Thursday, June 28, 2012

Monday, June 4, 2012

Guest Post | Will Oldham

The first time or two that I flew as a passenger in a small propeller-driven plane, I was very scared. The plane seemed too light and flimsy, and it’s sensitivity to the idiosyncrasies of the air through which it passed only increased my awareness of what an unlikely phenomenon (powered flight) I was apparently experiencing. Then some film buffs got together and restored Frank Capra’s 'Lost Horizon' for theatrical re-release.

The movie played at my local, The Vogue Theater (which has been almost completely torn down and replaced with new shops, keeping the old marquee). In this movie, the characters fly on a small propeller-drive plane through the Himalayas. They crash, get lost, and ultimately find themselves in Shangri-La. Since I saw that movie, I have cherished flying in those planes, in hopes that one day…

Last year I got around to reading Frank Capra’s autobiography. At one point in the book, he explains how he persuaded Ronald Colman and Colman’s wife that marital rape might be the best way to overcome the fertility issues they were experiencing. It’s a wonderful life.

The book also turned me on to Capra movies I had never seen before, including the film from which this clip is extracted. Like Michael Tully’s 'Septien', this movie has these scenes that thrill due to that fact that we get to SEE the actor-characters DO the things they are supposed to be doing. Meaning: Bing Crosby and co. are singing and performing and having a good time, REALLY.

When I first got interested in acting, it was because I thought that an actor had a short-cut to the wildest and best that life had to offer. I thought that Michael York got to BE Tybalt, or a musketeer. It took me a long time to realize that actors act, 99.9999% of the time, and that all of our heaviest and best experiences will ultimately be congruent to the experiences of others, and not identical. In the end, acting is often pretending to do something awesome, where singing is actually getting the awesomeness done.

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Will Oldham will be writing from Louisville every Wednesday about loved and significant music.