Friday, April 14, 2006

Henry Miller In Popular Culture

A Pandora's Box has indeed opened, as James has noted in 'commentaries' on the Seinfeld posting: references to Henry Miller in TV, film, music, books and elsewhere in pop culture abound. Well, maybe not "abound," but they do exist in fragments throughout the years. For this reason I've created this post, which will exist as a permanent entity, updated as needed. Just add new info to "Comments" whenever a Miller references pops up, and I'll add it to the main body of the posting.

SEINFELD (1991) - The Library police come after Jerry after 20 years, for not returning Tropic Of Cancer. (RC)

THE THORN BIRDS (1983) - "[A] disabled bookish woman helps her fight the depression by some unexpected feminist help towards self-liberation etc. This help, includes reading of course and the disable recommends Henry Miller. I think there's this scene where she says: "Oh dear you must read more. You must expand you mind. Learn to look out for your self. Here is some of my books that you must read." [not exact quote of course] Then she hands her lots of classic modern 20th C stuff and finally she says, to the effect of: "And you absolutly MUST read Henry Miller...he is very very ADVENTUROUS!!". Later on in the storyline, the servant-woman is dutily sitting outdoors by a table sipping (I guess) ice-tea and reading Tropic of Cancer (I think)...the implication is clearly that Henry Miller is "far out" "very dirty" etc." (Tony)

ANNE MUELLER: Oh, Meggie! You've the face of an angel and the body of a goddess, and what you mean is, you don't know how to make a man get you pregnant? What you need is a good education. Lady Chatterley's lover! And Henry Miller, definitely Henry Miller! [ref]

NORTHERN EXPOSURE - Episode? (James)

CYBILL - episode? (James)

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE - " involving a predatory 'Scout Master' who planned to read some HM to the boys." (James). Alec Baldwin played this character when Adam Sandler played Canteen Boy. This seems to have happened twice, but it doesn't appear to be the Feb.12, 1994 episode, so it must be the Dec.10, 1994 episode. (RC)

CAPE FEAR (1991) - "Robert De Niro uses Sexus to lure Juliette Lewis." (James) . I'll create a seperate post for this because the script dialogue is lengthy.

AFTER HOURS (1985) - "Paul Hackett (Griffin Dunne) is reading Tropic of Cancer when he spots Marcy Franklin (Rosanna Arquette) and Marcy starts to quote Miller" (Pierre). Again, sepearte post with dialogue to come.

MY FAMILY AND OTHER ANIMALS (2005) - Miller portrayed briefly (writing in the nude) in this BBC story about the Durrell family. (RC)

FAHRENHEIT 451 (1966) - Amongst the piles of great works of literature set aflame by the conservative forces in the film, lies Miller's Plexus.

- Tell me,why do you burn books?

- What? Well, it's a job like any other. Good work with lots of variety. Monday, we burn Miller; Tuesday,Tolstoy; Wednesday, Walt Whitman; Friday, Faulkner; and Saturday and Sunday, Schopenhauer and Sartre. [ref]

BITTER MOON (1992) - Peter Coyote's character is said to aspire to being Henry Miller, but I can't locate the screenplay for this Polanski flop, so I can't tell is Miller is directly referenced or not.

THE REAL DIRT ON FARMER JOHN (2005, documentary) - Part of oddball farmer John Peterson's story involves his appreciation of Henry Miller, whose work inspires him to travel (to Mexico).

14 Comments:

Anonymous Pierre from Montreal said...

In François Truffaut’s film adaptation (1966) of Ray Bradbury’s « Fahrenheit 451 », where the firemen’s main job is to burn books (very Hitlerian! and pretty soon we may see firemen-policemen checking if there are some smokers in bars and restaurants, at least here in Montreal after May 31, 2006), there is a frightening scene, towards the end, where some of the greatest books in history are burned; Miller’s « Plexus » is there. I would have chosen many other books by Henry, but it was Truffaut’s choice of course, probably because of the themes of misery, poverty, hunger, etc., so dear to him in his semi-autobiographical film « The 400 Blows », and so obsessive in « Plexus ».
Pierre from Montreal

1:57 am  
Blogger RC said...

Great reference, Pierre. Thanks. It's been added.

12:12 pm  
Anonymous Pierre from Montreal said...

In Steven Soderbergh’s film « Sex, Lies, and Videotape » (1989), Graham Dalton (James Spader), who likes to videotape women, has a photo of Miller on his wall; probably a tribute to Henry as his favorite voyeur… (I love this post, as you can see!)
Pierre from Montreal

12:51 am  
Anonymous Pierre from Montreal said...

Coming soon (hopefully) in a theatre near you:
THE REAL DIRT ON FARMER JOHN (2005)
Release date: 10 March 2006
Director: Taggart Siegel
Cast: John Peterson, Anna Peterson

John, an unsuccessful farmer, flees to Mexico, where he discovers the works of Henry Miller, and then, inspired, begins transferring his own pain and disappointment into prose. The epic tale of a maverick Midwestern farmer. Castigated as a pariah in his community, John bravely transforms his farm amidst a failing economy, vicious rumors, and arson. He succeeds in creating a bastion of free expression and a revolutionary form of agriculture in rural America.
I found this interesting info in IMDB.COM
Pierre from Montreal
(Can't sleep tonight...)

3:53 am  
Anonymous Kreg said...

In Roman Polanski's film "Bitter Moon", Peter Coyote plays an American who goes to Paris to become a writer in the vein of Henry Miller. After a particularly depraved sexual affair he becomes a cynical, dirty old man. I believe there are explicit references to Miller as his motivation for going to Paris and there may have been some photos of Miller on the wall of his apartment, but I can remember with certainty.

7:39 am  
Anonymous Pierre from Montreal said...

For more info on the film "The Real Dirt on Farmer John":http://www.popmatters.com/film/reviews/r/real-dirt-on-farmer-john.shtml

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