Randomness & Purpose

Infrared view of officers gathered on the deck of the USS Lexington, November 1943 — Edward Steichen

Randomness & Purpose

For me finding anything has always been a dual exercise in randomness and purpose via association.

Consider Robert Montgomery’s 1960 film The Gallant Hours with James Cagney and Dennis Weaver. This is a movie in stark contrasty black and white that feels like a documentary. It is a war film (it follows the career of Admiral Halsey) without any action sequences. It could have been easily converted into a theatrical play.

I saw it by pure luck as I turned on my TV in my Silver Screen channel. There it was. That is the beauty of randomness. But then association set in. The look of the film reminded me of Edward Steichen’s b+w infrared photographs that he took as director of photography for the US Navy in the Pacific theatre. Was Director Montgomery aware of Steichen’s photographs? Or could it have been that cinematographer Joseph MacDonald was influenced by the light of his native Mexico?

Robert Montgomery, Admiral Halsey & James Cagney

On the purpose side of things whenever I see a very good film I instantly go to Google and place the name of the film followed by NY Times. In this case what comes up is wonderful as the reviewer in question was man of style with the improbable name of Bosley Crowther. Here is his review.

And for more on Crowther here is the Wikipedia citation.

Still from Gallant Hours
James Cagney in Gallant Hours
Paris in Infrared — Photogaph — Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

Link to: Randomness & Purpose

Originally published at blog.alexwaterhousehayward.com.