Monday, January 31, 2011

One of the Best: John Barry

John Barry has died and though his scores, heavy on strings and sentimentality, went out of style in the seventies and eighties during the John Williams-centered universe of movie scoring, which itself went out of style with the song-oriented and electronica scores of the nineties on, I always loved his music. In fact, his scores for You Only Live Twice and Somewhere in Time are two of my favorites.

He was my favorite movie composer and the list of his scores that are among the best ever scored is too long for this space. Just go to his Wikipedia entry and look at the impressive number of films he scored and then, if you can, find as many as are available and listen to them.

Rest in Peace, John Barry.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Why Science Fiction No Longer Appeals to Me

I started writing this post before The Siren published her post on science fiction films she likes a couple of days ago. This was unexpected. Having a post on sci-fi coincide with a post by The Siren's Farran Smith Nehme on sci-fi movies is a bit like putting up a post on westerns only to have Arbogast put up a list of his ten favorite John Wayne/John Ford collaborations at the same time. It's not impossible but you figured this was one area in which you'd never have to compete. As such, I've slightly altered this post in response to what transpired at The Siren's place where, as is common, her post has already logged 12,847 comments, or something close. I was the first to comment on the post and made reference to how Star Wars was not sci-fi. I now feel the need to defend that statement here which, it turns out, I was going to do anyway, deep within the post itself but only as side thought. Now, however, I feel I must make it more of a "front and center" kind of a statement. With that in mind, let us now delve into the original post itself, altered only slightly in response to The Siren's post.


I have long since touted my love for science fiction on these pages and made clear that it was older sci-fi that appealed to me. In fact, so little modern sci-fi appeals to me that I have begun to wonder if I really love sci-fi at all or if I am simply nostalgic for the movies of my youth. At what point does saying sci-fi hasn't appealed to me in the last twenty years simply become an admission that I just don't like sci-fi or, at the very least, that it's not my favorite genre? But if it's not, why do I keep saying I love it so much?

Some of this question was answered for me the other day after I watched an episode of The Outer Limits, courtesy of my Amazon Video on Demand Library in combination with my Roku. And not just any episode but perhaps the most famous episode, Demon with a Glass Hand, written by Harlan Ellison. The episode is science fiction through and through. Most modern sci-fi isn't. I suppose the best place to start is by defining, to some degree, science fiction, at least to the degree to which we're discussing genre in film and television, not necessarily literature.

Genre definitions are often confused for setting by many people who associate tell-tale visuals with similar story lines. Genre, of course, is not setting, not location, but story and how that story is told. A musical has no setting, it can take place in Hollywood at the advent of the sound era (Singin' in the Rain), in Paris during the fifties (An American in Paris) or in Russia in 1905 (Fiddler on the Roof). The location's not the thing, it's the telling of the story through song that is. Similarly, a western can take place in the desert (Stagecoach), a mountain valley (Shane) or outer space (Outland). It doesn't have to be in the west, it has to tell its story in a certain way, although, unlike any other genre, its very title, Western, denotes a location. A horror movie can be about fantastical monsters or down to earth serial killers and it can take place any place, any time. Again, setting doesn't matter, story does.

And so, while watching and enjoying Demon with the Glass Hand I couldn't help but think about science fiction and how it too relies on story, not location. Science fiction, to take its most basic definition straight from the first line of its entry on Wikipedia, "is a genre of fiction dealing with the impact of imagined innovations in science or technology, often in a futuristic setting." Demon with a Glass Hand deals with technology directly as the thrust of its story. A man, Trent (Robert Culp), is being pursued by an alien race who want control of a glass computer attached to his wrist in the form of a hand. This alien race attacked earth 1,000 years into the future and have now chased Trent back through time to acquire the computer because only it knows what happened to humanity: all humans vanished without a trace after the invasion and the aliens began to mysteriously die off.

Demon with a Glass Hand takes place in the present day and almost entirely inside an abandoned office building. The location doesn't make it science fiction, the story does. To help understand that statement better, let's use Star Wars as an example.

