The Atomic Cafe is a portrait of the United States in the 1950s, especially the nuclear threat and arms race of the Cold War.
The film makes use of archival government footage and propaganda.
Ennio Morricone was an Italian composer, a veritable monument.
He composed over 400 scores for cinema and television, as well as over 100 classical works.
He is best known for the characteristic sparse and memorable soundtracks of Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns: “Man with a Harmonica” from Once Upon a Time in the West and the theme to “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”. The first has a haunting harmonica and the second an immediately recognizable flute/whistle.
When I compiled the Jahsonic 1000, I also included “Dies Irae Psichedelico” (1968) and “Ma Non Troppo Erotico” (1971).
Max Crook was an American musician whose name is all but unknown.
Some research yields his co-authorship of “Runaway” (1961), the Del Shannon song.
In that song he also plays the keyboard solo.
That solo was played on a self-invented electric keyboard called the “Maximillian” which was based the clavioline, which was in turn a variation on the Musitron.
Carl Reiner was an American comedian, actor, director, screenwriter, and publisher.
I have fond memories of the highly enjoyable films he directed starring Steve Martin in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
I think of The Jerk (1979), Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982) and The Man with Two Brains (1983).
Johnny Mandel was an American composer of innumerable songs.
One of these songs stands out: “Suicide Is Painless” (1970).
Lewis John Carlino (1932 – 2020) was an American screenwriter known for several films.
In our book, he wrote the screenplay to Seconds (1966), a film about an ordinary and unfulfilled man who wants a second life and is reborn in a new body.
There is an ‘orgy’ scene (above) which was supposedly only included in European films, a practice which was common at that time.
There are plenty of surreal images.
Zeev Sternhell was an Israeli scholar known for his study of fascism, The Birth of Fascist Ideology (1989).
I headed for the university library and found that book.
I read the introduction and the rest of the book ‘by index’.
Doing that, I stumbled upon the grand sweeping statements by T. E. Hulme on his hatred for the Renaissance, Rousseau and Romanticism:
“That is why he [Hulme] was so hostile to romanticism: underlying romanticism and the French Revolution, he believed, was the Rousseauist concept of the individual. Rousseau, he wrote, taught the people of the eighteenth century “that man was by nature good,” that he was “an infinite reservoir of possibilities,” and that the source of all evils was “bad laws.” According to Rousseau, the destruction of the existing oppressive order would open up infinite possibilities of progress. Classicism, wrote Hulme, was defined by an opposite conception, namely, that “man is an extraordinarily fixed and limited animal whose nature is absolutely constant. It is only by tradition and organization that anything decent can be got out of him.””
The citations are from T. E. Hulme’s Speculations (1936).
It is interesting to note that Sternhell locates the origins of fascism within the artistic realm:
“A desire to cleanse the world of the defilements of the eighteenth century and to introduce various forms of discipline such as classicism and nationalism, no less than a rejection of liberal and bourgeois “decadence,” united in a single tide of sentiment some of the most important literary and artistic avant-gardes in Europe.”