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The Wizard of Oz (1939)


(7:26). Toto’s Michelangelesque touch with Dorothy—magnitudinous paw to hand—outdoes the bone cut of 2001 : A Space Odyssey?






(19:30). Dorothy opens the door.

(51:24). Barry opens the door. Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

(18:42). Freddy opens the door. The Master.

(40:05). The doorway open to life. Dunkirk.




sneaky at back


(21:00). The munchkins.

(18:06). The cops. Inherent Vice.


*      *      *


The LENS FLARES SECTION in The Wizard of Oz.


(21:04) “We must be over the rainbow” to (39:15) apples.




bokeh “whirling” over a heated Dorothy’s head


(29.38). “No, it was an accident. I didn’t mean to kill anybody.”


(30:18). Intensified—now three of them.






(34:15). bokeh intensifies barking Toto’s CU.

(36:08). Dorothy reveals a shining prominent behind her head. (“I didn’t scare you?”)

(36:13). The whirling bokeh intensifies Dorothy’s mystification!

(37:39–38:35). Hypnotic glistering enlivens a lengthy dialogue shot.  




The glistering bokeh returns with the Good Witch at (1:36:30–1:37:24).






The whirling bokeh motif returns at (1:37:26–1:38:40). (“Say goodbye, Toto.”)


Now the whirling has transformed into glistering whirling.


The changing Dorothy/bokeh alignments—six of them—are engineered throughout one continuous shot.


*      *      *


Elizabethan stagecraft


(30:53). The Wicked Witch sinking into the Earth.


Recall, say,


Thunder. Second Apparition, a Bloody Child. (Macbeth, 87 s.d.)




Hammer Sinister


Certificate of Death. (26:30)

Munchkin. You’ve killed her so completely. (24:46)  

Wicked Witch. Who killed my sister? (29:31)

Dorothy. I didn’t mean to kill anybody. (29:39)

Tin Man. We’ll have to kill her to get it. (1:12:19)

Lion. But what if she kills us first? (1:12:30)

Soldier. She’s dead. You’ve killed her. (1:27:07)

Dorothy. I didn’t mean to kill her. Really I didn’t. (1:27:10)


EWS. “Don’t you want to go where the rainbow ends?”




Munchkin. For now on you’ll be history. (28:40)

Dorothy. And I’m not going to leave here ever and ever again. (1:41:05)




E pluribus unum


Five principals on the Yellow Brick Road. One Spectator.




eyelight symphony


The Dorothy CU continuum throughout Wizard.                                              



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The Oppenheimer (2023) phenomenon


Directly following each Invocation, the character Oppenheimer’s life changes fundamentally.


Blackett. Christ, Oppenheimer. (4:04; p4)

Oppenheimer. Jesus Christ. (20:33; p23)


(4:04 / 20:33) is a multiresonant structural principle of storyteller Nolan’s intricately-engineered narrative.




A Grand Thematic Situation (the SPIRITUAL) is also, here, a Character Fate Signal (the HUMAN).


In the first instance, young Oppenheimer is about to meet Niels Bohr, who hastens the student onward into a prosperous future.


In the second instance, Oppenheimer and Jean Tatlock are about to meet, on Shasta Road.

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Just as, say, Hitchcock’s North by Northwest is cited in Oppenheimer (6:15), so, too, Coup de Chance engineers-in dialogic indicators to aid comprehension of the narrative structure.




(9:15) Appointment in Samarra by John O’Hara


               Our story never ends.

You pull the pin out of a hand grenade, and in a few seconds it explodes and men in a small area get killed and wounded. That makes bodies to be buried, hurt men to be treated. It makes widows and fatherless children and bereaved parents. It means pension machinery, and it makes for pacifism in some and for lasting hatred in others. Again, a man out of the danger area sees the carnage the grenade creates, and he shoots himself in the foot. Another man had been standing there just two minutes before the thing went off, and thereafter he believes in God or in a rabbit’s foot. Another man sees human brains for the first time and locks up the picture until one night years later, when he finally comes out with a description of what he saw, and the horror of his description turns his wife away from him. . . .


(14:27) Anouilh’s L’Alouette


After centuries of abuse, repudiation, prejudice, misunderstanding, and indifference, Joan has been vindicated.


(7:34) Gatsby




“Some people find each other, for life.”

“Well, it’s called luck.”


Coup de Chance, 1:03:40


Johan. It’s the luck of the draw. (21:19)


Scenes from a Marriage (1973), 3




Marianne. My personal belief is that fidelity needs to be a given. It can’t be an obligation or a rule. (13:03)


Scenes from a Marriage, 1


Fanny. I learned from my first marriage: it’s not about work or obligation. It’s not a chore, but something you look forward to.


Coup de Chance, 10:09




Joker. The only sensible way to live is without rules.


Noah Dietrich, in his 1972 memoir, Howard: The Amazing Mr. Hughes—


Howard Hughes wasn’t interested in rules; he only wanted results.







Edited by Jeff Bernstein
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Posted (edited)

The Oppenheimer (2023) phenomenon


Finally, at (2:22:55), a wide shot of Room 2022! (A reprise of “The so-called derogatory information in your indictment of me—”)




Finally, at (2:08:28), the first wide of the Hotel Foyer—(after something like ten other angles)—in The Shining (2:08:28).


The cinematographic direction is congruent in both : top-right looking down-left.


(And character Oppenheimer in the first occupies Hallorann’s general position in the second.)




CU of hand (Borden) flipping through typewritten FBI file—a subtle cut during the flipping of the pages. (39:09)




CU of hand (Willard) flipping through Kurtz’s typewritten manuscript—a subtle cut during the flipping of the pages. (Apocalypse Now [orig], 2:22:04)






Edited by Jeff Bernstein
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Francisco. It is reported you possess a book,

     Wherein you have quoted, by intelligence,

     The names of all notorious offenders

     Lurking about the city.


[Cardinal] Monticelso.  Sir, I do;

     And some there are which call it my black book.

     Well may the title hold; for though it teach not

     The art of conjuring, yet in it lurk

     The names of many devils.


Francisco. Pray let ’s see it.


Monticelso. I’ll fetch it to your lordship.


The White Devil, 4.1.29–38




Q : Is that the first appearance of the term “black book” in Western narrative fiction?




Joe. That’s Ed’s famous black book.

Ed. The history of the world, in phone numbers.


Mulholland Dr., 38:29




Stuntman Mike. Well, I actually have a book. And everybody I ever meet goes in this book. . . .

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The White Devil


In the play’s final scene, the brother aims a pistol at his sister—casually, threateningly.


[ Flamineo enters with two pistols. ]


Flamineo. Look, these are better far at a dead lift [ emergency ],

     Than all your jewel house.

Vittoria.                                      And yet, methinks,

     These stones have no fair lustre, they are ill set.

Flamineo. I’ll turn the right side towards you. You shall see

     How they will sparkle.


(e.g. The Departed—Jack : You got something you wanna ask me?, 1:33:00)


Vittoria.                                 Turn this horror from me!


