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bouttime2x

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  1. One of the funniest, strangest, and saddest movies of all time is RKO's 1956 epic The Conqueror, starring John Wayne, certified American Hero, as... Genghis Khan. Believe it or not, that's the sanest part of the movie. At least John Wayne could ride a horse. The Tartar queen who steals Khan's heart is played by Susan Hayward, a pale Irish woman with bright red hair. Imagine Nicole Kidman trying to pass for Connie Chung, and you've pretty much got the idea. Khan's mother is played by Agnes Moorehead, who went on to play Samantha's mother on Bewitched. And Genghis Khan's "blood brother" is played by Pedro Armendariz, a Mexican heartthrob who doesn't look remotely related to John Wayne or the Mongols. Bizarre enough? We haven't even started. Ever try to cast an entire horde? It ain't easy, apparently. The producers couldn't quite come up with several hundred actual Mongolians to ride along as Khan's rampaging minions, so they hired... a bunch of American Indians. Who, translated through the magic of Hollywood, look exactly like... a bunch of American Indians. One of the most jarring moments in the entire film arrives about halfway through, when two actual Chinese guys appear briefly as extras. After a full hour of trying to convince yourself that John Wayne and this weird menagerie of Europeans, Mexicans, and American Indians are all from Mongolia, actual Asians look positively otherworldly. Hang on, this gets gets even better. Given the Cold War politics of 1956, everybody couldn't exactly fly to Mongolia to film the thing. Instead, they decided to substitute... Utah. Sure. Utah, Mongolia. Pretty much interchangeable. [image] Enamored with Utah's Snow Canyon area, director Dick Powell shot most of the film in the same exact chunk of the Utah desert. So if you watch closely, there are several spots where Wayne and Armendariz ride some great distance and wearily dismount... almost exactly where they started. And, since absolutely everything has to be wrong on a picture like this, the script aims for a weird neo-primitive Shakespeare vibe, giving John Wayne lines like: "I feel this Tartar wo-man is for me, and my blood says: take her!" and "She is wo-man -- MUCH wo-man!" and "Know this, wo-man! I take you for wife!" and so on. Let's sum up here: Imagine, if you will, the full effect of two hours of watching John Wayne and an Irish redhead doing caveman Shakespeare while trying to look vaguely Chinese, while a Mexican guy and Endora from Bewitched ride around in circles with a bunch of Indians in the middle of Utah, and somehow this is all supposed to represent a stirring epic on the life of Genghis Khan. Man, it's fantastic. Trust me. You've got to rent this thing sometime. It's a freakin' laugh riot. I pounded the table and cried in places. Honest. Incidentally, the film was financed by Howard Hughes, who most biographers don't mention was completely out of his mind. And even though the public laughed the film off the screen, Hughes thought The Conqueror was a masterpiece. Hughes wasted millions on this thing, then lost millions more promoting it, and then later spent even more millions buying up and hoarding every copy. As a result, the film wasn't seen again by the public for decades, although Hughes himself reportedly watched it in solitude literally hundreds of times. The Conqueror was such a colossal disaster that RKO never recovered. The Postman and Waterworld were bad, but Kevin Costner still hasn't wiped out an entire studio. Yet. ___________________________ So what does this all have to do with anything in the news? Stay with me here. The Conqueror was also a disaster in another, much more horrifying way. The town of St. George, where the cast and crew spent much of their time, and Snow Canyon, where most of The Conqueror was filmed, were about 100 miles downwind of the Nevada Test Site. That's where the U.S. government tested various atomic weapons. The government didn't bother to warn anybody about the fallout. So the cast and crew of The Conqueror spent three solid months immersed in contaminated air, food, and water. You can guess the result. Reviewing The Conqueror's credits, from the top: * John Wayne? Died of cancer. * Susan Hayward? Died of cancer. * Agnes Moorehead? Died of cancer. * Pedro Armendariz? Committed suicide while dying of cancer. * Dick Powell? Died of cancer. And so on. By 1980, when People magazine did a headcount, at least 91 members of the cast and crew had contracted cancer. People never found out how many of the Indian extras were afflicted. It's a brutal irony that John Wayne, the living embodiment of American uperpatriot militarism, may well have died as a casualty of the U.S. government's willingness to endanger its own people. ___________________________ It gets much worse. The Conqueror is just a footnote to the full story. he town of St. George, none of whose citizens were big Hollywood stars, suffered a similar fate. Uninformed of the danger, and exposed in their homes for years instead of months, the residents of St. George eventually contracted cancers in staggering numbers. The Conqueror's crew numbered in the dozens. St. George's population was in the thousands. You probably wouldn't recognize any of their names. They