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[Read by Bronson Pinchot]
This ''darkly beautiful'' (Washington Post) novel has been hailed as Erickson's best.
On the same August day in 1969 that a crazed hippie ''family'' led by Charles Manson commits five savage murders in the canyons above Los Angeles, a young ex-communicated seminarian arrives with images of Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift - ''the two most beautiful people in the history of the movies'' - tattooed on his head. At once childlike and violent, Vikar is not a cineaste but ''cineautistic,'' sleeping at night in the Roosevelt Hotel where he's haunted by the ghost of D. W. Griffith. Vikar has stepped into the vortex of a culture in upheaval: strange drugs that frighten him, a strange sexuality that consumes him, a strange music he doesn't understand. Over the course of the seventies and into the eighties, he pursues his obsession with film from one screening to the next and through a series of cinema-besotted conversations and encounters with starlets, burglars, guerrillas, escorts, teenage punks, and veteran film editors, only to discover a secret whose clues lie in every film ever made.
lights on. Vikar remains in his seat watching the little old man who played the organ, who smiles at him. “Did you like it?” the old man says. “I liked the sound,” Vikar says. “You mean me?” “Yes.” “Well, thank you,” he says. He looks at Vikar’s head. “Friends of yours?” “Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift.” The old man shrugs. “Kids to me. I would have said Janet Gaynor and what’s-his-name from Seventh Heaven. Didn’t he die?” “Montgomery Clift?” “I remember something about a car
who married Gable before she died so young, like Harlow. Both men outliving their great loves who died so young. There was a second version of this film … what is the American title?” “Which one?” “This one we just watched.” “Red Dust.” “There was a second version twenty years later, with a different title, a funny title, also with Gable, twenty years older, playing the same part as in the first. Bien sûr in cinema the men get to remain young even as they are old.” “I saw where Carole
104. Inside the editing room, he’s surprised to find a relatively sophisticated flatbed table, which is good for looking through more film quickly but not as good as a moviola for locating a particular frame. Several canisters sit on the table. He takes the film out and begins unspooling it, running it through the table’s prism and searching. 103. An hour passes. There’s a knock on the door and the woman sticks her head in. “Got an extra sandwich here,” she says, holding out a
there. He goes downstairs to her bedroom on the second level, knocks on the door, and opens it when there’s no answer. On the walls are posters of Marianne Faithfull, Lora Logic, the Stooges, the New York Dolls, Bowie, Exene Cervenka, Patti Smith, the Doors, Siouxsie and the Banshees. Vikar notes with passing interest that Siouxsie reminds him of Maria from Cannes, with straighter hair. There’s a mockup of an EP cover, a picture of Zazi and the rest of the band on the front. RUBICONS it says
“You knew him in Madrid when he was working on my movie?” “I knew him then. Another time too, in France. Not well, of course. But I knew he was a man of vision.” Viking Man says, “Who found him?” “The concierge saw him come into the hotel and take the elevator up, and went looking for him.” “Who lives here?” “Nobody. It’s vacant now. But thirty years ago,” the manager looks at Viking Man and Zazi, “it was Mr. Montgomery Clift’s home.” “Say what?” says Viking Man. “After making A Place in