Flamineo lowers the pistol—but the Situation worsens.


Nihilist urban psycho Lodovico appears onstage, enemy of both brother and sister and prepared to dispatch of them both expeditiously.


A doomed Flamineo asks of Lodovico :


You shall not take justice forth from my hands!

No! Let me kill her!


—A man’s dying wish in the world of The White Devil.




A few lines later, Lodovico has Flamineo bound to a pillar. Armed with a sword, Lodovico toys inquisitively—sadistically?—with his helpless victim.


Lodovico. Oh, I could kill you forty times a day,

    And use ’t four years together, ’twere too little!

    Naught grieves but that you are too few to feed

    The famine of our vengeance. 

                                                         What dost think on?

Flamineo.  Nothing; of nothing. Leave thy idle questions.


What dost think on?—recalling, say, a curious Anton and the gurgling man? (1:30:33)




                    Chris. The man who said, “I’d rather be lucky than good,” saw deeply into life.


(Match Point, 1:16)


Flamineo. ’Tis better to be fortunate than wise.




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Origins of the English Revenge Narrative


Ronald Broude, “Vindicta Filia Temporis: Three English Forerunners of the Elizabethan Revenge Play”, The Journal of English and Germanic Philology 72, 4 (Oct., 1973), 489–502.


Broude. The earliest extant play devoted primarily to an exposition of the regeneration-through-retribution theme is John Bale’s Comedy concernynge thre lawes, of nature, Moses, & Christ (ca. 1535).


At play’s end, Vindicta Dei (divine vengeance) comes to reckon with Infidelitas (“want of faith; unbelief in religious matters” OED).


               Vindicta Dei. Thy vengeable wretche, replete with poyson and vyce,

     Why doest thy thus reioyce in crueltie and malyce?

     Thynkest thy that God slepeth, & wyll not hys defende,

     And that thy myschefe shall never have an ende?

     The bloude of innocentes, to hym for vengeance call,

     And therfor thys houre. Must I fearcely vpon thee fall!


Infidelitas. Tush, I defye thy worst!


Vindicta Dei. The innocent bloude of sayntes contynuallye

     Doth call vnto God to revenge their iniurye!


     Wherfor thy shalt have, lyke as thy hast deserved

     For thy wycked doynges, thy punyshment now doubled!


     A consumynge fyre shall ronne before the iudge,

     Hys enemyes consumynge, they shal fynde no refuge.


Infidelitas. Credo, credo, credo, I saye, Credo, credo, credo,

     To the deuyll of helle, by the Messe [ Messiah ] I wene [ think, suppose ] I go.






Broude. Applied on the cosmic level in Comedy concernynge thre lawes, the regeneration-through-retribution motif is pressed into the service of political theory by the anonymous author of Respublica (1553).


                All commen weales Ruin and decaye

from tyme to tyme hath been, ys, and shalbe alwaie,

whan Insolence, Flaterie, Opression,

and Avarice have the Rewle in their possession.

But thoughe these vices by cloaked collusyon

And by counterfaicte Names, hidden theire abusion . . .

yet tyme trieth all and tyme bringeth truth to lyght,

that wronge maye not ever still reigne in place of right.


(Prologue, 19–28). Rewle in their possession—anticipating the Shakespearean-era Revenge genre as social commentary; but unlike the revenge plays Respublica ends peaceably. Respublica’s last scene (5.10) has a strong vibe of courtroom drama. Indeed, institutionalized justice is celebrated at the end, as in the Oresteia of Aeschylus.


                              Nemesis. Now Justice for these twoo that doe here remain.

                                   Because the faulte of Insolence is hainous & greate,

                                   Lucifer’s owne fault t’aspire to the highest seate,

                                   And because Opression hath wrong men so sore,

                                   That he spoiled innocentes of all thei had and more,

                                   People shall Deliver them unto safe custodie,

                                   where thei maie no farther anoye anie bodie;

                                   when the tyme Maie serve t’examine & trie their cause,

                                   Call them bothe before youe, & Judge them by the Laws.






cf. the courtroom scene (3.2) notated “The Arraignment of Vittoria” in The White Devil. 




Broude. A most interesting stage in the transition from morality play to revenge play is represented by John Pikeryng’s Horestes (1567). The earliest extant English play to center on revenge for murder, Horestes follows loosely the familiar Classical myth of Agamemnon’s murder and revenge.


A second commentator in 1973 goes further than Broude : “The first revenge play of the English renaissance is John Pickering’s Horestes.”


Robert S. Knapp, “Horestes: The Uses of Revenge”, ELH 40, 2 (Summer, 1973), 205–220.


But Knapp must accept that “Horestes ends his career alive, crowned by the figures of Truth and Duty.”


A revenge play with a happy ending? Such is a one-time anomalous situation for a Shakespearean-era Revenge play—suggesting that Horestes is not “the first revenge play” so much as, as Broude theorises, a “hybrid morality” (“transition”) structure.


Still and all the concept of revenge remains resonant at the end of Horestes :


Truth. He that leadeth his lyfe as his phansey doth lyke,

     Though for a whyle the same he maye hyde,

     Yet Truth, the daughter of Tyme, wyll it seke,

     And so in tyme it will be discryde,

     Yet in such tyme as it can not be denyed,

     But receave dew punnishment as God shall se

     For the fault commytted most convenient to be.


(Epilogue, 1178–84)




               Ronald Broude. Such then, was the tradition to which Thomas Kyd stood heir in the 1580s.




The anthropomorphic characters of these early pious plays are distilled in the GHOST character that populates most every Shakespearean-era revenge tragedy . . . ?




               [ Enter the GHOST OF ANDREA, and with him REVENGE. ]


  Ghost. When this eternal substance of my soul

       Did live imprisoned in my wanton flesh,

       Each in their function serving other’s need,

       I was a courtier in the Spanish court.

       My name was Don Andrea . . .


(Spanish Tragedy, 1.1.1–5)

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In my beginning is my end.


Each of the following examples concludes a prologue before an Act 1—and gives away major plot points to come.




Aphrodite. δ εκλες μν λλ μως πόλλυται



Aphrodite. Though noble, still and all Phaedra shall die.


Continuing—on Hippolytus :


Aphrodite. ο γρ οδ νεγμένας πύλας

     ιδου, φάος δ λοίσθιον βλέπων τόδε.


Aphrodite. He does not know the gates of Hell are open,

     and that this is the last light he shall see.


Euripides, Hippolytus (47–8 / 56–7)




Of infidelity, God will himself revenge,

With plagues of water, of wildfire and of sword.

And of his people, due homage he will challenge,

Ever to be known for their God and good lord.

After that he hath, those laws again restored,

To their first beauty committing them to faith.

He is now in place, mark therefore what he saith.


“Bale [the author] the speaker”, prologue of John Bale’s A Comedye concernynge thre lawes (ca. 1535), 29–35.




Revenge. Then know, Andrea, that thou arrived

     Where thou shalt see the author of thy death,

     Don Balthazar the prince of Portingale,

     Deprived of life by Bel-imperia.

