A Bleak Queen Of CoquitlamTuesday, May 07, 2013
One of the bleakest and most depressing films I have ever seen (and thus one of my favourites) is Stanley Kramer’s 1959 On the Beach with Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire (he doesn’t dance here, he drives) and Anthony Perkins. Mankind is all but dead after a nuclear conflagration and what remains of the world are those who live in Australia. But their days are numbered as the radioactive clouds move in. And then there are a few Americans in the nuclear submarine, the USS Sawfish under the Royal Australian Navy Command who are dispatched to investigate a strange Morse code signal coming from San Francisco. Could there be a pocket of humans alive in that nuclear wasteland?
The crew and Captain (Gregory Peck) see a perfectly empty (no physical damage) city with no people through the periscope. What they find is what makes this film so bleak and so black and white.
These two pictures, which I took on board the Queen of Coquitlam have that bleakness. I took them when I was returning from my show at the Duthie Gallery on Salt Spring Island. The colour pictures (also taken with my Noblex, a swivel lens panoramic camera) by the very fact that they are in colour seem to be more attractive to the eye. These in black and white and only one of the images has a token human made me think of Fred Astaire in On the Beach driving furiously to win a grand prix race in which the winner as well as the others would ultimately be all losers.
It is Tuesday and Rosemary will be in Lillooet until Friday. I need her to return soon.
The Ferry in colour