Category Archive 'Never Yet Melted'

26 May 2009

Taken (2008)

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In reviewing the recent Liam Neeson film Taken on the occasion of its DVD release, Big Hollywood’s Leo Grin invokes approvingly a quotation from D.H. Lawrence that seems a little familiar somehow.

    He is a man with a gun. He is a killer, a slayer. Patient and gentle as he is, he is a slayer. Self-effacing, self-forgetting, still he is a killer. . . All the other stuff, the love, the democracy, the floundering into lust, is a sort of by-play. The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted. — D. H. Lawrence, Studies in Classic American Literature (1923)

Every once in awhile an action film comes along that revives. That proves that — no matter how strong the political correctness of an age, no matter how pale and pathetic its notions of masculinity, no matter how much Ritalin is force-fed to little boys, no matter how many toy guns, xylophone mallets, and Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots get banned from stores and playgrounds — there are certain aspects of the male soul that are inviolate, and certain primal yearnings that are evergreen. Taken (2008) is one of those films, and its release last week on DVD and Blu-ray should be heralded by lovers of all things red-blooded, hairy-chested, and morally sound.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

03 Feb 2008

Wall Street Journal Book Reviewer Cites Well-Known Quotation

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Friday Book Review by Geoffrey Norman:

Blackway, the villain in “Go With Me,” Castle Freeman Jr.’s short novel, is a creature of the cut-over, used-up back-country of Vermont, where people once logged timber and now clip coupons. He is the product of a culture of easy violence, a man to be feared.

When he stalks a young woman and kills her cat, she logically asks for help from the local sheriff. And the sheriff logically sends her to see the boys down at the mill. It used to make furniture, but now “they made a better Windsor chair in North Carolina, in Taiwan, than they did in Vermont.” The boys at the mill don’t run lathes anymore; they drink beer and talk. When Lillian shows up asking for help, they team her up with Lester and Nate. The three set off on a quest to find Blackway and deal with him.

There is a clear moral arc to this storyline, and suspense too. But “Go With Me” is also a literary novel, with echoes of “Deliverance” and Cormac McCarthy. The primitive at the heart of the book is a staple of American fiction. He can be noble like Natty Bumppo or downright evil, like Faulkner’s Popeye. His symbolic function was summed up by D.H. Lawrence:” The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.

18 Jan 2008

Never Yet Melted video

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M. Dominique Poirier, a regular reader from France, has produced a 7:31 video tribute to Never Yet Melted. D.H. Lawrence must be spinning in his modernist grave.

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