     Here sit we down to see the mystery,

     And serve for Chorus in this tragedy.


Kyd, Spanish Tragedy, 1.1.86–91


*      *      *


The Interactive Aside


Scrooby Theory amplified : At least fifty percent of the ASIDES in Shakespearean-era plays are meant to be delivered directly, eye to eye, to the audience; and not acted as if a surveillant audience is overhearing the thoughts of the performer (in the manner of a cinematic voiceover).


Such ASIDES are interactive.


The following is an extravagant example of a character “playing to the house”, revealing in himself a cunning two-faced duplicity via the extreme conversational—and bringing the audience in on the joke with him :


Flamineo. [aloud] An excellent scholar, [aside] one that hath a head fill’d with calves’ brains without any sage in them, [aloud] come crouching in the hams to you for a night's lodging? [aside] that hath an itch in ’s hams, which like the fire at the glass-house hath not gone out this seven years! [Aloud] Is he not a courtly gentleman? [aside] When he wears white satin, one would take him by his black muzzle to be no other creature than a maggot! [Aloud] You are a goodly foil, I confess, well set out, [aside] but cover’d with a false stone, yon counterfeit diamond!


White Devil, 1.2.127–35




Later, the cheerfully devilish Flamineo addresses the audience to clear up a misconception about himself :


Flamineo. [aside] I do put on this feigned garb of mirth,

     To gull suspicion.




*       *      *


The Oppenheimer (2023) phenomenon & Bergman, The Passion of Anna (1969)


GENIUS MOVES. Andreas (Max von Sydow) stands facing us, his back to a window. When the devilish Vergerus approaches, Bergman cuts to Andreas in profile, with the window just out of sight beyond screen-right—the devil has taken the window away! (27:08–28:10)




(2:48:40) The character Oppenheimer’s dejected profile as he gazes out a window. Sunlight illuminates his face from screen-left, but the window is out of shot.


—“Don’t take in the sheets.”


cut to


An interior window opening up not onto fresh air but onto another interior bureaucratic location.


(entrapment; claustrophobia; labyrinthine; necropolitic)


—Strauss : “I’m denied.”






The number of significant “window conjunctions” in The Passion of Anna is considerable—just as in Oppenheimer.


Sometimes, as in the Oppenheimer example just mentioned, one “window conjunction” shot in Passion cuts directly to another one—which intensifies the effect.


In one Bergman editing continuum are three significant “window conjunction” shots in a row. (39:50–40:42)




Sometimes, for example, a SYMBOL MESH


Foregrounded flames (“Satanic”/ “Spirit”) overlapping—overawing—Andreas and the windows flanking him, in one shot. (34:39–34:45)




The “Satanic” or red motif in the film—annihilating passion?




Heidegger. As flame, Spirit is the storm that “storms the sky” and “chases God”.




Bibi Andersson : “What is this deadly poison that eats away the best in us and only leaves an empty shell?” (38:22)


—maybe . . . the Spirit that exhausts itself?


*      *     *


Bibi Andersson speaks troublously of “isolation and loneliness” and the screen turns nuclear-white.




Pipe-smoking Andreas descending the ladder. (3:53–3:59)


Oppenheimer climbing the ladder. (1:47:27–1:47:33)




The sex/death dream. (1:22:37–1:23:08)


—“Destroyer of worlds.”


*      *      *


Sophoclean conversation


(1:24:46–1:29:06) What Andreas says about himself at the same time might be Anna’s dialogue about herself. Hence her repeated, “I understand.”


*      *      *


Good dog!


Andreas aligns his dog with its eyelights (and is pleased that it stays put on his lap for the effect). (41:48)








Edited by Jeff Bernstein
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Sir Thomas Browne, Pseudodoxia Epidemica, 7.1.


That the Forbidden Fruit of Paradise was an Apple, is commonly believed, confirmed by Tradition, perpetuated by Writings, Verses, Pictures.


There is no determination in the Text; wherein is only particulared that it was the fruit of a tree good for food, and pleasant unto the eye, in which regards many excell the Apple; and therefore learned men do wisely conceive it inexplicable.


Since therefore after this fruit, curiosity fruitlessly enquireth, and confidence blindly determineth, we shall surcease our Inquisition; rather troubled that it was tasted, then troubling our selves in its decision; this only we observe, when things are left uncertain, men will assure them by determination.




Letter to Einstein

Robert W. Lawson

The Physics Library, The University of Sheffield



Most people have heard of Newton and his apple and that will give some kind of a clue.

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end  of  μεταμορφώσεις  book  1




μεταμορφώσεις  book  2



a Scrooby screenplay




[ In front of wall ]



I’ve waited years for this moment—revenge.

When I was too young to know what was good

for me, for some reason my schoolteachers

and doctors, but first and foremost my parents,

persuaded me to believe I was a boy.

It sounds too horrible to say, but they

transitioned me from a girl to a boy

as a fashion statement, as virtue signalling.

Nineteen-sixty-eight had flower power;

but my parents had gender transition

as rebellion. The child had no say in

the matter. They wouldn’t have handed me

a hammer, yet my words changed my gender?

I was flown overseas to a sinister

institute in London—imagine it,

a horrible National Health Service

building—and given a phalloplasty.

The little girl was given a penis

and it wasn’t a crime. They flew me home,

back to my friends in the Hollywood Hills.

Now I was supposed to impersonate

a boy. At seventeen I ran away,

and transitioned back. The girl is a girl

again. Will those two ghouls recognize me?

For six long years I have bided my time;

I return to them as a young woman.

I will use deception, and insinuate

myself into the lives of my parents,

and if they fail to recognize me

I’ll obliterate the family home.

Here they are. Now it happens. I will move

aside, and watch my mother and father.

They come home, thinking this a normal day.


               [ walks; stands at family home ]

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               [ Henry and Emily enter the house, with Assistant and Tom ]


Emily. “As popular as a fart in a lift”?                                                                              

Asst. Fox News Australia has four million subs.

Emily. Henry, we need to issue a statement.

Henry. On what?

Emily.                     Anything.

Asst.                                          Save the rainforest?

Henry. What do you want from me?                                                                                                

Emily.                                                     I want you to care!

Tom. You rolling one?

Henry.                             No. I’m using the pipe.                                                                           

Asst. What about the North by Northwest festival

     next Friday? Many speakers are boycotting

     because the US Army is sponsoring

     the event.

Emily.              So what?

Tom.                                  Why is that a crime?

Asst. Apparently, the US Army is a sponsor                                                                                 

     of genocide. But only since October.

Emily. If we boycott it nobody sees us!

Henry. You think appearing is a proper idea?                                                                           


Emily.      Henry! I am a global icon!

     Remember, people listen to what I say!

     I am the American Lady Di!

     I have a responsibility to be me!

     My words can change the course of history!

Tom. She’s smooth.                                                                                                                              

Asst.                            I’m feeling it. Absolutely.

Emily. We need a new presentation. Whatever

     they’re protesting we’ll do it too. Get Scott                                                                      

     on the phone.