weren't the sort of bigshots you'd read about in People magazine. They were ordinary folks, just like you and me. And they were expendable. ___________________________ Fast forward 40 years... St. George is now a popular tourist gateway to Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks. A steady stream of tourists passes through the town, on their way to gorgeous scenery and carefree skiing. Utah's web page now refers to St. George as "Utah's Hot Spot." Nobody seems to catch the irony. Not only is The Conqueror forgotten; the only people who seem to remember the atomic cancer cluster are the descendants of the victims. The full death toll of American civilians from U.S. atomic weapons testing may never be known. ___________________________ OK, India and Pakistan have now tested some big big bangs, and everyone's worried about how their future nuclear stuff might visit all sorts of horror on their enemies. Which is scary, yeah. But how about we pay a little attention to what they've already done to some of their own people? India tested their nuclear weapons literally walking distance from several small villages where some of their own unsuspecting citizens live and work. And already hundreds of Indians are showing some of the classic symptoms of radiation poisoning. The Indian governnment says it's all perfectly safe, of course. Officials say the sick folks are just looking for a handout. Which doesn't explain why livestock is keeling over as well. Even if Pakistan and India avoid a hot war, innocent casualties of their conflict have already begun to mount. You wouldn't recognize the names of the villages, nor would you know the names of the people who live there. But they're ordinary folks. Expendable. ___________________________ If you or I knowingly, recklessly, and needlessly kill a single innocent person, we then stand guilty of manslaughter and deserving of contempt. Does it not follow, then, that if a government knowingly, recklessly, and needlessly kills an innocent person -- or indeed, hundreds of innocents: in fact, the very people said government is supposed to represent -- then this government stands equally guilty and contemptible? ___________________________ The danger of nuclear weapons lies not only in their detonation. It also lies in their testing, their maintenance, and their disposal -- indeed, in every phase of their very existence. Humankind will someday abolish nuclear weapons. Or vice versa. --------------------------------------------------------------- Bob Harris is a political humorist who has spoken at over 275 colleges nationwide. To subscribe to The Scoop by email, just send the word "subscribe" to :TheScoop@earthlink.net The latest edition of the Scoop can always be found at http://www.westsong.com/bobharris/ along with an archive of recent columns. The Scoop's back archives are maintained by Patrick Combs and The Good Thinking Company at http://www.goodthink.com/harris.html The Scoop is also available online in RealAudio at http://www.webactive.com/webactive/soapbox/monday.html Common Courage Press will soon begin publishing my Jeopardy! memorization tools for various subjects, along with essays linking the mnemonics into a coherent text. Imagine Chomskyish but funny Cliff's Notes you can actually remember, and you've got the idea. The first volume will be on American History, and if people like it, more will follow. Common Courage publishes some marvelous stuff. Check out their list at http://www.agate.net/~comcour/ The Scoop is also often carried in the following monthlies, which I vigorously endorse for the great articles written by everybody else: * The Humanist, http://www.infidels.org/org/aha/publications/humanist.html * The Progressive Populist, http://www.eden.com/~reporter/current.html * The Funny Times, http://www.funnytimes.com/ * OZ Magazine http://www.lbbs.org/zmag/ ______________________________________________________________ Keith Hammond Mother Jones magazine News Editor 731 Market Street, Suite 600 The MoJo Wire San Francisco, CA 94103 www.motherjones.com (415) 665-6637, fax -6696 ______________________________________________________________ "I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts." -- Will Rogers (1879-1935) "I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." -- Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) --------------------------------------------------------------- From a differant source: The rest of the story on this one remains to be told; That Hughes in his maddness realized that nothing could protect him from radiation from Nevada bomb tests, even the looney crap he did to protect him from germs. That Hughes felt personally responsible for all those deaths of the crew, and from that was born typical Hughes' action. After moving to Las Vegas in 1966 Hughes attempted to buy the State of Nevada and the White House in an effort to stop nuclear testing in Nevada, offering LBJ $1,000,000 if he would, and pouring out the bucks on Dick Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, and Paul Laxault. In fact it was money from Hughes for exactly that purpose that ended up being the infamous $100,000 in Beebe Robozo's safe that helped bring Nixon down. In fact during the time from 1966-1971 close to $20 million in Hughes money went pooff and disapeared in the Hughes-AEC