the incredible Folies Bergère tracking shot in William A Wellman’s Wings
An earthquake was shaking the south of Italy and burying 1,500 Neapolitans, Marlene Dietrich was singing “Falling in Love Again.” Stalin was completing his usurpation of the Russian Revolution, and the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky was committing suicide. The English were jailing Mahatma Gandhi, who by demanding independence and loving his country had brought India to a standstill. Under the same banner in the other Indies, our Indies, Augusto César Sandino was rousing the peasants of Nicaragua and US Marines were burning the crops to defeat him by hunger.
In the United States some were dancing to the new boogie-woogie, but the euphoria of the Roaring Twenties had been knocked out cold by ferocious blows from the crash of ’29. When the New York Stock Exchange tanked, it devastated international commodity prices and dragged several Latin American governments into the abyss. The price of tin took a nosedive off the precipice of the global crisis, pulling Bolivian President Hernando Siles after it and putting a general in his place, while the collapse of meat and wheat prices finished President Hipólito Yrigoyen in Argentina and installed another general in his place. In the Dominican Republic, the fall in sugar prices opened the long cycle of dictatorship of also-general Rafael Leónidas Trujillo, who was inaugurating his regime by baptizing the capital city and the port with his own name.
In Uruguay, the coup d’état was not to strike until three years later. In 1930 the country had eyes and ears only for the first World Cup. Uruguayan victories in the previous two Olympics held in Europe made the country the obvious choice to host the tournament.
Twelve nations arrived at the port of Montevideo. All Europe was invited, but only four teams crossed the ocean to these southern shores. “That’s far away from everything,” Europeans said, “and the passage is expensive.”
A ship brought the Jules Rimet trophy from France, accompanied by FIFA president Monsieur Jules himself and by the reluctant French team.
With pomp and circumstance Uruguay inaugurated the monumental showcase it had taken eight months to build. The stadium was called Centenario to celebrate the constitution, which a century before had denied civil rights to women, the illiterate, and the poor. In the stands not a pin would have fit when Uruguay and Argentina faced each other in the final. The stadium was a sea of felt hats and canopies over cameras with tripods. The goalkeepers wore caps and the referee black plus fours.
The final of the 1930 World Cup did not merit more than a twenty-line column in the Italian daily La Gazzetta dello Sport. After all, it was a repeat of the Amsterdam Olympics in 1928: the two nations of the River Plate insulted Europe by showing the world where the best soccer was played. As in ’28, Argentina took second place. Uruguay, losing 2–1 at the half, ended up winning 4–2 and was crowned champion. To referee the final, the Belgian John Langenus demanded life insurance, but nothing more serious occurred than a few tussles in the stands. Afterward, in Buenos Aires, a crowd stoned the Uruguayan consulate.
Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago (via mayakovsky)
Vladimir Nabokov’s opinions on various writers, culled from Strong Opinions:
- Austen, Jane. Great.
- Balzac, Honoré de. Mediocre. Fakes realism with easy platitudes.
- Beckett, Samuel. Author of lovely novellas and wretched plays.
- Borges, Jorge Luis. A favorite. How freely one breathes in his marvelous labyrinths! Lucidity of thought, purity of poetry. A man of infinite talent.
- Camus, Albert. Dislike him. Second-rate, ephemeral, puffed-up. A nonentity, means absolutely nothing to me. Awful.
- Chekhov, Anton. A favorite between the ages of 10 and 15, and thereafter. Talent, but not genius. Love him dearly, but cannot rationalize that feeling.
- Conan Doyle, Arthur. A favorite between the ages of 8 and 14, but no longer. Essentially a writer for very young people. Romantic in the large sense.
- Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Dislike him. A cheap sensationalist, clumsy and vulgar. A prophet, a claptrap journalist and a slapdash comedian. Some of his scenes are extraordinarily amusing. Nobody takes his reactionary journalism seriously.
- The Double. His best work, though an obvious and shameless imitation of Gogol’s “Nose.”
