57th Annual Writers Guild Awards - Show

Nice tie

Some of the guilty feel compelled to give the game away, as it were. Zionist Wag the Dog (1997) screenwriter and playwright David Mamet happens to be one of them. Yesterday I watched his early movie House of Games (1987), which is concerned with a group of Seattle conmen, and followed it up by listening to his audio commentary with actual hustler and sleight-of-hand manipulator Ricky Jay, who plays one of the flim-flam men in the film. Mamet, who has a pronounced affection for shysterism and cons, would return to the theme in The Spanish Prisoner (1997) and other screenplays. Just like Lindsay Crouse’s character Dr. Margaret Ford, who has a fatal “tell” and inadvertently gives herself away by making repeated Freudian slips, David Mamet also feels compelled to say too much. He and Jay, he says, “spent many, many years talking about the similarities between drama and the confidence game – that what you’ve got to do is distract the person in order to get them to do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do. For example, to distract them so they don’t say, ‘Wait a second. Elephants can’t really fly, this movie’s a bunch of nonsense.’” Jay concurs that “the power of film in general is one of the biggest cons.” Profanity merchant Mamet’s greatest revelation is still concealed up his tuxedo sleeve, however. Remarking on the character of the conman played by Mike Nussbaum, Mamet says, “One of the great rules of life – I made it up – is never trust a Jew in a bowtie.” Just remember, readers, that it was the racist, anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denying, conspiracy-theorizing bigot Mamet who said that – not me.

Spielberg

Oscar-worthy apparel

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Advertisements