r I Install aluminum OS stops at the top and bottom to fit smugly against glass closed position. KATHERINE ANNE POlitEirS ‘NOON WINE’ end as it did because “There is -110thing in any of these beings tough enough to work the miracle of redemption in them.” KATHERINE ANNE PORTER is undoubtedly one of the major American writers. Technically she is superb; she has complete control of her material, and her style, although delicate, is that of a somewhat more masculine Henry James. One hopes that her “Yale Review” article, ” ‘Noon Wine’: The Sources,” will appear as a preface to the novelette in its next edition. GEORGE HENDRICK \(Mr. Hendrick, formerly a t Southwest Texas in San Marcos, is now in the English Department at the University of Colorado. Harris Green American movies are cur, rently monopolizing the soi disant “art houses” throughout the state, and for the most part, it’s a pretty good thing. There is little of interest coming in from abroad now to judge by the latest 1 Gallic export just off the boat. Entitled, I’m afraid, “The French They Are a , Funny Race,” it is an adaptation of Pierre Danino’s “The Notebooks of Major Thompson” in which a purported Englishman attempted a dissection of the manners and mores of the French utilizing, unfortunately, a double edged scalpel that resulted in a good many scratches \(it never Being rather disorganized and only fitfully amusing, this current version with its execrable title is no great shakes as either satire or cinema, and if anything, it is even more discouraging for being assembled by Preston Sturges. An American now living abroad, he was, while on native soil, responsible for such inspired idiocy as “The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek” and “Hail the Conquering Hero.” His latest, though, by proving that those days are dear, dead, and hopelessly beyond recall, managed to stamp out all euphoria and the cast of Jack Buchanan, Martine Carol, and NoelNoel labored valiantly but un what Norman Rockwell is to painting. His harsh, flat, naturalistic technique, his inarticulate characters, his repetitious dialogue have sunk so low in critical esteem as to be termed warmed BOULDER, Colo. Minor poet John Malcolm Brinnin, author of the gossipfilled, malicious account “Dylan Thomas in America,” at1 tempted to present himself as an understanding friend of ‘ bohemians, but in his attitude toward Thomas he shows himself to be an old lady from Dubuque scandalized by anyone more unconventional than William Dean Howells. At a party in New York, according to Brinnin, Thomas made passes at Katherine Anne Porter, attempted to make a date for cocktails and to accompany her home after the party. Miss Porter, instead of being flattered, politely refused. Thomas then “held her hands in his. and, in his most engaging baby-owl manner, told her how glad he was to have met her; then suddenly, as if she had no more weight than a doll, lifted her in her coat and gloves until her head was within George Hendrick an inch of the ceiling, and kept her there.” Brinnin went through a “group of half-amused, half appalled witnesses” to tell Thomas that the party v,ras over. Evidently the “half-appalled” literati were horrified to see a poetizing satyr attempt to abduct a middleaged Venus. Brinnin, the hero, noted triumphantly that the unviolated Texas-born writer again bade goodbye to the poet and Priggish Mr. Brinnin almost succeeds in making Miss Porter seem priggish herself, an injustice to the lady, but undoubtedly the guests were half-amused because the myth-making Thomas \(to maintain his legend he had to consume more drinks and acquire more mistresses than any poet Porter myth of aloofness. WHATEVER Miss Porter’s private life, in literary matters she is a brilliant craftsman and a relentless chronicler of human emotions, motives, tensions. In the Autumn 1956 issue of “The Yale Review” she contributed a perceptive study of the sources of her fine novelette, Noon Wine. She succeeds, even more admir ably than Conrad in his preface to Victory, in delving into the “labyrinths of infancy and childhood, family histories, memories, visions, daydreams, and nightmares” and then connecting the “gauzy phantasies” to her own work of art. Miss Porter re-creates the turn of the century genteel life of her family in Indian Creek, Texas a section peopled largely with Southerners still