Asst.                      Scott’s having a root canal.

Emily. Get him on the phone!

Asst.                                            Immediately.

     [ aside ] It’s excruciating to endure these

     two sleazy no-class destructive grifters.

     I have to find a way out of this hell.                                                                                            

     No worse woman has surfaced since Eve fell.


[ Asst exits ]


Tom. [ aside ] Now comes the death-silence in the household,

     uncomfortable “as a fart in a lift”.                                                                                               

     Henry’s navel-gazing in a hateful mood,

     deep-sunk in a gloomy brood, (look at that frown!),

     thinking on the privileges he gave up

     to marry this rancid Hollywood whore.

     Look! Lost in the maze of contemplating

     his mistakes. [ aloud ] Would you like me to fetch you some

     water? [ aside ] Once a prince of the realm, the addict!                                                     

     Nobility bowed their heads to him. Everything

     was free, as if he was himself a charity.

     Chiefs of state showed deference to his title,                                                                       

     whole streets were blocked off when he went about,

     his palaces were pleasure domes on earth

     and servants waited on him hand and foot.

     He had it all. And that’s not the half of it.

     But one whiff of her, he chucked everything,

     and cut his own legs out from under him.

     I wouldn’t want to hear what’s on his mind                                                                             

     right now, it would be too ugly, and sad.

     People do make the dumbest decisions,

     specially when their lives depend on it.                                                                                  

     Now he’s caught in marriage with nowhere to go.

     What? He’ll return to Britain and ride the tube?

     He doesn’t have a home, he has a hide out.

     Now he has to squeeze his toothpaste himself

     onto his toothbrush; and the deference

     Prince Henry receives is mocking mouth-breath.

     [ aloud ] Here’s the pretzels from the Farmer’s Market.                                                       

     You want some of that bacon cheddar dip?

     [ aside ] When he left his native country years back,

     cursing the other royals on the way out,                                                                               

     he fancied Hollywood his new kingdom.

     He had the delusion his title

     meant something in the Industry. [ aloud ] Yeah, dude,

     I think I will partake of that. Cough! Cough!

     [ aside ] Imagine giving up your title of prince

     to become a tabloid celebrity—

     Cough! Cough!—by choice! [ aloud ] Stony stuff, my friend. Ha                                                     

     ha ha! [ aside ] I’m his friend for what I can get.

Emily. You know that hideous grimy mistress

     of your king’s is on Celebrity                                                                                                       

     Big Brother right now!

Tom.                                    [ aside ] Lady Martino.

Emily. I just know she reeks! She’s sad about it,

     You can see it festering in her eyes.

Tom.                                                              Narc rage.

Emily. We must appear massive next news cycle!

Henry. Yeah, okay.                                                                                                                                

Emily.                        That’s all you can say?

Henry.                                                                  Uh-huh.

     [ whispers ] Get her off my back for a sec, will you?                                                            

Tom. [ aside ] Ha! The loving power royal couple!                                                                                             

      [ aloud ] Emily, how goes the tiara design?                       

Emily. Oh it’s the most beautiful sight! Classic.

     A diadem all in pearl. So humble;

     a style worn by Empress Joséphine.

Tom. Where are you going to wear it? North by


Emily.                I’m wearing it during my speech.                                           

Tom. [ aside ] Ah, very humanitarian of her.                     

     She was an actress, you know, of dubious                                                                             

     merit. TV shows, and racy photos.                                                                               

     She won the role of royalty in bed,

     (and I can tell you all about her there);

     but the public called her human Covid

     after her many toxic acts and comments.

     These days she receives no invitations

     to Sir Elton John’s Post-Oscar Party.                                                                                                         

     She hustles a clothing line, a YouTube

     channel and podcasts and home shopping brands,

     all to maintain their desperate lifestyle.                                                                                   

     She’s sadly C-list, a tinfoil princess.                                                             

     If she only knew what was coming for her.


[ Henry speaks into his mobile phone ]


Henry. [ whispers ] Hey. I’ve been desperate to speak to you

all day. It’s Henry! I couldn’t get away

from her. I still can’t. [ loudly ] Listen, I want you

to see about this “fart in a lift” comment!

[ whispers ] I can’t wait to meet you in person!                                                        


[ knock on the door ]


Emily. Who’s that? Maybe it’s Jennifer Lawrence!

Henry. What are you talking about?

Emily.                                                     Someone said                                                                  

     she’s using my skincare.


               [ Asst enters ]


Asst. A Beatrice is here. She says Harry

     is expecting her.

Harry.                         Beatrice!

Emily.                                            Who’s she?

Harry. I am surprised. Show her in please.

Asst.                                                                   Yes, sir.

Emily. Harry, who’s Beatrice?

Harry.                                          I didn’t say?

Emily.                                                                  No.                                                                   

Henry. Someone Tom thought of to help you and Scott

     with your presentation for North by Northwest.

     I just didn’t expect her to come today.

Emily. [ aside ] I smell a rat, but act the sleeping kitty.


[ Asst enters, with Beatrice ]

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Bea. This is a beautiful home.

Asst.                                             We love it.

     Duchess, Prince, Thomas, this is Beatrice.

Emily. Beatrice, welcome. Call me Emily.

     May I offer you something to drink?

Bea. I’ll have a bottle of Quasar cola.                                                                                            

Emily. Quasar cola. Now I’m not sure about that.


Asst.         I’ll go see. Quasar cola, yes?

Bea. Not the sugar-free kind. Quasar vanilla,

     if you have it.

Asst.                    Quasar cola vanilla.

Bea. Unless you have Quasar Zero. But not

     the decaffeinated. I’ll have Quasar

     Zero, caffeinated, if you haven’t

     any bottles of Quasar vanilla                                                                                                       

     that aren’t sugar-free.

Asst.  [ aside ] Next time we’ll provide her with a menu!


               [ Asst exits ]


Bea. This is a beautiful home. You think I’d’ve

     been very happy living here.

Emily.                                             We’re blessed,

     and we know it; so we give back whenever

     we can.                                                                                                                                                

Bea.            Give back?

Emily.                               Charity.

Bea.                                                 So they say.

Tom. [ aside ] Look at that! A death stare from the duchess!

Emily. [ aside ] I can’t bear the state of her awful clothes.

     Trailer trash! Love the simian features, honey.

     She is young enough to be his daughter!

     Get out of my house, and out of my face!

     [ aloud ] Beautiful dress.

Bea.                                         Thank you, Em. You’re the best.                                               

     I don’t know, do you use Em as a term

     of endearment?

Emily.                       Emily is fine, dear.

Bea. Emily.

Henry.         Shall we sit?

Bea.                                      Thank you, Henry.

Tom. [ aside ] Listen to that—“Your highness” no longer

     trips off the tongue. But it’s no matter;                                                        

     let her be respectful to his royal member.                                                                                

     Her obeisance will stretch out the number.


[ Asst returns ]


Asst.   Quasar cola, ma’am. Decaffeinated


Bea.          Thank you. Is it sugar-free?

Asst. Yes.

