Mountains of the Moon

I worked a bit to get the materials for my next lecture before returning home and watching the DVD of Bob Rafelson’s “Mountains of the Moon.” It had actors that I didn’t recognize or remember, except for the one guy who was in “Withnail and I.” Patrick Bergin was Richard Burton, and he reminded me of Kevin Kline at times. Iain Glen was John Speke, and he reminded me of David Bowie. The story took place in the 1850s and was about the search for the source of the Nile River. With all the hardships they went through, the expedition made me realize why I am not one for going out hiking and camping. One scene made me feel afraid to fall asleep for fear that some bug would crawl into my ear. I flashed back to one of the frightening episodes of Night Gallery. With all the men deserting them and stealing their supplies, it was a miracle that they did anything at all. It would seem that they could have planning the whole trip differently, but who would go with them to do this impossible task. I thought about the beginning of “A Walk in the Woods,” and all the people who refused to hike with Bill Bryson. The look of this story was that this was a manly task. There were women, wild animals, weapons, punishing physical tasks, and negotiations with tribes to pass through areas. I had to think about how much pain, thirst, hunger, and discouragement a person could endure, and why two British men decided to go through it all. One of the scenes that stayed in my mind was the encounter with the lions. I thought about how I would handle such a situation. It’s not too far-fetched that it could happen to me, with the animals in the hills sometimes wandering onto city streets. I also thought that encounter with that last tribe was meaningful. It took me back to other movies like “Jeremiah Johnson.” I would hate for my fate to be dependent upon people who are unpredictable. Speke was supposed to go out with a thermometer and determine the altitude with boiling water. I thought about how the world has changed with satellite photography and all, and how maybe these two men shouldn’t have risked their lives for some discovery. After the adventure and intensity of the African sequences, the pace of the movie slowed down in the return to England. We really didn’t want to watch competition and debates after watching that journey. It’s funny how the return trip wasn’t shown. I really felt for Spekes in his last scene. The person who is unable to win an argument isn’t necessarily wrong. I kept wondering what Bob Rafelson was doing during the years from “Five Easy Pieces” until “Mountains of the Moon.” I thought the story may have reflected how hard it was to get movies made. I did get the impression that “Mountains of the Moon” must have been very difficult to make. I think that I would have suffered in the mere travel to some of these locations. When Burton gets the pain in his foot, I could identify with that. I imagined how difficult this trip would be if one of the key people is unable to move. A recent movie that showed this was “The Revenant.” The movie for some reason didn’t look good on this DVD, and it should be redone for Blu-ray one of these days. I thought I was watching one of those 1960s epics on the old family television set through most of the movie. “Mountains of the Moon” wasn’t a masterpiece, but it was interesting and something that you could watch on a Saturday afternoon. Looking over Rafelson’s credits, I have never seen “Say Hungry,” “The Postman Always Rings Twice,” “Man Trouble,” “Blood and Wine,” or “No Good Deed.” Rafelson is 82 years old now. “Rosemary’s Baby” was on television, and I watched the end of it. I recognized a voice on the phone as Tony Curtis. I had forgotten that Charles Grodin was in the cast. I think that I would have spit in John Cassavetes’ face, too, after what he did. The chilling thing was that we never see the baby’s face. I wondered how the baby was affected by Rosemary’s not taking those pills. I don’t know if I could imagine what would have happened if the result of the pregnancy was Rosemary’s Twins or Rosemary’s Triplets. I think that if she had a daughter, the continuation of the story could have been interesting. Would Tuesday Weld have been a good Rosemary? I think so, although I couldn’t see Robert Redford in the role of Guy. Somehow, both Tuesday Weld and Robert Redford wouldn’t have made for a good combination. I could see Jack Nicholson as Guy, although he would have been too talented an actor to need any help. I read Roger Ebert’s original review of “Rosemary’s Baby” from July 29, 1968. He gave it four stars and praised Mia Farrow and Ruth Gordon. I have been fascinated with this movie for many years. I don’t know what Rosemary could have done. Perhaps she should have used that knife. I think that Rosemary was the wrong choice if you consider all the women in the world. When I checked my messages this morning, it seemed that my Super Bowl plans were coming together. I imagine a lot of people from Charlotte and Denver intend to visit the Bay Area next week, and I hope the rain stays away for those days. Some of the people who died on January 28 include Fyodor Dostoevsky (1881), William Butler Yeats (1939), John Banner (1973), Jerry Siegel (1996), and Astrid Lindgren (2002). Today is a birthday for Sarah McLachlan (48) and Alan Alda (80). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for January 28, Danny DeVito married Rhea Perlman in 1982. In 1985, David Lee Roth’s “Crazy From the Heat” was released. In 2006, Clint Eastwood received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Directors Guild of America.

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