actually used to read Cahiers du Cinéma as well as BFI's Sight & Sound, while in school at IU, down in the amazing basement that held the IU Library's Periodicals Room.
That was one of my favorite haunts, especially when I had time to kill before meeting friends elsewhere in the building noted then and now for its high sociability factor, where I also first read The National Journal and the Washington Post, and where I first saw huge ads on the front page of a newspaper, Helsingfors Sanomat, the Helsinki newspaper, just like the commercials ads we take for granted now on European soccer team uniforms/kits.
I later read them regularly while I was in Washington, either over at the Library of Congress for free, or, from a copy I bought at the Trover Books on Connecticut Avenue in Dupont Circle.
In the latter case, in those pre-Internet days, often on weekends before walking over to Georgetown to meet friends and see a foreign film, and later sip some great coffee over at Au Pied du Cochon on Wisconsin Avenue, along with some delicious deserts.
TRÈS, TRÈS FUN!
Boy do I ever miss doing that!
Especially on miserably hot summer nights like this week!