Bea. I don’t want it.

Asst. Okay. May I offer you a cup of tea?                                          

Bea. No.

Asst.       Anything?                                   

Bea.                            Do you have carrot juice?

Asst. We can make carrot juice.

Bea.                                                  I’ll have carrot

     juice. May I have it with ice? But only

     if the ice is made from spring water.

     Stir in spirulina if you have it.

Asst.                                                Yes, ma’am.


               [ Asst exits ]


Emily. I’m curious to hear your ideas, [ aside ] peasant!

Bea. My ideas?

Emily. Social justice; community justice;

     whatever people are talking about.

     [ aside ] I’ll mortify little Miss Nobody now!

Bea. You want to hear my ideas on justice?                                                                  

Emily. Actually, I must go; I’m sorry.

     It was lovely meeting you, uh, Beatrice.

     [ aside ] I’ll spy on the lovers and watch what they do.


               [ doorbell rings ]


Emily. Who could that be?

Henry.                                    J-Law?

Tom.                                                    I’ll go and see.

Emily. I’ll come. You two sit and chat.


               [ Tom and Emily exit ]


Henry. Bea, how long I’ve waited for this, speaking

     on that dating app together for a week;

     finally, we meet. Admit me this kiss.

Bea. Henry, kiss me again.

Henry.                                    You knew nothing

     of me and my titles, darling. You knew

     only “Henry”. So. Now that you see me,

     after all this time we’ve spoken online,

     you think you can love me for me?

Bea.                                                           I do.

Henry. It doesn’t disappoint you I’m bald?

Bea.                                                          Not at all.

     I used to sleep with my high school principal.


               [ they canoodle ]


               [ Tom and Emily at front door, admit Ed ]


Tom. Yes?

Ed.              Emily!

Emily.                      Yes?

Ed.                                      Emily!

Emily                                               Have we met?

Ed. Yes.

Emily.      Where have we met?

Ed.                                                 My name is Edward.

     Edward Murgo from Minneapolis.

Emily. I don’t know you.

Ed.                                       You do.

Tom. [ aside ]                                    Edward Murgo?

Emily. Edward Murgo from Minneapolis,

     why are you here?

Ed.                                I wanted to see you

     in person. You see, I’ve only ever

     spoken to you in dreams.

Emily.                                        Security!

Ed. No! Wait!

Tom.                Breathe; breathe.

Ed.                                                   Sorry; I’m excited.

     I’ve lived this so many times in my head.

     I’ve been rehearsing a speech for ages,

     all the way down on the bus from the cities.

     Emily, I’ve given up everything

     for you. My job, my home, my family.

     I’ve come on this odyssey to find you;

     and now you stand before me, finally,

     the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.

     This moment is stranger than any dream;

     I’m overwhelmed!

     How does one cope with one’s dream coming true?

Tom. [ aside ] Emily’s not the best to ask about that.

Emily. You came here to tell me I’m beautiful?

Ed. No. Not just that.

Emily.                            Come in, then.

Tom.                                                         You’re serious?

Emily. Let’s hear his speech. [ aside ] It might help us with ours.

     Henry won’t get much content from his whores.          

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Posted (edited)



Henry. Think of me as an ordinary guy.

     Don’t let my titles dazzle you.

Bea.                                                  Okay.

Henry. I’ll slip this dress off. Crikey! What a body!

Bea. You like it?              

Henry.                   Delicious.

Bea.                                          Feel free to pull

     off my panties.

Henry.                       You smell of ambrosia.

Bea. I’m all yours.




Asst. Tom! What’s the limit of the horrible?

Tom. All those Oscar parties, not one invite!

Asst. It’s so sad. You know who funds this empire?

     Trailer trash, immigrant women

     and some idle-class Southeast Asians—

     they buy our brand. The placemats and napkins,

     the peanut butter and jams, the pet food,

     dropshipping scams with their faux-royal seal.

     Kitchenware “curated” by the duchess!

     That praying mantis can’t even toss a salad!

Tom. Their brand is Stupidity; their fans, bots.

Asst. And here I am, chopping carrots for his

     new mistress.

Tom.                       Poor Henry and his tiny

     todger. When the money’s all gone I’m gone.

Asst. [ aside ] And I’m an intern working for college credit.

     [ aloud ] Do you know her?

Tom.                                               No.

Asst.                                                       I’ve seen her before.

Tom. Yeah? Where?

Asst. No idea;

     but I have a feeling; I may have seen

     the three of them in a photo together.

     She looks familiar.

Tom.                               I didn’t notice her.

     This jackhammer chopping of yours is sexy.

     Is it your work when their friends turn their backs?

Asst. Be worried when this knife is in this hand.


               [ they laugh ]




Emily. You’ll help me run my lines?

Ed.                                                         Your lines?

Emily.                                                                        My speech.

Ed. Emily! My love trivializes words!

     You’ve dazzled me for years. I’ve followed you

     on your journey, and the love I gave out

     may have helped you along the way. God I hope so.

     I had a picture of you in my bedroom;

     next to my wife I woke up to your face

     every morning. Finally I left

     my wife and kids and everything, for you,

     to find you. And I’m holding everything

     back from embracing you, and kissing you.

Emily. What do you do for a living, Edward?

Ed. I was a financial developer;

     nothing romantic.

Emily. [ aside ]             Depends on what you love.

     [ aloud ] What is a “financial developer”?

Ed. I was a buy-side equity analyst

     for hedge funds, mutual funds, pension funds.

Emily. Where do you live?

Ed.                                         I did live in Lenox Hill.

Emily. [ aside ] Billionaires! [ aloud ] My tingling is palpable.

     Kiss me, love, for I love the color green!






Edited by Jeff Bernstein
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Bea. Henry, Prince Henry, most royal Henry,

     look at me, who has stung you most foully,

     though the poison hasn’t hit your wits yet.

Henry. You, little thing, hurt me? You’re delulu.

     I’m not so high I don’t know who you are.

Bea. Dad!

Henry. Baby,

     vengeance requires more than beginner’s luck.

     I knew who you were from the first, when we

     were still talking online. What do you want?

Bea. My idea was to drive you both crazy.

Henry. You’re just another whore, like your mother.

Bea. You really gross me out, dad. You’re taking

     the moral high ground here?

Henry.                                              Always attack.

Bea. [ aside ] Well, I know she’s not with him for the sex!

    [ aloud ] Dad, you just slept with your own child!

Henry.                                                                          So you say.

Bea. What’s that mean?

Henry. It’s a hard question whether you’re mine.

     She’s always slept around, just as you do.                    

     You’re uncertain—which was said about me.

Bea. Until you lost your hair to match your brother.

Henry. A baby was a fashion accessory

     to make us relatable, nothing more.

Bea. Funny, then, that you’re a stranger to me.

Henry. So this shouldn’t hurt me.


               [ Henry strangles her ]


Henry. Now I have to get rid of this damn thing.