Star Wars takes place in space, on distant planets and, most famously, in a galaxy far, far away. This has caused many to confuse location with story but the story is clearly one of mythological fantasy, not science fiction. The story is about dark lords and princesses and knights, not technology turned against man ala Blade Runner or The Terminal Man. It's not about the exploration of alien races ala 2001: A Space Odyssey or Close Encounters of the Third Kind although it clearly does include alien races of all kinds. But the story - the story - isn't about anything technical or scientific, it's about mythology.

Most people wouldn't look at a movie that takes place in France, say, Les Diaboliques, and happily claim, "It's a musical!"

"Why," you might ask.

"Because," they respond, "it takes place in France. Like Can-Can, Gigi, An American in Paris, Les Miserables..."

They continue because, well, a lot of musicals take place in France. But just because a movie takes place in France, that doesn't mean it's a musical, does it?

Star Wars runs into this same problem. "How's it not sci-fi? It takes place in space!" Yes. Yes, it does. But it's story is rooted in fantasy, adventure and mythology. It's comparable to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, not The Matrix trilogy. As Ebeneezer Scrooge might say, "There's more Mists of Avalon than Avatar about you."

But what does any of this have to do with me not liking science fiction. Because science fiction tends to mix the fantasy/mythological/action elements in these days and less the pure sci-fi. Star Wars goddamn space setting all but assured that the sci-fi of 2001: A Space Odyssey would take a back seat to sci-fi more concerned with action than ideas.

None of this is to say that a generous portion of sci-fi hasn't always done this anyway, but for every action-filled War of the Worlds there was a Destination Moon, Forbidden Planet, Day the Earth Stood Still or The Incredible Shrinking Man. Special effects played into all of those but it was the ideas held the movies together, not the action. When it comes to the ideas holding everything together it seems television is the last holdout for sci-fi purists (literature, of course, remains free of this problem).

Television gave us Star Trek (in all of its permutations), Space 1999, The X-Files and Lost which all concentrated on story over action. The cinema continues to deliver sci-fi but even the best of it, like Terminator (which borrows heavily from Ellison's Soldier episode of The Outer Limits), tends to cross genres and end up more as an action/thriller than pure sci-fi. Probably the best sci-fi movie I've seen in the last twenty years would be Steven Spielberg's A.I.: Artificial Intelligence which took a science fiction story and didn't back away from it by injecting large amounts of action and adventure. Another Spielberg sci-fi, Minority Report, does an excellent job as well but definitely leans more towards being classified as a mystery/thriller than science fiction. A.I. is pure sci-fi, and maybe that's why it's among my favorites in the genre even if movies like A.I. don't come along very often anymore.

So, do I still like science fiction movies? Yes, very much. I just don't like the more action/thriller oriented sci-fi movies of today, I suppose, which is kind of like being a fan of a dead language. I like it but no one uses it anymore and finding it in its pure form seems harder and harder, although it does exist (Moon, Primer). But for better or worse, most cinematic sci-fi now means sci-fi/action/thriller with no signs of turning back. As Caesar might say, "Alea iacta est."


Since I only mention the Star Wars genre mash-up briefly, I thought it might be of help to link to another article that covers it completely. It wasn't hard to find one and this one, Star Wars is not Science Fiction, seems to cover it more thoroughly than any other I found. It delves into sci-fi literature as well and raises many of the same points I raise here about location and setting but goes a bit further into what makes a story "science fictional" in its telling. I recommend it highly as a deeper examination of what I only touched on here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

In the Cutting Room

It's been a week since I posted here and I guess I should have mentioned this earlier but I didn't think it would take this long. I'm working on a couple of short movies right now (montage/commercial for one, pointless short subject for the other) and that's kept me away from writing. Should just be another week.

For the commercial, I'm attempting to bring together some noir elements in a short montage to promote the For the Love of Film Blogathon coming up very soon, hosted by Ferdy on Films and The Self-Styled Siren. It's been a difficult process. Last year, I put together two commercials for the blogathon but, frankly, that was a lot easier. We were fundraising to restore one or more of the films located in a New Zealand film archive and all I had to do was piece together some footage that the National Film Preservation Foundation sent me, lay down a track of my own music for one and Beethoven's for the other, edit them to about a minute in length and I was good to go.