- Eliot, T. S. Not quite first-rate.
- Emerson, Ralph Waldo. His poetry is delightful.
- Flaubert, Gustave. A favorite between the ages of 10 and 15, and thereafter. Read complete works between 14 and 15.
- Freud, Sigmund. A figure of fun. Loathe him. Vile deceit. Freudian interpretation of dreams is charlatanic, and satanic, nonsense.
- García Lorca, Federico. Second-rate, ephemeral, puffed-up.
- Gogol, Nikolai. Nobody takes his mystical didacticism seriously. At his worst, as in his Ukrainian stuff, he is a worthless writer; at his best, he is incomparable and inimitable. Loathe his moralistic slant, am depressed and puzzled by his inability to describe young women, deplore his obsession with religion.
- Hemingway, Ernest. A writer of books for boys. Certainly better than Conrad. Has at least a voice of his own. Nothing I would care to have written myself. In mentality and emotion, hopelessly juvenile. Loathe his works about bells, balls, and bulls.
- Joyce, James. Great. A favorite between the ages of 20 and 40, and thereafter. Let people compare me to Joyce by all means, but my English is patball to Joyce’s champion game. A genius.
- Kafka, Franz.
- The Metamorphosis. Second-greatest masterpiece of 20th century prose.
- Kazantzakis, Nikos. Second-rate, ephemeral, puffed-up.
- Keats, John. A favorite between the ages of 10 and 15, and thereafter.
- Kipling, Rudyard. A favorite between the ages of 8 and 14. Essentially a writer for very young people. Romantic in the large sense.
- Maupassant, Guy de. Certainly not a genius.
- Melville, Herman. Love him. One would like to have filmed him at breakfast, feeding a sardine to his cat.
- Marx, Karl. Loathe him.
- Pasternak, Boris. An excellent poet, but a poor novelist.
- Doctor Zhivago. Detest it. Melodramatic and vilely written. To consider it a masterpiece is an absurd delusion. Pro-Bolshevist, historically false. A sorry thing, clumsy, trivial, melodramatic, with stock situations and trite coincidences.
- Plato. Not particularly fond of him.
- Poe, Edgar Allan. A favorite between the ages of 10 and 15, but no longer. One would like to have filmed his wedding.
- Proust, Marcel. A favorite between the ages of 20 and 40, and thereafter.
- Pushkin, Alexander. A favorite between the ages of 20 and 40, and thereafter. A genius.
- Eugene Onegin. A great poem. Walter Arndt’s translation is abominable.
- Rimbaud, Arthur. A favorite between the ages of 10 and 15, and thereafter.
- Sartre, Jean-Paul. Even more awful than Camus.
- Shakespeare, William. Read complete works between 14 and 15. One would like to have filmed him in the role of the King’s Ghost. His verbal poetic texture is the greatest the world has ever known, and immensely superior to the structure of his plays as plays. It is the metaphor that is the thing, not the play. A genius.
- Tolstoy, Leo. A favorite between the ages of 10 and 15, and thereafter. Read complete works between 14 and 15. Nobody takes his utilitarian moralism seriously. A genius.
- Turgenev, Ivan. Talent, but not genius.
- Updike, John. By far one of the finest artists in recent years. Like so many of his stories that it is difficult to choose one.
- Verne, Jules.
- Around the World in Eighty Days. A favorite between the ages of 10 and 15, but no longer.
- Wilde, Oscar. Rank moralist and didacticist. A favorite between the ages of 8 and 14. Essentially a writer for very young people. Romantic in the large sense.
via wmjas wikidot
Left to right, top row: Vladimir Mayakovsky, Osip Brik, Boris Pasternak, futurist poet Sergei Tretyakov, writer and critic Victor Shklovsky, Mayakovsky and Briks’ friend Lev Grinkrug, critic Osip Beskin and poet Petr Neznamov
Bottom row: Elsa Triolet, Lilya Brik, R. Kushner, Evgeniya Pasternak, O. Tretyakova