Tom. One year later, Henry’s charitable

     foundation produced a reality show

     about Henry on the ski slopes. The last

     episode featured Henry hitting a tree

     at Heavenly in Tahoe. His funeral

     was small. I have no idea what happened

     to the intern. Beatrice’s body

     was dumped in the San Gabriel Mountains.

     The less said about Emily the better.

     I’m dead, and all I do is watch the show.


[ end ]

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)



The slow, three-minute track-out beginning Hateful Eight (1:49–4:29) // The split-second zoom-out beginning Hollywood.




(5:00–5:09). Finally, artful sync up of extreme-f.g. Spirit of Ecstasy with telephoto Walk of Fame star.




(5:49–6:02). The halation at Brad Pitt’s head recalls the lamplight motif of Grand Hotel (1932) (earlier in this thread).


cf. the John Barrymore artwork at (36:28).




(6:04–6:09). Racks out, then racks in.


Recalling, say, rack focus in The Bling Ring and The Master (earlier in this thread).


Rack focus : also (49:06–49:07); (49:30–49:32); (49:46–49:47); (50:54–50:55); (51:10–51:15); (51:23–51:25, the Manson look); (1:01:54–1:01:56); (1:15:00–1:15:02); (1:51:39–1:51:40), (2:28:40–2:28:47, Susan Atkins thrashing in the pool).


Q : What is the Hollywood history of rack focus?


Q : What film has the most instances of rack focus?




(14:59–15:07). Rick’s Cadillac leaving parking lot. cf. All The President’s Men (1:04:18–1:04:40).




Genius Move. (21:05–21:26). Tarantino and Richardson shoot about five blocks of a fully-dressed Hollywood Boulevard (ca. 1969)—entirely in telephoto!




(33:45–33:55). The backdrop rolling aside. Cf. Body Double (2:56–3:12).




(37:29). The TV show Combat. Starred Vic Morrow, the father of Jennifer Jason Leigh; an early stop on Robert Altman’s career; also—“Manson family member Sandra Good once cited it as her favorite show” (Easy Riders, 3).




(39:13). Prolepsis : the flamethrower.


*     *     *


(1:20:15–1:20:17). Rainbow lens flare prominent over Sharon’s smiling face, intensifying her joy.




Genius move


(1:20:20–1:20:26). Rainbow lens flare expands prominently around Sharon’s head, halolike, conveying her intense joy.


*     *     *


(1:16:00–1:16:08) / (1:17:09–1:17:17). “hidden” dolly zoom.




Two meta moments, of many (western theme)


(1:34:02–1:34:32). Stranger entering town : Cliff striding into Spahn Ranch.

(1:47:57–1:38:28). Showdown : Cliff v. Pussycat.




My old friend Math Mike describes the “Hitchcock moment” (say, 1:43:34–1:44:50) :


life/art: cliff entering george's bedroom. suspenseful music but its coming from the tv. george spahn is "real", music is appropriate but diegetic and so not "real" movie music, cliff is not "real" and anyway its all a movie but something to do with reality.


Yeah, the whole thing isn’t simple.




(20:13–20:45). Overhead on Cliff in wide-open outdoors.

(2:19:34–2:19:46). Overhead on Cliff in close confined indoors. (Yet Cliff’s on LSD—his wide-open mind recalls the earlier overhead.)




(2:15:14–2:15:16). Rick : “Hey, Dennis Hopper!”


(1:31:00–1:31:04). Rick’s psycho look. cf. Blue Velvet (Frank, 1:28:58–1:29:01).


(2:29:54–2:29:56) CU of revolving emergency light. cf. Blue Velvet (1:45:03–1:45:05).




(9:37–10:30). Television dialogue : hilarious exhibition of exposition.




Tom Wolfe, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (Germany : Taschen, 2006), facing contents page—


to find facsimile reproduction, tipped in, of the wondrously detailed poster :


 “Can You Pass the Acid Test?” (1:29:23)

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood


(2:21:30–2:21:43). The antagonists striding along the dark telephoto road, creeping up on Cliff and Rick.


This is wondrous genre splice : seamlessly both western and horror flick at once.


(along with all else)


The genre of horror flick is explicitly cited at (2:19:04–2:19:16)—the car exhaust in the b.g. recalls, say, a creepy smokescape of Night of the Living Dead.


(2:21:30–2:21:43). Genius.

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Posted (edited)

The Oppenheimer (2023) phenomenon


As Tatlock GRINDS on me she locks eyes with Kitty . . .



(1:15:55–1:16:02). Why the highly-charged eyeball interaction?




1. Kitty is riveted as she explores the phenomenon : Why does my husband find Tatlock attractive?


2. Kitty is questioning her husband: What is the nature of this bond you share with Tatlock?


(Exploring questions 1 & 2 might reveal something about her husband, and therefore herselfcf. the poison apple.)


3. Kitty is confronting Tatlock : Why are you invading my marriage?


4. Kitty experiences herself, for a fleeting instance, mystically attracted to Tatlock—due to a complexity of reasons.


(e.g., If she and her husband share a close affinity, then what he likes, Kitty might, too.)


5. Kitty is riveted as one might follow a developing newsworthy incident.


6. Kitty seethes with spite for Tatlock—for the enemy is temporarily besting her, reducing her, mocking her.


(The “other woman” is a multidimensional threat—among her depredations is a possible destabilising of Kitty’s sense of self.)




               Jean Tatlock is a threat to foundations.




7. Kitty is riveted because she is surprised at her unlikely urge to join in.




(and so on.)


*     *     *


(1:16:01). Kitty’s slight lip movement recalls, in general context and specific execution, EWS (1:47:37).


*     *     *




“UK launches ‘national endeavour’ to reinforce nuclear deterrent”, Financial Times, 24 March 2024.


SOPHOCLEAN RELIEF : the article features the following image :


Britain’s defence posture.”







Edited by Jeff Bernstein
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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood


Aber ist der Vergangenheitscharakter einer Geschichte nicht tiefer, vollkommener und märchenhafter, je dichter „vorher“ sie spielt?




(2:18:37). The keys to. Given!


—The reprieve. Freedom.


(2:35:12). The gates open onto a dark paradise of lost time.


It was in the reign of Richard Nixon that the aforesaid personages lived and quarrelled; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now.


(2:35:25). Rick entering in through the gates. Miltonlike grandiosity, because the realm is enchanted; entering into less a localised site than the grandness of a time period;—and more than a time period : a place of the mind, where disparate times and places and people co-exist; the Unconscious. Rick’s entering into memory.




(2:36:16). The fairy tale (märchenhafter). The happy-ever-after of a dream. // Playing things (spielt) differently. In the enchanted realm of the mind.

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood


(17:04–17:09). Corbin Ave. & Greenbriar Dr., Tarzana—Cliff sees the Family for the first time.


Just beyond, unseen, is an unpaved section of Mulholland Dr.


If Cliff continued driving forward, he’d soon reach a yellow diamond sign : END.


Two characters lock eyes—at a transition point of the “civilised” and the “wild”.




(1:55:16-1:55:18) / (2:11:40-2:11:49). Riverside Drive, Toluca Lake—“You want to buy a cigarette dipped in acid?”