battle. Much of it ended up in the pockets of politicans from EVERYBODY running for president in 1968, to a former Utah Governor, and a Salt Lake City Mayor. The man hired by the Hughes organization to run the Hughes ban the bomb tests in Washington, DC was none other than Larry O'Brien, and it was concern over how much he knew of the Hughes-Nixon nuke-tests bribes that lead to the witch hunt among Nixon's aides that sent the burglars into O'Brien's office, and the plumbers into trying to open the safe of Las Vegas Sun Publisher Hank Greenspun. Thus it is so fitting the memo flashed to Hughes from his cheif lawyer the night before Nixon resigned, "Nixon will resign at 12:00 EDT tomorrow to save both himself and his friends." Hughes money poured out of the cage of the Sands in non-discript $10 and $20 bills and into a wide variety of efforts to stop the bomb tests, including the Utah Peace and Freedom Party in 1968, WILPF and involved such well know figures as Barry Commoner and Linus Pauling, Funded covertly a march down Salt Lake City's State Street of over 1,200 carrying signs, "Ski Utah the Hottest Snow on Earth". And on and on! It was also this raging battle between Hughes and the AEC that gave birth to the downwinders'-fallout victim's movement in southwest Utah, and all of us orginal community activists who started it go back in one form, or another to those days, and that battle. Eventually we won! We got the media's attention locally, regionally, statewide, nationally, and finally internationally, AND ONE OF THE MOST EFFECTIVE MEDIA ACTIONS WE TOOK WAS TO LEAK THE STORY OF POOR JOHN WAYNE AND THAT DAMNED MOVIE TO A BRITISH TABLOID JOURNALISTS AND STOOD BACK AND WATCHED THE MEDIA FREAK SHOW, KNOWING THEY MAY NOT GIVE A **** ABOUT THOSE OF US WHO LIVED AROUND SNOW CANYON, BUT THEY'D HOLD THE PRESSES FOR GOOD OLD JOHN WAYNE. AND WHEN THEY DID WE WERE THERE WAITING TO LINE UP THE SURVIVORS FOR PEOPLE MAG, LIFE, AND THE MORNING TV SHOWS, AND THE HUNDRED OR SO OTHERS, TO HIT THE TV TALK SHOWS, AND TO DEMAND CONGRESSIONAL ACTION. Trouble is the real rest of the story behind this is that it wasn't just Snow Canyon, St. George, or John Wayne, as the National Cancer Institute fallout report forced out last summer and fall clearly shows, it was all 160 million Americans living during those "hot years". Those 160 million American's all got just about the same fallout levels as did we folks in St. George, AND JUST AS MUCH AS DID GOOD OLD JOHN WAYNE! AND WHAT HAPPENED TO JOHN WAYNE AND WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PEOPLE IN ST GEORGE HAPPENED, AND STILL IS HAPPENING ALL ACROSS THIS COUNTRY. The NCI fallout report was only concerned with ONE radioactive isotope produced by the bomb tests -- Iodine 131. There were 359 others, and many of them were far more deadly than Iodine- 131, and unlike the thyroid cancers the Iodine caused, the ones they did were not 95% treatable, and survivable. The NCI report said the Iodine alone caused 75,000 cases of thyroid cancer nationwide. Add the toll from the other 359 not discussed, AND THE TOTAL NUMBER OF AMERICAN DEAD, INCLUDING JOHN WAYNE, WOULD REACH INTO THE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS AT THE LEAST AND INTO THE MILLIONS MOST LIKELY. People should rent that movie, should watch it, and should quickly learn to understand the full meaning behind it, and the tragedy of it all for not only John Wayne, or the people in St. George, but for themselves where ever they live, and for this nation as a whole. Absent such an understanding, we have no hope of ever surviving the endless nuclear crisies of which India and Pakistan are todays current chapter. Because only the truth of how many of our own we have already killed will ever make us free of the nuclear testing demon!
  2. Set in rural Kansas, "Splendor in the Grass" tells the tragically romantic tale of teenagers Deanie and Bud who repress their desires because of their families' disapproval. Coming from radically different backgrounds -- one wealthy, the other staunchly puritanical -- they allow class differences to prevent any possible union. Their passions exist purely in their hearts and minds, but the couple never physically or socially express this forbidden love. Later in life, Deanie is institutionalized following a breakdown, and she eventually returns home to resolve her feelings about Bud.
  3. could this be it? A PREVIEW OF "SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS" Currently, there are not enough Tomatometer critic reviews for Splendor in the Grass to receive a rating. Please check out a preview of the film below: Cast: Natalie Wood, Warren Beatty, Audrey Christie, Pat Hingle, Barbara Loden Director: Elia Kazan more cast & crew... Synopsis: Set in rural Kansas, "Splendor in the Grass" tells the tragically romantic tale of teenagers Deanie and Bud who repress their desires because of their families' disapproval... http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/SplendorintheGrass-1019645/preview.php
  4. "By the way she drove her husband John (John Barrymore look-a-like) crazy with her antics." i should be so lucky:-)
  5. tulluah bankhead was the hottest person of her day, way ahead of her time, she gets my vote......i would have loved to have married such a woman.
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