Monday, October 05, 2009
The Hatched Man: A SOFT SEL-PORTRAIT OF SALVADOR DALI
A timeless made-for-70s TV classic of countercultural madness - this narrated soft shoe scheduled to run in an hour time slot and captures a crazy "happening" of Dali's, which Orson Welles narrates with bemused awe. Old Dali is kind of what Welles would like to be, a complete nut, but Welles always carried the burden of being a gluttonous hedonist and--despite being a madly egotistical wunderkind--harrowingly sane. Still he makes it seem like Dali just snaps his fingers and a huge crowd of attractive, barely dressed local hippie children come a runnin' to sing and dance and parade around, their icon the straight-faced Dali leading the way, holding a giant papier mache rhino head and completely lovingly deadpan serious! If Dali were to laugh or act foolish he'd ruin the effect, but since he carries his egotistic self-importance to such lengths he shows an acute aware of comedic timing and genius rivaling perhaps only Jack Benny's.
Other highlights include his sculpting a face mask out of a sheet of tin foil right in front of the camera, a moment of true rare alchemy--seeing a master at work--(as in his amazingly small, detailed paintings we see he has the hands of a watchmaker or surgeon while carrying the brain of a lunatic--a devastating combination. He also hatches out of a giant egg on the shore and takes us on a boat tour through the trippy rock formations around his shorefront home in Portiligat Spain.
Meant as a one-hour special for network TV and done in the heady early 70s style of shows like the Leonard Nimoy-narrated IN SEARCH OF... the show's bombastic library music cues and Dali's endless monologue of broken twisted meta-language--which takes him a long time to say hardly anything--gets on the nerves after awhile, no matter what your substance. It takes the old duffer about five minutes to say: "The only crazy thing about Dali is that he is... not crazy... at all!" But as far as acid culture goes, this man set the bar high and early. Even in 2009, hippies would probably flock from all over the world at a snap of his fingers... even if they were skeleton zombie fingers due to Dali's TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD style resurrection, and that's probably not far off... if you know what I mean. (find it here)