This time, however, it's film noir and everyone knows film noir. Do I try to include a clip from every famous noir? No, simply not possible unless I want the commercial to run twenty minutes and lose my mind in the process. How about picking and choosing then? Well, I have to but what to choose? The initial problem came down to this: How inclusive do I want to be? Should I just do classic black and white noir from the forties and fifties or include color films from the time (Niagara) as well as modern noirs from later (Chinatown, The Long Goodbye, The Conversation, Body Heat)? How about sci-fi noir like Blade Runner? Shouldn't Mullholland Dr be in there somewhere? Finally, to keep the aesthetic consistent within the piece, I decided to go with just the classic black and white noir of the forties and fifties, the kind most readily associated with the genre. It makes for a better visual presentation of ideas than trying to get everything into one mix.

Then I wondered about the music. Should it be the kind of cool jazz one associates with noir but, oddly, never really appeared in much or any of it in the forties and early fifties? No, I felt that limited the piece in tone when I was going for something more expansive and broad. So I decided on a modern piece of electronica instead, kind of a compromise in leaving out the modern stuff but including music that spoke to the piece emotionally.

Now I just have to finish the damn thing and hope the music I've chosen doesn't cause it to be removed immediately upon completion because if it does I don't have any backup. I haven't written any music that really works with it and don't want to have to although I'm sure I could tin-pan-alley my way through a composition in a day or so if need be.

So, that's what I'm doing.

And that short subject? My answer film to Warhol's Empire. I call it, Chrysler. Here's what I've got so far. Just need twenty more hours of this and I'm golden. See you later in the week!

Monday, January 17, 2011

"It defeats its own purpose!"

Amazon Video on Demand gives you the option to play the first two minutes of a movie for free before deciding if you want to rent or buy it. This is clearly a hat tip to modern day movie making in which a long parade of opening credits almost never happens anymore, at least not without some kind of action taking place behind it, or the credits themselves being a kind of CGI short film. However, for many older films, this option is somewhat laughable; opening credits were longer back then and, often, you were past the two minute mark before anything outside of credits even appeared on the screen!

With some movies, this option is absolutely absurd. 2001: A Space Odyssey, for instance. The first several minutes contain an overture, meaning it's a black screen with music by Gy├Ârgy Ligeti, music that is practically inaudible for the first minute. And it's not just 2001 where this option fails. Frankly, it fails on most movies. Even modern movies that don't like a long opening credit sequence without some form of action don't get the story rolling until well after the two minute mark. A better option might be to give the potential renter a choice of seeing two minutes from a point randomly selected somewhere in the movie, although my reckless side thinks giving the option of watching the last two minutes would be worth, at least, a foolhardy try. And to make it worth everyone's while, the movies should be queued up so that the "last two minutes" means the last two minutes of actual action. With most modern movies and their 12 minute long credit rolls, viewing the last two minutes wouldn't tell you much more than who the caterers were, who did the casting and what songs were featured on the soundtrack. So, again, the last two minutes would have to be the actual last two minutes of cinematic screen action before the final cut or fade.

One of the pros of watching the ending is that most movies don't have twists that occur within the last two minutes, often leaving time for the final denouement after the twist. For instance, in a "big twist" movie from the nineties, The Shawshank Redemption, the last two minutes don't reveal the twist but instead Morgan Freeman walking along a wall, extracting a box full of money and meeting Tim Robbins on the beach. To someone who'd never seen it, this might elicit a "What the... What's that all about? How'd they get to that ending I wonder?" As such, think of the curiosity struck by seeing the last two minutes of some very famous movies had you never seen them before.

"Hey, the catatonic guy in the bed just got smothered to death by a big guy who then threw a sink through the window. The fuck?"

"Hey, look, it's kind of like a Nazi rally and those two guys are getting medals while a couple of robots and a big dog-man look on. Wow, what the hell connects those dots?"

"Check it out, there's this dock worker, all bloodied and beaten, walking towards a ship and a bunch of guys are following him. Huh?"

"Someone's slaughtering a water buffalo or cow or something while another guy whacks some big bald guy. Isn't this about Vietnam?! How the hell'd we get here?"

"Cool, the guy in the French hat totally covered for the guy in the trench coat and now they're walking off into the fog talking about their friendship. Wonder where that came from."

Of course, while it may make watching the whole movie enticing in some cases, on the whole, it's probably too risky watching the last two minutes. I mean, "Rosebud," "Forget it, Jake, it's Chinatown," "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn," and "It's the stuff dreams are made of" kind of spoil the climax in a major way and happen right at the end.

