July 22, 2007

Artists and Authority

Is it true that artists are constitutionally hostile to authority? I just came across A Fine Madness (1966; 104 minutes) quite by accident, which makes the case. A young Sean Connery is poet Samson Shillito, who just can't abide employment, police, lawyers, responsibility, sobriety, ex-wives, psychiatrists, etc. He has a soft spot for Joanne Woodward though -- she's a waitress, who is Samson's meal ticket, manager and loyal protector. Unfortunately, but with the best of intentions, she hooks him up with a shrink specializing in creative types. Things seem to be working OK 'til Samson seduces the shrink's wife, played by Jean Seberg. (What a wrenching, tragic irony that Seberg in real life was pilloried and driven to despair by FBI dirty tricks in retaliation for her anti-authoritarian political views; she died by probable suicide in 1979). Anyway, when the Doc finds out, a lobotomy is scheduled. Oh yeah -- this is a comedy. I won't ruin the ending for you.

p.s. You can see an actual copy of an FBI planning memo that describes one particularly loathsome plot to defame and embarrass Seberg at this link (click on politics). The memo says: "Seberg has been a financial supporter of the BPP (Black Panther Party) and should be neutralized." Note that the memo comes from the FBI's 'Racial Intelligence Unit.'


mike c said...

Get me a job!

mike c said...

get me a job w/ the FBI

I can think of some people to neutralized with slander

can I have a job?

Rex Weil said...

mike, if I hear of any jobs neutralizing gorgeous movie stars, I'll let you know. You can count on me for a reference. in the meantime, i'm glad this blog is proving useful in stimulating ambitious, talented young photographers to think outside the box about career choices.

rob parrish said...

Hi Rex,

I was just recently looking at the new DVD release of Breathless. There is a very interesting doc on Ms.Seberg included. Tragic indeed.

It's always great to see Breathless again!