For two fleeting set-ups of Cliff sitting inside a car beside a nondescript location, Tarantino brought the production not to the backlot but to a streetcorner of Toluca Lake. Why?


One reason?—the authenticity of the street sign synced with Cliff’s face. But why?


Scrooby theory : Possibly this area has a personal significance for the storyteller?




In the alternate world of Hollywood, perhaps Dalton entering into the enchanted realm may lead to a role in, say, Chinatown?




(2:22:22–2:22:33). Strong vibes of John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13 (1976).




(2:20:03–2:20:07). Cliff, frying, psychedelically catching light fitfully in his wandlike hand.

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The Oppenheimer (2023) phenomenon


(1:52:27–1:52:29). The character Oppenheimer inside the south bunker, watching preparations for detonation—the powering up of machinery.


The inscrutable Oppenheimer’s vibe evokes Jack’s in the pantry as Grady unbolts the door? (1:57-40–1:57:49)


The sinking in of the Heavy point of no return.


please recall


(9:08–9:18). “Stacked them neatly in a room in the west wing, and then . . .”


Jack blinks twice before the start of Ullman’s dialogue, then doesn’t blink again until after Ulllman finishes his line. Jack is riveted.


Meanwhile, the character Oppenheimer—thoughtful, incisive, remote—gazing onto the heavy point of no return, (casually?—so to speak) blinks.


Near zero?” / “Try not to blow up the world.”


A vibe of the poison apple in this reaction shot of the character Oppenheimer?

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∞ Ways of Looking at a Film


Hallorann. How does he tell you things?

Danny. It’s like I go to sleep, and he shows me things. But when I wake up, I can’t remember everything.




One of Math Mike’s favorite pictures is Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. He watches it not infrequently, and so has seen it many times, but many details of the film frame he has yet to notice.


Q : Why?


A : Math Mike prioritises a certain way of looking at a movie.


Sure, if a narrative doesn’t work at a basic level of understanding, it won’t gross Star Wars numbers. The story won’t make us cry; or we won’t want to break out in song.


But why slavishly follow this one certain way of watching a film every time you watch it?




Math Mike loves movies but has not yet conditioned himself to watch them differently.




Example. It wouldn’t cross Math Mike’s mind to watch Once Upon a Time in Hollywood without sound.


Why do that?” asks the ‘ordinary’ filmgoer.


ANSWER : Watching a movie without sound frees up the eye and mind to follow different burnt-in pathways to Revelation.


Or—It wouldn’t cross Math Mike’s mind to watch a movie without paying attention to the principals in the frame.


“Watch Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and pay attention solely to the extras,” Scrooby has suggested. “Because after that, the next time you watch it, even if your eye doesn’t attend to the extras again, the overall vibe of the frame has been enrichened, and who knows what chain reaction might lead to the next Revelation?”




A Spectator is confronted with a film frame and doesn’t pay attention to most of it.


To intentionally scan the frame in questioning intensifies the process of Spectator Reaction by producing ongoing information surplus.




The spectator must make the choice to unlock Revelation in the artwork.




The effort of daily prayer is the paradigm of facing the first-rate.


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Posted (edited)

John Webster and Quentin Tarantino


(41.23–43:35). Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. A humorous moment of revelation takes place between Randy and Rick in Rick’s trailer on the backlot. Rick hopes to shoehorn Cliff into Randy’s production, and in the midst of an extended back-and-forth on the subject, finally :


Randy. The dude killed his f****** wife.



This revelation of Cliff’s backstory coming deep into the conversation makes for a laugh-out-loud moment.




This same technique of “burying the lede” for comic effect appears in the first scene of Webster’s The White Devil.


Nihilist urban psycho Lodovico speaks the first word of the play, to his two friends : “Banished?”


His friends explain why this sentence has been imposed, why Lodovico is to be banished from the city of Rome. This is the order of the facts of their explanation :


1. He offended “men of princely rank”. (10)

2. He ruined (through dissipation) his own “noblest earldom”. (15)

3. He led astray his “followers” with his “unnatural and horrid physic”. (17)

4. He has the reputation of a dissolute host of indulgent drinking parties. (18–19)

5. He has been criticized by one aristocrat as “master only for caviar” (i.e., as a decadent, worthless playboy). (19–20)

6. He is jeered at by “noblemen . . . who laugh at your misery” and accuse him of idleness, profligacy and worthlessness. (21–24)

7. He is the target of “jest[s]” by aristocrats who accuse him of steering wrong and ruining many other “fair lordships” [noblemen]. (27–29)


To all of this Lodovico responds in insouciant fashion : “Very good.” (i.e., “What of it?” / “So what?”)


Finally, at (30–32), comes the Tarantinoesque payoff :


Gasparo.                                          Worse than these,

     You have acted certain murders here in Rome,

     Bloody and full of horror.


The Shakespearean-era audience may very well have laughed at this important point that perhaps should have been cited at the first.




And Lodovico’s response?


Lodovico. ’Las, they were flea-bites! (32)


The proto–Patrick Bateman laughs it off.







Edited by Jeff Bernstein
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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood


(1:39:08–1:39:18). The antenna upright on the roof of the shack resembles a cross.




—Adding a resonance to the Situation of Cliff leading the Family forward—in the manner of Jesus and His disciples?




—Recalls Rick’s antenna, beside which Cliff accepts his Hollywood fate.


(L.A. sprawled out beyond him in telephoto.)


Cliff, a character of Hollywood—




—keyed in, antennalike, to the vibes of the world.


[ “Sometimes there’s a man . . .” (Lebowski, 1:57) ]


e.g., A Serious Man (28:55–31:23)


or, say,


the radio-tower-like drilling rig in TWBB; the Trinity tower in Oppenheimer.




The shack.


(1:40:00). Recalls the Vera Miles trespass in Psycho (1:35:25–1:35:37).


Sharp shadow-edges—(e.g., 1920s constructivism?)—add aggressive character to the structure, with ‘Squeaky’ Fromme standing obscured in the doorway.


The overall geometric effect of the shack evokes the riddling visual bustle of, say, Escher; or, say,


Flamineo. I have seen a pair of spectacles fashioned with such perspective art, that lay down but one twelve pence o’th’ board, ’twill appear as if there were twenty; now should you wear a pair of these spectacles, and see your wife tying her shoe, you would imagine twenty hands were taking up of your wife’s clothes, and this would put you into a horrible causeless fury.

(White Devil, 1.2.94–100)




(1:40:00). Aggressive creepy structure with ‘Squeaky’ obscured inside.


[ Recall Oppenheimer and Einstein at the lake (11:26–11:40). ]


EVOCATION SHOT : the frame is heavy with Time; the audience feels something heavy.

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The Tragical History of Doctor Fausti


Now follows Doctor Fausti’s awful and terrifying end,

which every right-thinking man must beware,

which every right-thinking man must consider, and beware.


Doctor Fausti’s twenty-four years had passed;

and in that very week the Spirit came to him.

