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Poets' Favorite Movies

John Allman

The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
Blade Runner
(1982)
The Bride of Frankenstein
(1935)
The Hunger
(1983)
Jacob's Ladder
(1990)
Ride the Pink Horse
(1947)
The Seventh Seal
(1957)
The Third Man
(1949)
Twelve O'Clock High
(1949)
Young Frankenstein
(1974)

"I taught science fiction for over ten years and loved it. Mainstream critics, I discovered, do rather poorly in evaluating most SF movies. They get put off by the slime factor—but that's what a lot of SF does—it gets real physical. They bombed what is now a classic, Blade Runner. They couldn't stand the remake of The Thing, which was truly close to the John W. Campbell's original story, "Who Goes There?" because the effects were so "disgusting." Get over it!  I'll tell you what's disgusting. The lack of visual press coverage of the coffins and bags of body parts being sent home from Iraq. Photos of the disfigured wounded. Bush's grin—now, that's really disgusting.

"If I had to list war movies, I'd certainly list Platoon.

"I also liked All That Jazz quite a bit. Love allegory or symbolism when it's well done. Though in this area, the silliest movie I ever saw must be Incubus (1966), with everyone speaking in Esperanto, with William Shatner. I laugh at it, but I and Eileen and her niece and niece's husband were trying to speak Esperanto all the next day.

"I still remember when I lived in the East Village in NYC, in 1959, walking in on The Seventh Seal, having no idea what the movie was. The whole world was in black-and-white for days after."


John Allman’s previous books of poetry and fiction from New Directions are Curve Away from Stillness: Science Poems (1989), Scenarios for a Mixed Landscape (1986), Clio’s Children (1985), and Descending Fire & Other Stories  (1994).  His poems have appeared in The Yale Review, 5 AM, Crazyhorse, North Dakota Quarterly, Kestrel, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Full Circle.  He has twice been awarded a National Endowment of the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship in Poetry.  His forthcoming collection of poems, also from New Directions, is called Lowcountry.

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Speechless Spring 2007
Copyright © 2007 Published by
Tebot Bach