Which leaves us with two minutes selected from a random point in the movie. This is my personal choice and here's my completely unscientific reason why: How many times have you been flipping through the channels and seen a movie starting, then decided to keep on flipping to see what else is on while that movie started? And you did this because you knew the first couple of minutes didn't matter that much for your casual late night, channel-flipping purposes. You wanted to see what else was on, right? Now, how many times have you been flipping through the channels and come across a scene from a movie, at some random point in said movie, and been transfixed? Exactly.

Online rental companies, drop the first two minutes preview. It's crap. Give me two minutes at random and I'll given you purchases that are specific, and I'll do it all in under sixty seconds.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Short List: Carol Haney

On the list of musicals I don't like, The Pajama Game ranks pretty high. Almost nothing in it appeals to me and some of it, like the Once a Year number at the company picnic, seems almost too cute to stomach. I can't deny the talent and likability of John Raitt and Doris Day (even if Day seems a little half-hearted) but there's still very little here to inspire me or catch my interest.

Except Carol Haney.

She has the supporting role as Gladys Hotchkiss, a role created from two separate characters for her after impressing the director with her talents. She went on to win the Tony for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical and then reprised her role for the film (she had small parts in a few other films but this was her one major role). And thank god she did because she carries the whole damn thing and does it without missing a beat. Her incredible charisma and "playing to the rafters" style clearly caught the eye of everyone involved in the original Broadway production because she's the lead dancer and singer of every important/good number in the show/movie: Hernando's Hideaway, Steam Heat and, hell, even that Once a Year number I don't like has its moments: the moments when Carol Haney's the main dancer on screen.

She's also an effective comedian, even if her delivery style is B-I-G with a capitol every-damn-letter. But that's the thing; The Pajama Game, about pajama factory union workers trying for more pay while finding love on the job, is pretty dull storytelling that only benefits from the electric style of a Haney. In fact, in as far as it does entertain, it entertains mainly because it has some engaging numbers and those numbers are only engaging because 1) Bob Fosse choreographs them and 2) Carol Haney performs them. Had those two not been involved I don't think this would have ever made it out of previews (well, okay, it would've but it wouldn't have been the same). Sometimes the talents of a great choreographer and dancer can make a show, and this is one of those cases.

But Carol Haney did so much more. She assisted Gene Kelly with the choreography of every major film he did and went on to win three more Tony awards for her own choreography on Broadway. Sadly, Carol died at the age of 39 from pneumonia, made worse by diabetes. She was an immense talent and her one major film credit, The Pajama Game, shows her at her best. Thank goodness we have it.


The Short List, so far, can be viewed here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Carl Denham and the Movie of Mystery

Has anyone ever figured out just exactly what movie Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) was planning on making in the original, and awesomely great, King Kong (1933)? I love the movie and, honestly, a part of its appeal is trying to decipher from the available evidence just what kind of movie Denham planned on making anyway.

Let's see, first we've got his reputation. It most definitely precedes him as an adventurous filmmaker who films dangerous animals, and dangerous situations, in the wild. Kong was made in 1933 and Trader Horn was still pretty fresh out of the hit factory from 1931 so I'm thinking he does movies like that. Also, as far as his reputation goes, he wastes little time discussing anything that doesn't concern how absolutely fucking awesome, courageous and big-cocked he is. Yeah, he's pretty high on himself.

Second, he just has to have an actress. This seems very important to him. When the actress he has backs out (or so he says), he goes to skid row to exploit - I mean - find a young woman, Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) to fill the role.

Third, we've got the island. He knows about it and Kong and judging from the gas bombs he brought he knows about how big Kong is, too.

So, he makes adventures and his alleged movie involves a female character and Kong. Now, we know how these elements come together in the movie we're watching, but Carl is utterly taken by surprise by this outcome (in which Ann is ritualistically offered up to Kong who takes her to be his own). He didn't see that coming at all so clearly that wasn't his plan for the movie. Which leaves us with the footage he shoots of Ann on the ship pretending to see something horrifying and screaming and the footage he gets of the Kong Wedding Rites before he and his ship mates are discovered.