clinging to caste distinctions, an undemocratic society where everyone’s place was well defined. For all of its exterior gentility, it was riddled with feuds and sudden violence. She examines her memories which were incorporated into the story: at the age of three hearing a shotgun blast and a dying man’s scream, witnessing at nine the plaint of a redneck that he had killed in self-defense and calling for affirmation from his “pale beaten-looking woman,” and seeing a Swede who was to become the victim of the story sitting in. a shade playing a harmonica. The story takes place between 1895 and 1905 on a South Texas farm near Buda. Although Miss Porter does not comment on the significance of Buda, the pronunciation suggests the Oriental quiet and peace which characterizes the first part of the story; actually Buda is a corruption of a Spanish word for widow, Mrs. Thompson’s state at the end of the story. The principal characters during the first half of the story are Mr. Royal Earle Thompson, elegant in name only, characterized as a “noisy proud man who held his neck so straight his whole face stood level with his Adam’s apple” \(Miss Porter as a child may have heard stories correlating the size of the Adam’s apple higher social class than her husband, a neurotic, frigid woman addicted to operations and migraine headaches, and Olaf Helton, t h e moody, lanky-haired hired man. Helton’s housewifely -work with milk and eggs made the farm pay; after completing his work, he sat with eyes closed playing a Scandinavian drinking song “about getting so gay you just go ahead and drink up all the likker you got on hand before noon. Do-It-Yourself Sale Price band’s aid andsi sely-..that she actually saw that the killing was in self defence. “Having done this,” Miss Porter says, “to the infinite damage, as she sees it, of her own soul … she lacks the courage and love to see her sin through to its final good parpose; to commit it with her whole heart and with perfect acceptance of her guilt …” For Mr. Thompson is a murderer “by his own standards of morality” who needs someone to assure him that according to a higher law he was justified in his act. Mrs. Thompson, unfortunately, “agrees with himhe is indeed a murderer.” Although acquitted by a jury, he feels his own guilt and a guilt for making a liar of his wife. At the end of the story, he kills himself. Miss Porter feels the story had to tale of five guys out on the town, has a certain unpretentious appeal. It doesn’t especially get anywherebut then neither did “Marty.” Director Delbert Mann, whose technique has improved 100 percent since he won the Academy Award, certainly has told it beautifully and at times with a subtle daring. And since his cast of celebrants \(Don Murray, Philip Abbott, Jack Warden, E. G. Marshall, and Larry Blyosity of an excellent string quintet, the show should be quite enough for a pleasant, if hardly memorable, evening. Another domestic effort, destined wrongly or rightly for the “art houses,” is the Sam Speigel production “The Strange One.” An adaptation by Calder Willingham of “End as a Man,” his novel and later play .about fun and games in a Southern military From Washington To the Editor: I read the Texas Observer faithfully and appreciate your good coverage of the news from Washington and your thoughtful remarks about me from time to time ESTES KEFAUVER United States Senate that skin pigmentation is irrelevant in evaluating a man’s worth; that democracy lies in the sovereignty of the people; that a democratic government cannot stand where people are prevented academy, it differs very little from that series of Saturday night features known as “The Bowery Boys” where a group of lovable but not very bright derelicts triumph on their own, for the general good, over the established forces of law and order. Here the villain is a dastardly cadet named Jocko de Paris whose Machiavellian intrigues prove so involuted that, in order to rid itself of the louse, all the corps holds a kangaroo court and runs him off the grounds. In the novel, de Paris, who wasn’t half as nasty, was broken by t h e awesome but s t r an g e l y assuring General Draughton who, being in charge of the school, was the man to do it. He is nowhere about here. so Mr. Willingham must resort to anarchy, a more democratic but less satisfying form of justice. He has also resorted to