The Colgate Scene
September 1999
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Reviews

Peckinpah: A Portrait in Montage
By Garner Simmons '65, Limelight Editions, New York, 1998. 266 pp.

Garner Simmons' 1982 portrait of filmmaker Sam Peckinpah has been released in paperback, a handsome reminder of the biography and movie study's ability to capture a personality and fascinate.

     Simmons provides an unflinching portrait of the director whose stylized film violence may have overshadowed his creative brilliance. Peckinpah, with all his flaws and barbed wire honesty, is an intriguing character and Simmons sketches the man as seen.

     A movie-by-movie examination of Peckinpah's work is illuminating, giving Major Dundee, Ride the High Country and The Wild Bunch the kind of scholarly attention they deserve while also providing the behind-the- scenes tales that enrich any telling.

     Peckinpah is a terrific read and an ideal companion for viewing some arresting films.


sOME KINDa LIfe
By William "Borek" Grotevant '73, Multicopy s.r.l., San Juan, Argentina, 1998. 57 pp.

"Borek" Grotevant's first book of "pomes" is inspired largely by the people and places in his myriad travels around the planet, though currently he is anchored in Sandwich, Massachusetts.

     Grotevant's passion is ecology -- human, social, environmental and universal.

     It was clear to him, early on, as a psychology student, that context and environment played a critical role in the quality of life we all experienced. Reflected in these "snapshots" are just some of the elemental fragments that have "hit home" and become lodged in the ecology of his mind's eye. He welcomes the synergy of imagery with his readers.

From the dust jacket.

Fast Eddie: A novel in many voices
By Robert L. O'Connell '66, William Morrow & Company, New York, 1999. 271 pp.

by George Hudson

Many of us remember Edward Vernon Rickenbacker (1890-1973) as the smiling avuncular figurehead, president and, later, chairman of the board at Eastern Airlines -- the beloved "Captain Eddie." If that is your impression, Robert O' Connell's Fast Eddie will prove iconoclastic.

     O'Connell's Rickenbacker is an arrogant fighting cock balanced between death and desire. His character seems fashioned on the model of Marlowe's Tamburlaine, with a callous Fast Eddie as "the blunt instrument of the Lord of Hosts." Twenty-six dead German airmen who were his victims cry out, "Why hast Thou forsaken us?" The answer comes: "Because I felt like it. Besides, I like him better than any of you."

     Many of O'Connell's voices are engaging. We hear of Rickenbacker's sexual prowess from, among others, Amelia Earhart and Mae West. That latter cables W.C. Fields: "Ricken-backer: Hydraulics as advertised; screw loose in brain department."

     O'Connell's voices speak as if interviewed from beyond the grave. We hear the familiar accents of Damon Runyan and the slow drawl of Fields. Barney Oldfield and Fred Duesenberg watch Eddie speed across the landscape. Billy Mitchell and Baron von Richofen discuss his war in the air. Some of the constructed voices are problematic. Elizabeth Rickenbacher's thick German accent is meant to remind us of Eddie's German background, but it is heavy-handed. Some may find the voice of God which speaks throughout the novel a little disconcerting: "Go, Eddie, go. Go. Eddie, go."


Flying is among Professor of English George Hudson's many hobbies.
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