Monday, March 5, 2012

Conecticut* (for Connecticut*)

I saw the filmmaker John Sayles (a Schenectady native) speak at the University at Albany the other night. After he had made a few initial remarks, an audience member raised her hand, anxious to know whether he resented the movie The Big Chill, which came out in 1983, for ripping off Sayles's 1980 The Return of the Secaucus 7. The questioner added that, after all, the former was simply the latter "without the politics." I thought his answer was gracious. He replied that both films were simply using a similar set-up: the "weekend reunion." He then drew a couple of analogies to make his point, which was that there are many comparable films and themes; it doesn't mean they're all hopelessly derivative con jobs. He added, surprisingly enough, that he himself had used the short story "Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut" as a basis for The Return of the Secaucus 7. If you don't remember this story, you can read it online or in a copy of Nine Stories by J. D. Salinger, published in 1953. There were 15 cases of today's typo in OhioLINK, but about six or so were on records for works from the 1600s, so Conecticut was probably an acceptable variant at that time. We also found 162 cases in WorldCat.

(66ème Festival du Cinéma de Venise, Mostra, 3/9/2009, photocall with John Sayles, Angela Ismailos and Todd Haynes, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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