melodrama, a more sprightly but less satisfying form of art. certan thoughts from the arena of public opinion? As Justice Holmes said, “Only the emergency that makes it immediately dangegrous to leave the correction of evil counsels to time warrants making any exception to the sweeping command, ‘Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech ….” BEN J. LEVY 710 Scanlan Bldg., Houston 2 Favoritism? To the Editor: There can be no equalizing of taxes, until taxation is based on principle uniformly applied. Were this done, a raise advocated from $800 personal exemption is easily possible. A great boost to this end c o u l d be had from uniform treatment of all kinds of “retired pay.” All of it is remuneration and or compensation for past services and as taxable as any of it. To illustrate, toiling workers maintaining families have only a $600 exempton. Thousands of others have tax-exempt retirement … and in addition tax-exempt social security t e r m e d retired pay …. Is it not favoritism? F. G. SWANSON Box 1020, Tyler Unique “Congratulations on the excellent news coverage in. … ‘East Texas Justice’ and ‘Segregation Filibuster of 1957.’ It is reporting such as this that makes the Observer unique a m on g Texas newspapers.” Marc Simmons, 343 Brackenridge Hall, Austin 18. Page 6 June 28, 1957 THE EXTERNAL quiet of the Thompson farm near Buda was interrupted by Homer T. Hatch, who made his living returning escapees to mental institutions \(his name is meaningful also; he has come to return Helton to the “Yale Review” article says of him, “the doomed man. evil by nature, a lover and doer of evil who did no good thing for anyone, not even in the long run for himself. He was evil in the most dangerous, irremediable way: one who works safely within the law and has reasoned himself into believing that his motives, if not good, are at least no worse than any one else’s …” Defending Helton from Hatch, Mr. Thompson murders Hatch. Mrs. Thompson comes to her hus Fast Zephyr I Hardware to the tides of the Window Frames or 2×4 Porch Studding. og Insert glass Louvers Into Clip Holders. Size ZEPHYR JALOUSIE SALE DO-1T-YOURSELF AND SAVE 50% HOUSTON, TEXAS 24×25’/2 I 28×36 32×43 Will fit behind existing screens on porches a n d windows. Completely weather-stripped. 150 SIZES IN STOCK FHA TERMSWE SHIP ANYWHERE $ 6.42 8.94 11.16 36×50 I 13.34 ZEPHYR Awning Co. Factory and Display 6320 Long Dr. OL 4-4318 Houston, Texas AUSTIN “The Bachelor Party,” a simple over Odets. He has been shown from expressing their opinions the back door, “The Bachelor freely without endangering their Party” the back of the hand, and political or economic positions? loud, indeed, is the shifting of … What, then, is a law con’ gears. If I may make myself demning a “conspiracy to teach heard through all this clangor, I and advocate” certain abhorrent would like to point out that, ideas but an attempt to inhibit though hardly another “Uncle the free circulation of ideas, an Vanya” and at times rather static Hill-Lancaster production, “The Bachelor Party” a bit more rewarding, especially if you were never one of those who went overboard for its author Paddy Chayefsky when his “Marty” first appeared. To judge by the critical comment on this latest Chayefsky teleplay to be adapted for the screen most of those who did The only niggling doubt rehave since clambered back in the maining to bother me is, why has boat and gone paddling off in the the legislative branch in Ameriopposite direction. Now Mr. Chacan government abandoned its yefsky, who was perhaps best dehistorical role at the forefront of scribed on the George Gobel a social progress? Why is it that Show as “the Zane Grey of the not Congress but the courts have Bronx,” is discovered to have a had to establish or reaffirm founminor talent and to be to drama dational American propositions; Banning Thoughts availingly to restore it. To the Editor: It’s always delightful to scan YOU MIGHT FIND the Hechtyour editorial column, even though it increases my anxiety that such critical powers as I possess are atrophying because of a chronic inability to dissent from your utterances. But I do especially want to join with you in celebrating “the joy of a heritage renewed \(“Mon, antidemocratic move to withdraw `BACHELOR PARTY’ IS GOOD The Stump
You May Also Like
The documentary in Falfurrias is sinister and spiritual.