Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Thursday, September 29, 2016

"Gone is the hour ...."

I woke up this morning with a line from Wordsworth in my head. A line I couldn't quite remember. It's from his famous poem "Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood" (link to poem), originally published in 1807 (but finished in 1804, when the poet was in his mid-thirties).

The line is perhaps the most recognizable one in the "Ode"--the one about "gone is the hour ... glory in the flower." I've got an ellipsis there because this morning, when I first woke up, I could not recall the part that came before the "flower" business. I whirled the line around in my head for a bit--angry at myself for forgetting (not all that different from forgetting "To be or ... ? what? ....")--but then, perhaps fearing my rage, the phrase returned: "Though nothing can bring back the hour / Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower."

Got it!

I have no idea why I was thinking of that as Morpheus began to release his grip this morning, but I was. And almost immediately thereafter I remembered a movie from boyhood--Splendor in the Grass--a film which I remember as somewhat "naughty," as one I think I had to convince my parents to let me see when it came to the Hiram College Cinema. I would have bet a lot in this morning's wee hours that the film had starred Troy Donahue, one of the young men the Cinema Kings were trying to find to replace poor James Dean (1931-1955), who'd died in a car crash, putting many American youth into a period of protracted mourning, including a girl who lived near us in Hiram. Her room was a shrine to Dean.

Anyway, I just now checked the film on IMDB, and it was not Donahue; it was the young Warren Beatty! And it was his first screen appearance.

But there were more significant surprises. It was directed by the legendary Elia Kazan (On the Waterfront, etc.)--with a screenplay by William Inge, American novelist and playwright (PicnicBus Stop; Come Back, Little Sheba, etc.). That's fairly ... heavy.

Also in the cast: Natalie Wood, Phyllis Diller, Sandy Dennis.

I see that the film was released in early October 1961--my senior year at high school. The film would not have made its way to Hiram until some months afterward (can you imagine?!), so my memory of working my parents for permission is doubtless a false one.

I remembered nothing about the plot. But here's what's posted on IMDB:

It's 1928 in oil rich southeast Kansas. High school seniors Bud Stamper and Deanie Loomis are in love with each other. Bud, the popular football captain, and Deanie, the sensitive soul, are "good" kids who have only gone as far as kissing. Unspoken to each other, they expect to get married to each other one day. But both face pressures within the relationship, Bud who has the urges to go farther despite knowing in his heart that if they do that Deanie will end up with a reputation like his own sister, Ginny Stamper, known as the loose, immoral party girl, and Deanie who will do anything to hold onto Bud regardless of the consequences. They also face pressures from their parents who have their own expectation for their offspring. Bud's overbearing father, Ace Stamper, the local oil baron, does not believe Bud can do wrong and expects him to go to Yale after graduation, which does not fit within Bud's own expectations for himself. And the money and image conscious Mrs. Loomis just wants Deanie to get married as soon as possible to Bud so that Deanie will have a prosperous life in a rich family. When Bud makes a unilateral decision under these pressures, it leads to a path which affects both his and Deanie's future.

I couldn't have told you a thing about the plot--other than a vague memory about its having something to do with randy teens (a kind of redundancy, wouldn't you say?).

There was a made-for-TV remake of the film in 1981 with some notable names like Melissa Gilbert, Ned Beatty, Eva Marie Saint, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Ally Sheedy. I don't think I'll look for that one, but I am going to look on Netflix right now and see if I can order the original ... [PAUSE WHILE I LOOK] ... Yep! Just found it and moved it to the top of my DVD queue.

So ... to be continued when it arrives ... and when I've watched it ...

PS--There's an adult film, too, from 2002: Splendor in the Ass, which, believe me, I have not ordered!

No comments:

Post a Comment