From the Count of Monte Cristo (1971):
Abbe Faria (Richard Harris) : "Here is your final lesson - do not commit
the crime for which you now serve the sentence. God said, "Vengeance is mine."
Edmond Dantes (Jim Caviezel): "I don't believe in God."
Abbe Faria: "It doesn't matter. He believes in you."
As Bass's companions prepare to move on, a Native scout says some
Last Rites (?) or a Blessing (?) over Bass - then places a talisman (?)
around his neck.
But let's take a closer look at that Talisman ...
Is that a Cross?
When Bass is ultimately deserted by this comrades
the only thing they leave him is ...
The Arikara ("Rees") Indians find Bass in his grave.
He receives more Last Rites/Blessings - Native style.
Then ... miraculously, Bass eventually Rises from the/his grave ...
from the dead.
Bass later discovers an uncommon use for the Bible ...
It's makes good kindling - to light his first fire.
Meanwhile ... Captain Ahab - I mean Captain Henry -
paces the Deck by night ...
... while his men grumble about mutiny below deck
- I mean around the campfire.
Where have we seen this before?
And that scar ...
Where might we have seen that before?
Just a coincidence, I'm sure.
While recuperating, Bass reads the Bible to a friend.
A time for healing, Spiritual Contemplation ... and resolution.
He reads aloud these 2 passages:
"If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come."
- Job 14:14
"For there is hope for a tree,
If it is cut down, that it will sprout again,
And that its tender shoots will not cease.
Though its root may grow old in the earth,
And its stump may die in the ground ..."
- Job 14:7 -9
Will the circle be broken? or perpetuated?
You'll have to watch it to find out.
Grace's Mother: (Man in the Wilderness):
"There was nothing you could do.
It was God's will."
Zachary Bass (Hugh Glass):
"I never much agreed with God's will."
I haven't seen all of John Huston's movies. Among those few that I have seen though, I detect a strong undercurrent of what I would call Christian Mysticism. And there's plenty of it in Man in the Wilderness.
In the very first image of the very first scene in Man in the Wilderness, we see this:
Any way you look at it, that's a Cross - a Crucifix. THE Christian symbol.
Or is it?
Let's take a closer look:
That odd boat (call me crazy) is a miniature version of Noah's Ark.
The only thing missing is the animals.
The credits say that the movie is “historically true”
and it's obviously based upon the true story of Hugh Glass.
So why did they change his name to "Zachary Bass"?
Maybe we've seen the name Zachary somewhere before ... ?
Maybe right here:
The Unforgiven (1960)
Directed by John Huston !
With a whole pile of Zarchays (5 actually).
and accompanied by a mad prophet on horseback spouting Biblical style quotes.
Call me Zachary?
Zachariah - Old Testament Hebrew: means ‘The *LORD remembers'.
The Old Testament prophet Zechariah taught people that God remembers his promises.
Like from a movie called 'The Bible: In the Beginning ..'
Directed by John Huston
who also acted the part (wait for it) NOAH!
Also acting in the movie? Richard Harris as Cain!
Zakaria, Zakariya, Zakariyya (Arabic),
Zachariah, Zacharias, Zechariah (Biblical),
Zacharias (Biblical Greek),
Zekharyah (Biblical Hebrew),
Zaccharias (Biblical Latin) ....
and on and on ...
and more coming.
Man in the Wilderness / Part 4
"I don't believe God is dead. Just drunk."- John Huston
Sung by Richard Harris / written by Jim Webb
(A curious analogy: - not knowing the origins of Webb's controversial lyrics greatly affect some people's appreciation of this song - or whether you can even appreciate it at all. But I won't get into that here ...)
At the outset, I do wonder if this film - though interesting and enjoyable - is really worth such of any such in-depth analysis? It's not an epic of Oscar proportions. And it's obviously possible to watch Man in the Wilderness and enjoy it without pondering any of the musings that I am about to attempt. However, that never stopped me before.
I have just re-watched Man in the Wilderness - for the first time in many years. I had been disinclined to watch it again at all since I recalled my first viewing - back in 1971 - was a disappointment. But I was a young fool of 23 back then - and may have been impaired in some manner. Now however, I am much more handsome and have risen in brilliance (cough). Not that I wouldn't trade for a second.
Anyway, I now find the film to be a much different experience than it was on my first ride. And I see several points of interest that I had not noticed before. I hope you'll agree.
Firstly, despite Richard Harris' capably and worthy Star Power in the film, John Huston presence in this movie is huge - a VERY LARGE elephant in the room -- though he did not Direct (Richard C. Sarafian, Director) - his stamp and shadow loom all over the movie. And it's damn certain that Huston would not consent to any project that didn't suit him somehow. All his dues had been paid - and then-some.
A brief Bio sketch of Huston becomes necessary:
At the making of the film Huston was already legendary in the Film trade/Arts - having been voted 10 times for Oscars, won Oscars for Directing, Screenwriting and Acting. Many of his films are classics: (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), Key Largo (1948), The African Queen (1951) (both with Bogart), The Asphalt Jungle (1950), The Red Badge of Courage (1951), Moulin Rouge (1952), Moby Dick (1956), The Unforgiven (1960), The Misfits (1961), Freud (1962), The Night of the Iguana (1964). The Bible: In the Beginning... (1966). Fat City (1972), The Man Who Would Be King (1975), Wise Blood (1979), Under the Volcano (1984), Prizzi's Honor (1985).
Just about all of Huston's movies are a required study for any entering the film trade. Very few people have a legacy such as this.
Huston was raised of rugged, but cultured parents - participated in Vaudevillian circles - was Amateur Lightweight Boxing Championship of California - later in "Mexico became an officer in the cavalry and expert horseman while writing plays on the sly" - later studied Art in Paris, where the sometimes "homeless beggar" continued writing. - returned to America to pay more dues on Broadway - and eventually his first loud flash of fame as screenwriter and director for the Dashiell Hammett mystery yarn The Maltese Falcon (1941). (This movie classic made a superstar out of Humphrey Bogart) - Bio info gleaned from on Intermet Movie Database / IMDB)
Huston Trivia (IMDB):
Often labelled as massively eccentric, Huston was his own man - and there is much more that could be written on him here. I don't think any BioPic could do Huston justice - though Clint Eastwood attempted a snapshot of his character in White Hunter Black Heart (1990). Maybe a long Mini-Series? But even then ...
Strangely, Huston is revealed as strongly religious - and we see plenty of evidence in his films. Most obviously, of course, in The Bible: In the Beginning.. (1966).
But this is also revealed in Man in the Wilderness. As you'll see.
In short, I'd guess that Huston related strongly with Hugh Glass' (Man in the Wilderness) - his character and courage.
That's enough for today ...
Man in the Wilderness / Part 3
On the surface Man in the Wilderness appears to be the true epic tale of frontiersman Hugh Glass' unfortunate encounter with a Grizzly Bear - and his struggle to survive and seek revenge against those that left him for dead.
But is it?
There could be more to this grizzly tale than meets the eye at first glance ...