To make matters worse, once he captures Kong he stops filming altogether. Rather than shoot a movie he simply puts Kong on some kind of Vaudeville/Hollywood Revue Mash-Up Tour. That, as we all know, ends in what can only be described as both a categorically and definitionally epic fail. When your revue ends up causing city-wide panic and the destruction of entire sections of subway line, brother, you done fucked up bad.

And all of this, surely, cost a fortune. So, what can we conclude? Well, I'll be honest: I think Carl Denham is a total fraud, a pipe dreamer of the pipe dreamers, a director who sells you a river and delivers a wet rag. See, I think that footage he shot was the movie. I think that's all he had. Seriously. You know that whole rigmarole he gives Ann on the ship about how he had to fire his last cameraman because he was afraid of a charging rhino? That's pretty convenient, isn't it? Sure, that's why he has no cameraman. He had to fire him because he was a coward. I mean, he's this great filmmaker but he's got no crew. None! No actors, no cameraman, no nobody. He's by himself.

"Oh well, the boom operator was lily-livered and the sound man, uh, he was, uh, really stupid. Yeah, he was stupid! So I fired him, too. And the actors, um, well, uh, they all quit on me..." And so on. Carl keeps inventing reasons why no one is working with him, and they're all, coincidentally, centered around the fact that nobody is as bloody goddamned awesome as he!

Meanwhile, back in Hollywood, the financier he conned into backing the whole damn thing is learning a lesson both valuable and heartbreakingly difficult. I imagine the conversation with his lackey going something like this:

Lackey: "Sir, the Denham movie's finished. He sent us the completed reel."

Financier: "You mean, reels, plural."

Lackey: "No sir, reel. It's four minutes long."

Financier: [stares dumbfounded, struggles for words] "Wh... what is it?"

Lackey: "It appears to be two or so minutes of an unidentified woman screaming on a ship and a lot of people in tribal garb dancing around a woman on a platform."

Financier: [blinks, stares into space momentarily before speaking again] "So... we've still got a lot of money left over then, right?"

Lackey: "No sir. He went 580 percent over-budget."

Financier: "..."

Lackey: "Sir?"

Financier: [stares blankly out window and slowly, almost imperceptibly, utters...] "fuuuuuuuuuck."

Lesson learned, the hard way. When Carl Denham shows up at your door and says he has a plan, run. He may promise you riches, fame and glory but all you'll end up with is a destroyed city, a tarnished reputation and stock footage even Ed Wood couldn't use. When your dreams lay shattered on the floor, and Denham was involved, you can be sure of one thing: It was bullshit killed the beast.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Duke Ellington:
The Afro-Eurasian Eclipse: A Suite in Eight Parts

At the start of Duke Ellington's album, The Afro-Eurasian Eclipse: A Suite in Eight Parts, Ellington himself speaks for a couple of minutes about the whole world "going Oriental." Apparently, Marshall McLuhan said something to that effect (read full incomprehensible statement here) and while McLuhan had some good points buried in his "going Oriental" statement (mainly because he threw every idea he had about Indochina at the wall and by happenstance, some of it stuck) none of it really matters to the music that follows. Still, Ellington delivers his monologue sincerely and intones that he and his band mates have, in their travels, "noticed this to be true" (that everyone is going Oriental, that is - were The Vapors inspired by this too? Do we have McLuhan to blame for Turning Japanese?). Ellington's enunciation is so precise and eloquent I don't even care what he's says, I just like listening to how he says it. He speaks as if he's teaching someone how to pronounce the words properly in English and the result is, in it's own way, a kind of Ellington a capella lead-in.

The music that follows doesn't match up against the extraordinary body of work Ellington produced before it but then, how could it? What it does do, and rather well, is take Big Band Jazz, Eastern and Western instrumentation, Oliver Nelson-style television theme scoring and rock-centered backbeats and blend it into an exciting mix of something one could call Big Band Fusion. The first track, Chinoiserie, opens with Ellington hammering away at the piano, solo for a minute or so before the horns come in and transform the sound into something slightly menacing and dangerous. In fact, most of the album's mere eight songs evoke feelings of disquiet and unease. It's easily one of the most atmospherically successful albums ever produced.

