Ron Hoffman requests:
> A faculty member at our university recently requested any info on films
> that use poetry in some manner. For example, the use of Frost in Dead
> Poets' Society; Rodney Dangerfield reciting and interpreting "Do not go
> gentle into that good night." in "Back to School." First priority would be
> films that refer to established poetry; second priority to films which use
> "original" poetry. Thanks in advance.
Even omitting certain categories (films that (mis)appropriate a poem as
a plot device, eg. THE FACE ON THE BARROOM FLOOR, THE HIGHWAYMAN, Roger
Corman's Poe knockoffs, THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE, and GUNGA DIN;
films that are based on poetic screenplays, from Shakespeare to THE
WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER and THE SET-UP; and "biopics" of poets' lives,
such as IF I WERE KING, supposedly about Francois Villon and
SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, of course, or Glenda Jackson in
STEVIE--virtually a one-woman recital), one can go back quite a way.
Griffith taking Whitman's "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking" out of
context in INTOLERANCE.
Beamarchais, from THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO, cited as epigraph for
Renoir's RULES OF THE GAME.
Coleridge is cited as Charles Foster Kane's inspiration for the naming
of his mansion "Xanadu."
I LOVE YOU, ALICE B. TOKLAS begins with a hippie guru (played by
cowriter Larry Tucker) proclaiming to the "Flower in the crannied wall."
"Oh, wow! Is that Rod McKuen?" asks a follower. "No, Alfred Lord
Tennyson," he replies.
Frost's "Nothing Gold Can Stay" has special importance in Coppola's THE
Whitman's "The Dalliance of Eagles" is quoted (without credit) by John
Belushi in CONTINENTAL DIVIDE.
W.H. Auden had notable quotes in FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL ("Stop All
the Clocks") and BEFORE SUNRISE ("As I Walked Out One Morning")
The Marine trainees in FULL METAL JACKET recite love poetry to their
e.e. cummings gets quoted in Cassavettes' MINNIE AND MOSCOWITZ
("buffalo bills defunct") and Woody Allen's HANNAH AND HER SISTERS
("nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands").
Baudelaire (among others) is cited by Godard in PIERROT LE FOU (and
other films too)
There are numerous other films that include the "original" poetry of
one or more of the characters--from Leslie Howard in THE PETRIFIED
FOREST to Janet Jackson in John Singleton's POETIC JUSTICE.
Minnesota State U, Mankato
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