He showed himself, and handed over the contract,

and said that the Devil would come for his body

the next night—“Make no mistake about that.”


So, Doctor Fausti, who knew no way out

but was committed to give up his skin,

left the same day the Devil would come for him,

and went to his learnéd friends and students

from the university, who had often visited him.


He asked them to walk with him to Rimlich,

a village half a mile from Wittenberg,

and have a meal with him there. They agreed.


So they went together, and shared a morning meal

of many delicious dishes and wine.

Doctor Fausti acted cheerful with them,

but he was troubled at heart.


Then he asked them, since they were so merry

together, to stay with him through the day

and feast into the night,

for he had something important to say.


So when the nightcap was finally drunk,

Doctor Fausti settled the bill; then asked

his friends to withdraw with him to another room,

for he had something to tell them. They went,

and Doctor Fausti said to them all :


“My good friends, all you fine gentlemen,

hear now why I have invited you.

For many years you have known me,

what kind of man I am.

Now I tell you all my knowledge

of the arts of magic were given me

by the Devil.


I fell in with a bad crowd, who long ago

fed me to his diabolical lust.


My blind will

gave up my flesh and blood

for extravagant thoughts,

which were given me;

and I promised to the devil,

after twenty-four years, my body and soul.


Ah Faust!


Now all these years have come to an end,

and the hourglass runs out before my eyes,

and because I have pledged myself to him,

he is coming to take me tonight.


This is why I called you to me, my friends;

I did not want to hide my death from you.

Before my end, let us have a farewell drink.


I ask you, dear friends, to remember me

with kindness, and hold nothing against me.

If I have ever offended you,

I ask you kindly to forgive me.”


“Oh Master Fausti! What have you done?

Why did you keep this from us for so long?

We would have found learnéd theologians

to tear through the Devil’s net and save you!

Now it is too late for your body and soul.”


Doctor Fausti answered that he should not

have done it. And that many times he had

sought good people to give him advice and help,

but could not bring himself to ask.


When they understood this from Doctor Fausti,

they said to him : “You must call upon God.”


He told them he wanted to pray, but it

would not come to him; just like Cain, who said

that some sins are too great for forgiveness.


At that, the students and good gentlemen

wept and embraced each other. Doctor Fausti

lamented and wept, and the ghost returned

to him, and said : “The Devil has promised

that you shall not suffer the horrors of Hell

like all the other damned, but shall be safe

from fire.” He gave him such comforting

words and more, but they were all lies.


So it happened between twelve and one o’clock

that night, a great raging wind surrounded

the house, as if it meant to tear it down.


The students, despairing, jumped out of bed

and comforted each other. But not one

of them had the courage to leave the room.


They heard a horrible whistling and hissing,

as if all the halls were full of snakes;

then Fausti opened his door, and began

to cry for help, and to shout out, “Murder!”


but with barely half a voice. Soon after,

he was no longer heard.


When it was daylight, the students went out

into the halls, but they saw no Fausti,

nothing of him; but the walls of the rooms

were drenched in blood. Then they saw his body

stuck to the wall, because the devil had

hammered him from one wall to another.


There were also his eyes, and quite a lot

of teeth; and they found his spectacles.


Ultimately, they took the body out

to the dung heap. It was horrible to see :

his head and all his limbs were quivering.


After that they returned to Wittenberg

and to Doctor Fausti’s home. There they found

his servant, Wagner, morbidly distressed.


Doctor Fausti would appear to Wagner

at night, and showed him many secret things.


Ever since then, his house was so eerie

that no one could live there for long.


And those absent-minded enough to look

up at his house might still see him looking

out of his window at those who passed by.


This was the true history of Doctor Fausti,

from which all persons must learn the following :


Stay sober and awake, for your enemy,

the devil, walks like a hungry lion

and seeks anyone he may devour.

Resist him firmly with all your faith.


               [ end ]


anonymous, Historia von D. Johann Fausten, 1587.

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Posted (edited)

The European myth of Faust


Faust. Now that the gloomy shadow of the night,

     Longing to view Orion’s drizzling look,


Faust is as educated as, say, the character Oppenheimer; here he cites an ancient concept :


cum subito adsurgens fluctu nimbosus Orion

rising suddenly from the waves, stormy Orion



aquosus Orion


Virgil, Aeneid (1.535 / 4.52). (i.e., the constellation Orion is associated with stormy weather; see also Horace, Odes, 1.28.21.)


Let’s begin again.


Faust. Now that the gloomy shadow of the night,

     Longing to view Orion’s drizzling look,

     Leaps from th’ antartic world unto the sky

     And dims the welkin with her pitchy breath,

     Faustus, begin thine incantations,

     And try if devils will obey thy hest,

     Seeing thou hast pray’d and sacrific’d to them.

     Within this circle is Jehovah’s name

     Forward and backward anagrammatiz’d,

     Th’ abbreviated names of holy saints,

     Figures of every adjunct to the heavens,

     And characters of signs and erring stars,

     By which the spirits are enforc’d to rise :

     Then fear not, Faustus, but be resolute,

     And try the uttermost magic can perform!


Marlowe, Doctor Faustus, 3.1–15


Kind reader, please note that the word “rise” in this scene-opening monologue is (SCROOBY THEORY) an actor’s cue to lift his voice in pitch and volume as a climactic power-engendering Genius Move.


What Faust doesn’t know : Standing in the balcony above him are, according to the s.d. :


               [ Thunder. Enter LUCIFER and four DEVILS above. ]




(3.29–30). Our European friend Faust, having just summoned a devil from Hell with his knowledgeable magic, celebrates himself :


I see there’s virtue in my heavenly words!

Who would not be proficient in this art?


The question (put here in Scrooby italics) is a direct question delivered (SCROOBY THEORY) eye-to-eye to the audience.




(3.75–82). Mephistopheles, a “servant to great Lucifer” (42), appears before Faust in cooperative reply to Faust’s nighttime conjuring.


Faust. Where are you damn’d?

Mephistopheles.                         In hell.

Faust. How comes it then that thou art out of hell?

Mephistopheles. Why, this is hell, nor am I out of it.


(Dear wide-eyed reader : A relatable thought?)


     Think’st thou that I, who saw the face of God,

     And tasted the eternal joys of heaven,

     Am not tormented with ten thousand hells

     In being depriv’d of everlasting bliss?




The Hell within him, for within him Hell

He brings, and round about him, nor from Hell

One step no more than from himself can fly

By change of place.


Paradise Lost, 4.20–3




                                                            now the thought

Both of lost happiness and lasting pain

Torments him


Paradise Lost, 1.54–6.


*     *     *


Inflection equivalence


Neff. That tears it.

(Double Indemnity, 12:25)


Flamineo. We’re blown up, my lord.

(White Devil, 4.2.136)




A woman hopes for a kiss . . . and prompts . . .


Kitty. Now here I am, wherever the hell this is. 

(Oppenheimer, p40)



Vittoria. I’ll speak not one word more.

(White Devil, 4.2.187–9)


. . . and receives one.





Edited by Jeff Bernstein
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