Chess, humour and Art
“There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the infinite passion of life. ”– Federico Fellini
The Man Who Watched Trains Go By: Kees Popinga is the scrupulously honest chief clerk for a Dutch trading company. Popinga goes off the deep end when he discovers that his employer has been cooking the books to support a mistress. Upon learning that his boss intends to abscond from Brussels to Paris with company funds, Popinga prevents this from happening by stealing the money himself. Through a series of wild coincidences, he winds up entangled with the very woman who has caused his boss’ downfall. (Wiki) The US title for the film is The Paris Express.
First published in 1938 by Georges Simenon, The Man Who Watched Trains Go By was made into a film in 1952. As a curiosity, Simenon was a prolific Belgium writer who published almost 500 books and short stories! More than half a billion copies of his works have been sold. He was awarded by the Mystery Writers of America the coveted Grandmaster Award in 1966. Previous winners included Agatha Christie and Hitchcock.
Georges Simenon at his château Fontenay-le-Comte. By Gaston Paris, 1942
Anyway, I digress! Today’s theme is chess in cinema (ofcourse) but with a twist: what women can make to do or become!
The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927)
A silent film by Hitchcock! When a landlady (Marie Ault) and her husband (Arthur Chesney) take in a new lodger (Ivor Novello), they’re overjoyed: He’s quiet, humble and pays a month’s rent in advance. But his mysterious and suspicious behavior soon has them wondering if he’s the killer terrorizing local blond girls…This film is considered to be where Hitchcock found his niche: death and fetish.
I love the chess scenes…so earthy. Almost makes an honest man of Novello, and quite erotic considering when this was filmed. Do you think Hitchcock had any trouble with the censors?
Nabakov’s scorching novel made it to the screen and Kubrick’s mastery guaranteed that it would be a box-office success. There have been various screen-versions of this novel, but the 1962 version is my favourite. James Mason is fantastic!
Anyway, the chess scene is short, but naughty. Certainly enough to get you to want to see the rest of the film! The mother seems to be completely oblivious to the what the nympo-daughter is up to. Kubrick managed to always include a chess scene in his masterpieces, as I show at the end of today’s blog.
“Cinema is the ultimate pervert art. It doesn’t give you what you desire – it tells you how to desire.” –Slavoi Zizek