Gods and myths

Greek gods and goddesses do have an unfortunate modern-day application as people start to assume titles that belong to these ancient deities, however false, even when said in jest. Besides, the Greeks didn’t know if there were gods. But Greek myths and stories may be easier to apply, just like we would a story of modern-day language. The “gods” are dramatized the more by British stalwarts Laurence Olivier and Maggie Smith and well-known actors play other gods and goddesses in their midst, in the original Clash of the Titans (1981). The formidable Zeus seemed to me to be unusual for Olivier, the fine theatrical actor of the mid-century last seemed too theatrical as a fiery god, perhaps a little too pretty, as well. The gods’ inflamed passions and schemes, in the god’s home on Mount Olympus, appears all a bit of a farce, anyhow. But the mythological Greek story Clash of the Titans has something thematically challenging even if its for kids it still can apply to adults. The story gets going when god Zeus (Laurence Olivier) gives his human son Perseus (Harry Hamlin) gifts worthy of a knight on a journey. Zeus then tells Perseus that the gifts are there to help him on a journey of executing his destiny. In that vein, Perseus attempts to save Andromeda (Judi Bowker) from various foes, including the sea beast the Kraken and a vengeful, spurned lover. If you strip down the elements of the mythology, there’s a theme of taking up one’s courage; the Greeks did know how to tell a story that has universal application. “Taking up one’s courage” even has a biblical echo, in that Joshua is told by God to be bold and courageous as he and the Israelite’s are about to cross the Jordan River. Though this 1981 original Rated PG (Contains fantasy action and brief nudity) feels a little complicated in the telling, but there is still a sense of wonder to proceedings that the remakes lacked. It holds interest and a steady pace, is wondrous, and there is excitement, such as in Medusa’s lair. Nice scoring.

Published 2020, http://www.peteswritingnotes.com

Running in parallel

In “The Wind in the Willows”, a children’s book that’s considered a classic and that I am presently reading, there’s the main action and we find out later what was going on in parallel to that action in a conversational scene. The author chose to tell what happened in parallel in just one scene. I found this worked perfectly, in this case. So, the question I have, is why would an author choose one lot of action first and tell the reader what happened in parallel later on, in just one scene? I think the author must know how this choice would effect the flow of the story. It may flow better that way. By telling two stories at once in parallel may lesson the effectiveness of the story as a whole. You may lose the gist of the story. Parallel plot lines — where two stories are told in parallel at virtually the same time — are the exception and one uses it only for the purposes of telling the story more effectively, without losing the gist of the story.

Human dignity

The Elephant Man (1980) weaves a tapestry of skilled storytelling, and beautiful film-making, to show us how life was for John Merrick, the man who was called ‘The Elephant Man’. Based on the book “The Elephant Man and Other Reminiscences” by Sir Frederick Treves and Ashley Montagu’s “The Elephant Man: A Study in Human Dignity”, the adapters of this material (Christopher De Vore, Eric Bergren, and David Lynch) fashion a seamless story. Set in Victorian England, and shot in black and white to evoke the period, it follows Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins), a surgeon at London Hospital, as he moves his way through a circus crowd and into the tent of John Merrick (an unrecognizable John Hurt), who is displayed as a ‘freak’, The Elephant Man, one of life’s many surprises his cruel owner Bytes (Freddie Jones) announces. Treves wants to study and protect Merrick and does a bargain with Bytes. Later in the film, Treves doubts that his taking Merrick did any good, as it made Merrick a curiosity again, to the medical doctors at the Philanthropic Society and in the higher echelons of the Victorian world, but Treves’ intentions are not limited to scientific curiosity. He is genuinely engrossed in the man’s welfare and treatment. Treves believes he should be given a safe place to live, away from those who might react cruelly or with fear to the severe deformities and abnormalities that cover his body, head, and face. Treves become Merrick’s reason to believe in himself. The Elephant Man is profound, moving, powerful story, humanely Christian, and thought provoking. It seems to say that if people with disadvantages are treated normally, they will get along better, but this may take a wise and understanding person. A memorable film.

Published 2020, http://www.peteswritingnotes.com