I need to check my memory of the Herzog film, Aguirre, the Wrath of God:
Is there a character who holds something in his hand that is never revealed? Is that character Ursua, the leader of the expedition that Aguirre overthrows?
Okay, but while I’m here: I am writing about Hollywood in my latest book and it has led, inevitably, to me thinking about how important movies were to me, once upon a time, and how that faded, and whether that’s just me, or part of getting older.
As an intern at the Atlanta Consitution, I walked many, many blocks, maybe three miles in all (and some of them a little scary) to see Aguirre, the Wrath of God. Later, in my early years in Texas, I would drive a hundred miles to see films at art houses in Dallas or Austin. (Remember, this is pre-VCR! If you didn’t drive a hundred miles to see The Getting of Wisdom, or The Stunt Man, or The Buddy Holly Story, you might never see them. And that would have been tragic!) I went to the movies every weekend. I had to see The Godfather Part III at the first possible matinee — on Christmas.
Now, I see maybe four movies a year in the theater. In the past twelve months, I’ve seen: The Queen, Blades of Glory, The Simpsons, and Hairspray. (When I do go to the movies, I’m often accompanied by a 13-year-old.) At this point, I probably go to the theater more often than I go to the movies.
So, have the movies changed, as Nora Desmond tried to tell us? Did technology change the movies? Or am I just really old?
ETA: Just added Aguirre to my Netflix queue. If I were a PC user, I could have watched it now. This world is too much with us, late and soon.