Thursday, 18 September 2008

Summer 2008 Friends Publications

Faunus Volume Eighteen - Summer 2008 58 pages

Contains amongst other essays “Two Sided Triangles: Machen, Darwin and Suburbia” by Cyril Simsa an interesting essay on Machen’s work and its use of characteristic themes like the boundaries between town and country, the figure of Pan, sexuality and evolutionary thought. Phillip A. Ellis argues in “Of The One Secret: A Defence of Eleusinia” that Eleusinia is better quality poetry for such a young man than Machen’s modesty will allow. Meanwhile "Some Notes on Machen’s ‘Sixtystone’" by Christopher Josiffe discusses the origins of the mysterious artefact from The Three Impostors and reflects on Kenneth Grant’s use of it in his magical works. There is also a reprint of “The Unseen Host” by C.L. Warr a story inspired by The Bowmen first published in 1916 and reprinted many times later.

Machenalia Vol II Issue 7, Summer 2008 52 pages

Has the usual news and reviews with extensive coverage of the Chicago dramatic production of The Great God Pan. It also covers the FOAM AGM in Stratford-on-Avon, details on new Machen translations in Swedish, Polish, and Italian. Also mentions Clive Barker, and Mark E. Smith on Machen, more Angels of Mons sightings, and more on the Little Fables and a trip into the dark heart of Machen's Wentwood. Also the mysterious saga of the Machen photograph which is not actually of Machen is revealed.

We also have shocking news on MP Shiel, who Machen knew well, he was convicted for molesting a young girl and we have a brief review of an article by Kirsten Macleod 'M. P. Shiel and the Love of Pubescent Girls: The Other “Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name”' - Kirsten Macleod, University of Alberta that goes into the specifics.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Machen Movies - El Esqueleto de la Senora Morales [The Skeleton of Mrs.Morales]

Considering Machen's reputation it is surprising he has seldom been adapted for film though his work has influenced a number of filmmakers. There is one notable exception the most successful adaption is of one of Machen's less well known stories, the short dark satire "The Islington Mystery" which was adapted in Mexico as El Esqueleto de la Senora Morales [The Skeleton of Mrs.Morales (1960)]. According to Mexican critics this enjoyable black comedy film with evocative performances from its leading players is one of the ten best films in Mexican film history. The oppressed taxidermist is played by Arturo de Cordova, a very well known actor in Mexico, and Amparo Rivelles appears as his shrewish wife. Directed by Rogelio A. González and with the screenplay adapted by the noted surrealist Luis Alcoriza the film extends the satyric undercurrents of the story by further criticising the legal system and extending it to the puritanical local church. Machen might be better off without some of the bad adaptions that have plagued other writers. His ideas here have created a gem. Interesting to note that one of Machen's admirers is world famous Mexican director Guilermo del Toro, whose film Pan's Labyrinth was inspired somewhat by Machen. Machen has a very high reputation in the Spainish speaking world due partially to the admiration of Borges for Machen. Borges edited two collections of Machen in translation which have been in print in many countries across the world.

The film is quite true to the macabre essence of Machen's story and develops it very well. Machen based the idea of the story on the Crippen murder only Machen regarding Crippen as rather foolish, describing him as "elementary Crippen and his bungling imbecilities", imagined a protagonist who was rather more careful. You can read the Islington Mystery here.

The IDMB database entry for the film is here:

Someone has put El Esqueleto de la Senora Morales up on Youtube. No subtitles but you can get a good sense of it.

[I have not updated this blog in ages. I will try and keep it more up to date in future and add in some details I missed.]