Lord Jim (1965) Written, produced, and directed by Richard Brooks, this Technicolor adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s famous novel stars Peter O’Toole as the young officer whose cowardice leads to disgrace., only to redeem himself later on. The cast features outstanding performances by Curt Jurgens as the alcoholic Cornelius, Eli Wallach as the ruthless dictator, and James Mason as the assassin ‘Gentleman’ Brown. Daliah Lavi debuts as the revolutionary girl.
“In any case, no Latin temperament would have perceived anything morbid in the acute consciousness of lost honor.” – Joseph Conrad, PREFACE to LORD JIM.
Brooding Turner could not have tailored
The turbulent disquiet of the Malaysian sea
More readily than a disgruntled Polish officer
Thumbing through an English dictionary.
Knock the wedges loose and swing
Out onto a lifeboat, abandoning
800 Muslims pilgrims praying
Aboard the Patna, fear stinging
That man who was one of us, Byronic
Romantic idealist without irony,
Guilt-driven by dishonor, neurotic
To prove himself in adversity.
Fog shape-shifting identity, Jim passes by.
Patusan in the Indonesian archipelago
Provides him heaven and a second try —
Tuan Jim shows the natives how to overthrow
Their oppressors, a mercenary government.
“You are white clean through,” Gentleman Brown
In a black bowler passes judgment,
Wondering what Jim’s hiding from.
How quaint, this Victorian question of honor —
Coward and hero, two sides of the same coin.
Military strategy allows this unknowable cipher
To slaughter thousands and attain a name
In history where there is no certainty,
Just a fog of insubstantial identities.
“Not only is the sea such a foe to man who is an alien to it, but it is also a fiend to its own offspring—worse than the Persian host who murdered his own guests; sparing not the creatures which itself hath spawned. Like a savage tigress that tossing in the jungle overlays her own cubs, so the sea dashes even the mightiest whales against the rocks and leaves them there side by side with the split wrecks of ships. No mercy, no power but its own controls it. Panting and snorting like a mad battle steed that has lost its rider, the masterless ocean overruns the globe.” – Herman Melville
JOSEPH CONRAD writing about THE TITANIC:
[Disposable Poem July 13, 2016]