This mood carries through the first six songs, even as each one takes a slightly different tack. Didjeridoo, despite it title, evokes nothing of the outback but much of risky urban life. Afrique rolls into its melody with drums meant to evoke tribal rhythms but really sounds more like Benny Carter by way of Max Steiner by way of the 1930's Duke Ellington. Acht O'Clock Rock is Oliver Nelson dramatic punctuation all the way, right down to it's dramatically heightened final chord. Gong brings the rolling drums back in for a thematic reprise of Afrique and Tang opens and closes with sustained brass chords mingled with plucking strings that clearly influenced Bernard Herrman's cue music to the bloody aftermath of Travis Bickle's whorehouse shooting spree for Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver.

It's not until the seventh song that the mood noticeably changes when True brings in the breezy, swinging rhythms of the late fifties/early sixties as a kind of tonic to everything that preceded it. Not that what preceded it was bad, just a bit heavy and True finds a way to lighten the load and allow the listener a breather.

The album finishes with Hard Way which brings everything back home. It's easily the most conventional of all the songs on the album and its placement is no accident. Since the entire album has maintained the air of Big Band Jazz throughout, the final song isn't as jarring as it probably should be, considering it sounds like a piece Ellington could have written in between Sophisticated Lady and In a Sentimental Mood. Instead, it sounds exactly like an encore for a band performing a new sound but not wanting to alienate its audience to the point where they won't return and listen again.

To say the whole album is a pastiche is both true and complimentary while that same term might be derisive when applied to another artist. With Ellington, it isn't, because few composers had the talent and skill to imitate, blend and mesh other styles with their own and make it sound so good. My only complaint is that he didn't conclude the album with another perfectly enunciated monologue designed to gently guide the listener to go back to the start of the album and begin again.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Crushing Disappointment:
Browsing Netflix Instant

Ever since instant streaming became matter of fact in the last couple of years, it has become a familiar pastime to browse through the thousands of titles available at my fingertips, find nothing I want to watch and play with my phone apps. Actually, what happens more often is after 45 minutes of mindless browsing I finally think of a movie I really want to see and when I search for it, sure enough, it's not on instant. Then, desperate, I go to Amazon or i-tunes thinking, "Fuck it, I'll pay the rental fee," and find, alas, it's not available there either.

Yeah, yeah, I know, same old story. 57 channels and nothing on.

The requisite follow-up to such failures in the online cinematic hunting game is to have the very movie I was looking for become available two weeks later at which point I no longer want to see it. The inverse of this is when I pass over the same movie available on Netflix Instant a hundred times, never wanting to see it, then, one day, it's the must-see movie of the moment and, of course, it's been removed from instant.

But all of this is nothing compared with the legion of disappointing "mistaken identity" moments I've had. I don't wear glasses but I think, perhaps, I need to start because I have these mistaken identity moments more than I should. I see a cover similar to another, more famous movie, get excited and then discover it's not only not the movie I was thinking of but the real movie isn't even available. Sometimes, the movie I was thinking of doesn't even exist. Case in point: Earlier this evening I was browsing through the documentary section of Netflix Instant when my eye caught a glimpse of something that sent a jolt of excitement shooting through my brain: Someone at National Geographic, somehow, had greenlighted a documentary on the world's most dangerous pig! I mean, that was the title and everything, "The World's Most Dangerous Pig!" Wow! Within a few milliseconds it morphed into "hog" and then, with a final, closer look, "drug." It said, "The World's Most Dangerous Drug."

Crushing. Disappointment.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Reckoning

It's that time of year when, at work, reconciliation occurs. Roughly, with my new job, that translates into a crap-load of work for me. So for the first week of each new year I'll be otherwise occupied...

...working as hard as Cedric Gibbons trying to figure out how to design that new-fangled Hollywood award, or at least take credit for it...

...working as hard as Louella Parsons trying to figure out how to plant a big wet one on Willy Hearst's ass...

...working as hard as Ron Howard trying to figure out how to craft the perfect porno mustache...

...working as hard as Lucille Ball trying to figure how to get Desi to stop asking if they can do another show together...

...but never, ever, working as hard as this guy. I mean, no one ever worked as hard behind a desk, or better. Let's face it, he was the king, the rest of us just a bunch of lowly peasants.

Oh, the reckoning!