“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”
During the year that I shared an apartment in State College, PA, with David and Walter (Sep. 1971 – Sep. 1972), I formed an unlikely friendship with Steve Crosby, who lived only a couple blocks away in Mrs. Bell’s basement. (More on Mrs. Bell in a later post.)
I say “unlikely” as Steve was a true believer in astrology (“It seems to work,” he would say), and I consider astrology to be one of the most asinine of human beliefs. It’s a shame I didn’t know then what I know now, as I would have been more able to marshal logical arguments against it. Oh, well.
Other than astrology, though, Steve was pretty intelligent in most other–
Oh, hell, no, he believed in a lot of truly crazy things. One of the silliest involved rubbing olive oil (or something) on the back of his head in order to stimulate the growth of a third eye.
Yes, he had some pretty whacko beliefs, but on more rational topics, he could be very smart, or at least I thought so at the time.
By the way, a year or so before I knew him, Steve had been in Primal Scream Therapy sessions under the direction of Arthur Janov, which is where he met John Lennon and Yoko Ono. The only thing I recall him mentioning about those sessions was how good Yoko was at screaming. Apparently she could really let ‘er rip.
But I digress.
Every once in a while Steve would call up to see if I wanted to go to a movie, and I ended up seeing at least five movies (that I can recall) that I probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
The opening line of the novel and of the movie is quoted above. The story revolves around Leo, who as an old man recalls the summer he spent as a young boy of 13 in 1900 at an aristocratic family’s estate. There he was befriended by the daughter Marian, several years older than he was, and he began to pass secret messages between her and a tenant farmer, not fully understanding what was going on as he was quite naïve on the subject of sex. So it’s partly a coming of age story along with its commentary on class.
It’s a wonderful movie, as I confirmed by a recent re-viewing of the blu-ray. It stars Julie Christie as Marian, Alan Bates as the tenant farmer Ted, and Dominic Guard as the young Leo.
I recall that Steve had trouble with the ending (although with the benefit of hindsight, I think he misinterpreted it), but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
And it has a lovely score with a prominent piano part by Michel Legrand.
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