Saturday, 16 June 2007
The other day I watched this movie called The World, The Flesh and The Devil. Harry Belafonte plays a coal miner who returns to the surface to find that he's the only survivor of World War 3. Except that, of course, he isn't. I was interested in seeing it because the Internet Movie Database claimed that it's based on M. P. Shiel's novel The Purple Cloud. Except that, of course, it isn't.
The movie is pretty awful. Lousy script, terrible acting. Belafonte sings some tunes, as you might expect. It doesn't have anything to do with The Purple Cloud other than having a similar, "last man on Earth" premise. I think The Purple Cloud was inspired in part by Mary Shelley's Frankenstein in that both novels use an expedition to the North Pole as a metaphor for an attempt to gain forbidden knowledge.
Shiel's novel has a wonderfully delirious plot. The only human being on the planet spends his time traveling around to the great cities of the world, setting them on fire and watching them burn from a safe distance while getting drunk and smoking hash.
In The World, The Flesh and The Devil, Belafonte goes to New York City and moves into a luxury penthouse apartment. It's interesting to note that even after the end of the world, real estate in New York City retains its value.
Both The Purple Cloud and Frankenstein are in the public domain. The classic Frankenstein movie, wonderful as it is, has almost nothing in common with Shelley's novel, which is fantastic and well worth reading. You can download Frankenstein here and The Purple Cloud here.
For a good movie about coal miners, I recommend Hula Girls, which will be playing in New York City as part of Subway Cinema's New York Asian Film Festival. It's really great, though it could have used a better score.
The new CD, Rob Price Quartet with Ellery Eskelin, Trevor Dunn & Jim Black: I Really Do Not See The Signal, is here!
You will soon be able to buy it from Cadence, CD Baby and the Downtown Music Gallery. You can buy it from me right now, though, for $18 dollars. That includes shipping, no matter where you live. Click the button at the top left of this page (or send me a check or money order, payable to "Rob Price") if that sounds good to you.
Here is an mp3 of one of the tunes, "Girasol". That's right, I'm giving away this extraordinary piece of music, a 99¢ value on some download sites. We've lost our minds here at Gutbrain Records. Call it a Father's Day sale.
This piece is named after the girasol ring that Lamont Cranston/The Shadow always wore. You can see it on his left hand. I had no idea "girasol" meant "sunflower" in some language until Jim told me so at the recording session.
I just bought this book. It is insane.