Saturday, February 21, 2015

the last book I ever read (David Foster Wallace's A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, excerpt nine)

from A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments by David Foster Wallace:

Wild at Heart, starring Laura Dern as Lula and Nicolas Cage as Sailor, also features Diane Ladd as Lula’s mother. The actress Diane Ladd happens to be the actress Laura Dern’s real mother. Wild at Heart itself, for all its heavy references to The Wizard of Oz, is actually a pomo-ish remake of Sidney Lumet’s 1959 The Fugitive Kind, which starred Anna Magnani and Marlon Brando. The fact that Cage’s performance in Wild at Heart strongly suggests either Brando doing an Elvis imitation or vice versa is not a accident, nor is the fact that both Wild at Heart and The Fugitive Kind use fire as a key image, nor is the fact that Sailor’s beloved snakeskin jacket—“a symbol of my belief in freedom and individual choice”—is just like the snakeskin jacket Brando wore in The Fugitive Kind. The Fugitive Kind happens to be the film version of Tennessee Williams’s little-known Orpheus Descending, a play which in 1960, enjoying a new vogue in the wake of Lumet’s film adaptation, ran Off-Broadway in NYC and featured Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd, Laura Dern’s parents, who met and married while starring in this play.

The extent to which David Lynch could expect a regular civilian viewer of Wild at Heart to know about any of these textual and organic connections is: 0; the extent to which he cares whether anybody got it or not is apparently: also 0.

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