(Anthem Art and Culture), by Gary Morris (Editor), Bert Cardullo (Introduction), Jonathan Rosenbaum (Foreword). London and New York: Anthem Press, 2009.
David Hudson, IFC.com
1. I've never seen this version of the Brothers. In the book, Alexi, the saintly younger brother, is the moral center of Dostoyevsky's masterpiece, while Ivan (Richard Basehart in the film) is the tormented nihilist who has the famous confrontation with the Grand Inquisitor. Bizarrely, the film made Dmitri (played by Yul Brynner) the most important brother, though in the book he's the least important one, a natural, spontaneous fellow accused (unjustly, of course) of murder, probably because he's the brother with the most active sex life, struggling to choose between Grushenka (Maria Schell) and Katya (Claire Bloom).
2. Instead, William Holden and Nancy Kwan got the leads. America's addiction to wars with Asian nations created a small but persistent number of parts on Broadway and Hollywood for Asian women — usually sexy but not quite respectable — that were actually filled by Asian actresses, like Nuyen and Kwan. But since they could only play "exotics," they couldn't achieve real stardom.
3. The three-body problem has never been solved, and probably never will be. Even modern chaos theory throws up its hands in despair.
4. In real life, DeForest Kelley's primary emotional attachment appears to have been to his pet Chihuahua. When little Pepe bought the farm, Kelley showed up on the Star Trek set in tears. Shatner burst out laughing, and Kelley refused to speak to him for two years.
5. From Star Trek and Me, a book Roddenberry published back in the early seventies, after the original series tanked.
6. I find this analogy compelling, but acknowledge its limits. A chick fight between Spock and McCoy is one thing I would not like to see. I developed this cheerleader/quarterback thesis more extensively — well, for three whole paragraphs — here, in a review of Master and Commander. I strongly suspect that author Patrick O'Brian based his characters Capt. Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin, who appear throughout his endless seafaring saga set during the Napoleonic Wars, directly on Kirk and Spock, just as Margaret Mitchell based Rhett Butler on the screen persona of Clark Gable and Scarlett O'Hara on Bette Davis. The first book of O'Brian's series appeared in 1969.
7. A similar situation prevailed at Versailles during the reign of Louis XIV. There were only a handful of chairs, and they were reserved for princesses. Once the Duchess of St. Simon had a fainting fit while pregnant and sat in a "princess" chair, provoking a huge scandal.
8.Shatner must have hated the woefully untalented Walter Koenig, hired during the second season as a rip-off of Davy Jones, who in turn was ripping off Ringo Starr on The Monkees, NBC's infamous rip-off of the Beatles. Despite a Russian accent that compared unfavorably with Ernie Borgnine's, Koenig proved popular with the fans, and he demanded, and got, a high chair, just like the big guys.
9. Shatner evidently fancied himself a master of the art of frottage, or else he simply didn't give a fuck. Co-stars like Morgan Fairchild and a pre-blimp Kirstie Alley complained bitterly of the practice, to no avail. Alley, appearing in Star Trek II, was so pissed off by Shatner's persistent nuzzling à la cock that she refused to appear in Star Trek III unless she received the same salary as Bill (so at least we know her price, eh?). Paramount decided she wasn't worth it, and replaced her with Robin Curtis. Judging from Sandra Bullock's unflattering comments re Shatner's age and belly at the recent Comedy Central roast (see supra), he was still at it as late as the year 2000, the date the two appeared in Miss Congeniality.
10. A second phone was added, and Shatner hogged that one too, reserving it for incoming calls (for him).
11. Schnakenberg confesses a weakness for "The Gamesters of Triskelion": "Kirk spends most of the episode in a revealing leather harness, and the mind-numbing scenes of hand-to-hand brawling (set to the pulsating Star Trek 'fight theme') make this the perfect episode to bring to your next Fire Island cookout weekend."
12. The seventies and the eighties were the high point of the made-for-TV movie. With no competition from cable, not to mention the Internet, the three networks had more money than they knew what to do with, so they spent it on massive prestige flicks and mini-series, not all of which starred Richard Chamberlin and Jaclyn Smith.
13. Mel actually got more screen time than Bill in this one. The thought of the Velvet Fog struggling to achieve on-screen rapport with Caesar the Golden Eagle and Romulus the Wolf is a grim one. Mel certainly earned his paycheck on that gig, and it couldn't have been a fat one.
14. I especially liked the scene where a smug, condescending Kirk explains the bizarre mores of late twentieth-century San Franciscans to a deadpan Spock — their addiction to swearing in particular — getting it all wrong, of course. Later, when a cabbie yells "Kiss my ass, buddy" at Kirk, he responds "Oh, yeah? Well, double ass on you!"
15. This is a bit unfair to Shatner, who did all his damage while completely sober.
16. Takei is present at the roast, with what can only be described as a cock-sucking grin on his face. "Autographs $10, blowjobs free!"
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