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Kirk Douglas Passes at 103

Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight,
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album).
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers
Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.

Eliot Quartets – East Coker

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Bernie February 6, 2020, 8:43 AM

    What a lovely remembrance.

  • ghostsniper February 6, 2020, 9:55 AM

    “Strangers When We Meet”

  • BillH February 6, 2020, 9:57 AM

    Sounds like some of my geriatric dreams of late. Don’t think dementia’s setting in, believe I’m just more relaxed mentally than when I was a kid of 70 or 80.

  • Auntie Analogue February 6, 2020, 11:40 AM

    On hearing of Kirk Douglas’s death my mind conjured the very image of his portrayal of Einar in The Vikings.

    My mind raced to that portrayal because I saw that film at the age at which I’d begun to recognize actors, the age at which I was first able to put names to actors’ faces. Douglas’s work in that movie was seared into my young brain perhaps because of the scene in which a falcon’s beak gouges out one of Einar’s eyes – for the remainder of the film’s narrative Douglas wore a contact lens representing a disturbingly veined, eyeball-less milky white remnant of that eye: to my child mind that felt hauntingly eerie.

    Filming was done in 1957 when Douglas was age forty-one. Yet his performance is remarkably athletic, especially in the homecoming sequence in which he prances from the extended horizontal shafts of one and another, and another, and another of a Viking long ship’s oars.

    He’s gone now, yet I can still hum that film score’s title theme. If Golden Age Hollywood has a celluloid Valhalla, then Douglas has attained his place in its frames; and it’s rather easy, and quite some fun, to imagine him there dueling merrily, just for jollies, with Errol Flynn, Tony Curtis, Charles McGraw, Basil Rathbone, Charlton Heston, Burt Lancaster, and Douglas Fairbanks Senior and Junior.

  • Uncle Mikey February 6, 2020, 12:51 PM

    That movie has my favorite line: “Yonda is my faddah’s castle”

  • Andrew X February 6, 2020, 1:14 PM

    Remember ‘Gone With the Wind’? (You’ll have to go by memory since I am sure no one will ever show it again, courtesy of “woke” scum.)

    Clark Gable, immortal in the film, put passed from us…. when Eisenhower was still President.
    The vibrant Vivian Leigh, such a passionate role as Scarlett, lost to us while Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King still walked tall among us.

    And the great Olivia deHaviland, as Melanie Wilkes, playing a young wife and mother, in 1939. Her screen husband was in reality killed by Hitler’s Luftwaffe. Olivia deHaviland…

    Still alive. Still….. alive.

    In Donald Trump’s re-election year of 2020. Can’t get over that.

  • Anonymous February 6, 2020, 1:38 PM

    The Vikings was one of the earliest movies that I remember seeing by myself. My mom gave me and my brother $1 each. We rode the bus by ourselves downtown, saw that movie, had popcorn and a coke and rode the buss home. Big time stuff for a pair of kids and no parent in their right mind would, or could, do that now.

    My most remembered line was one that Kitala (Eileen Way) spoke, in prayer to Odin when Tony Curtis’ character had been staked out for growing and the crabs:

    “Oooodiiin….send ‘de winds and turn de tide…..”

    I saw that movie when I was 8 and I’ve always love it; that line too.

  • John the River February 6, 2020, 2:53 PM

    Uncle Mikey… right era, wrong actor (Tony Curtis), and wrong movie (Black Shield of Farnsworth).

    Ernie Borgnine who played Kurt and Tony’s father was actually a year younger than Kurt.

    Up in the Boston market, in the sixties the theme music from The Vikings was used for years as the theme for the local movie show, “The Great Entertainment.” Which was where I first saw that movie.
    Got the DVD upstairs in the library, think I’ll screen it tonight. By Ragnar’s Beard!!

  • Casey Klahn February 6, 2020, 4:13 PM

    Somehow I missed the vikings mov. I will put it on my list.

    Auntie has the best comment. Kudos.

    I loved KD as van Gogh, of course. He acted the hell out of that movie and idk what actor beat him for the Oscar but it was, anyway, a great performance. I also loved Douglas in In Harm’s Way, 1965. He was tough, flawed, and heroic. I think a good portrayal of a Hollywood great such as he.

    Doffs his hat…

  • captflee February 6, 2020, 4:28 PM

    Auntie, Andrew X,

    I proudly join the list of those whose early lives were affected by that particular Vikings flick. I believe I was 4, and saw it at a drive-in. I have damned few memories previous to that, so there’s apparently something there that resonated deeply. I won’t say that the cinematic theme was not in my head on a few occasions, steaming through the Norwegian fjords as a young man.

    Regarding GWTW, that boon and curse to we children of Dixie, undefeated and still reigning champeen of the movie gross receipts ring; should a Carrington Event or NORK EMP blast wipe clean every dvd, vhs tape, or hard drive while setting afire every copy of book or film, there are surely thousands of women (and not a few men, though more of those gay than straight) throughout the world who can recite, if not act, the whole four hours, line for line, word perfect. I have been married to one for better than three decades, and I dated a couple of others before her, one about as far as one can get from here and not have departed the blue marble. So, at least when the few us in the surviving remnant are gathered about the low fire, dining on roadkill and rice-a-roni, there will be bards to sing us our ancient songs.

  • james wilson February 7, 2020, 11:13 AM

    Great Douglas story from Dana Care

  • No Jack london February 7, 2020, 4:54 PM

    Ned Land in 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and Midge Kelly in The Champion.