Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Oh, THAT explains it.

It turns out that today's snow in Buffalo is a time-delayed gift from His Swankiness. Thanks. Tons.

(BTW, in keeping with his "Swank" theme and his general fascination with Asian stuff, I've considered paying homage to The Mikado (my favorite Gilbert & Sullivan operetta) and dubbing Mr. Harris "Swanki-poo". Somehow, I don't think he'd totally appreciate that....)

Speaking of Mr. Harris, today he quotes in its entirety one of the great film monologues of all time, Quint's account of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis from Jaws. I've long thought that this may be the moment in the film that elevates it into greatness. Also, it was this scene, more than any other in any film, that drove home to me the evils of the "pan-and-scan" formatting for televisions. I saw the film many times on VHS and whenever TBS aired it, and this scene always kept Robert Shaw in tight close-up during the monologue. Little did I know that, in Steven Spielberg's original framing of the scene, Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) is off to one side, listening with a haunted expression in his eyes.

Regarding the Indianapolis, I once saw a TV documentary about it -- I don't recall if it was a National Geographic special or what -- that interviewed some of the survivors. As Greg notes, it was a far more horrific ordeal than the Jaws monologue conveys. The bit that's stayed with me is how one of these men described how a friend of his finally succumbed to dementia and announced that he was going to dive down to the fresh water beneath the salt water on top of the ocean and have a drink. Down he went, and that was the last anyone saw of him.

Anyway, they delivered the bomb.

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