FLASHBACK: Lyn Brown -- The poet had a passion about great writing

POET LYN BROWN LIVED IN OATLEY, A TINY SUBURB OF SYDNEY, NSW, WITH HUSBAND FRED FOR 51 OF HER 84 YEARS. THIS STORY WAS WRITTEN AT THE BEHEST OF HER HUSBAND WHO SAID THAT, “LYN CONSIDERS THAT SHE IS NEITHER FAMOUS NOR NOTORIOUS. THE DISTRICT IS THE FREQUENT BACKGROUND OF MANY OF HER POEMS.” SHE TALKS PASSIONATELY ABOUT ALL ASPECTS OF HER WRITING.

FRANK MORRIS

POEM WRITING: WHEN YOU TRAVEL TEN MILES DOWNSTREAM YOU'LL BE SURROUNDED BY THE NEAR TRANQUILITY OF NATURE. BELOW: "MY BOOKS CONTAIN THOUGHTS AND MEMORIES I'D LIKE TO SHARE WHILE I AM STILL ABLE TO," SAYS LYN BROWN.

Lyn’s great passion for writing and reading has not wavered. Her last book, Fire and Water, was published last year (2001) and contains 88 poems, fifty-seven of them were written between 1999 and 2000.

Says Lyn: “I am usually out of bed at the crack of dawn, sitting in my ‘work’ corner, writing or ruminating about a poem. It’s the best time of the day for it. One is fresh and clear of mind.”

Did she mind Fred putting pen to paper?

“No,” she says, “I am, unashamedly, a self-confessed publicity seeker – by not for the obvious reasons. I believe it is important to communicate the fact that people are out there doing things, doing them well and enjoying what they do.

“It gives great encouragement to others who might feel reticent in having a go.”

THE MILES DOWNSTREAM

Lyn’s poems have been published in leading Australian and international literary journals. Many of her poems also appear in anthologies published in 1980 and 1982. Copies of her later collections, Ten Miles Downstream and Fire and Water, are in the local library.

Her favourite poems are contained in Ten Miles Downstream. The fact that she could walk to the Georges River from her parents’ home at ‘rural’ Fairfield (west of Sydney), where she was born, provided a ready-made title.
Says Lyn: “I’ve been here and there in the world, but in a sense it seems than in my eight decades of life I have simply travelled 10 miles downstream.”

POEMS TELL THE STORIES

Many of the 66 poems in this collection first appeared in such journals as Meanjin, Southerly, the Sydney Morning Herald and several others. The poems have been described as being “like the gentle unfolding of the poet’s life,” which has been lived “with keen sensitivity to the events around her.”

Her last book, Fire and Water, was published in 2001.

Says Lyn: “The poems are narrative and reflective, covering my eighty four years of life and containing thoughts and memories I would like to share while I am still able to record them. I have tried to let the poems tell the stories.”
Her other collected works include Late Summer (1970), Jacaranda and Illawarra Flame (1973) and Going Home at Night (1979).

<< Part of an interview adapted from The Poet of Oatley published in Best Years, 2002.

COMING: Beryl Thompson was head buyer at a Sydney department store. She had been a poet for nearly 40 years.


FILM GREAT: Casablanca – Melodrama, flawlessly acted!

BOGART’S FAÇADE OF NEUTRALITY BEGINS TO WEAKEN AS HE RECALLS BITTERSWEET MEMORIES.

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

SELECTED: CASABLANCA WAS CHOSEN AS THE MOVIE OF THE 1940S. BOGART WAS HE HEAD OF THE PACK … AND BERGMAN HIS BITTERSWEET EX-LOVER.

Casablanca, released in 1943, has became a recognised screen classic and is considered by many to be the representative picture of the forties. Humphery Bogart played Rick, the owner of Rick’s Café Americain, a night club and focal point for intrigue in Casablanca.

A glossy, star-laden sentimental melodrama it owes it success to a gallery of fine performances and to their almost miraculous interplay with each other.

The plot revolved around an assortment of strongly delineated characters coming into Rick’s night club … as refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe (seek) to gain exit visas to Lisbon. Bogart, playing the café’s owner, is a former soldier of fortune and one who has grown tired of smuggling and fighting …

Even loyalty to a friend doesn’t move him as he refuses to help Ugarte, Peter Lorre, a desperately frightened little courier who is fleeing from the police. Ugarte is shot and killed only moments later, but not before he has given Rick two letters of transit.

Emphatically, Bogart says, “I stick my neck out for nobody.”

Past love affair

But we know he will do just that …with a beautiful woman, Ingrid Bergman; he still loves and bitterly remembers.
Bergman is married to an underground leader, Paul Henreid, and desperatety needs those papers Bogart conveniently now has in his possession. The cynical Bogart’s façade of neutrality begins to weaken as he recalls the bittersweet memories of his past love affair.

(They were memories triggered repeatedly by the theme, As Time Goes By, which comes from Sam, his piano-playing confidante, played by Dooley Wilson.)

Bogart refuses to help her, still resentful of her desertion of him on the eve of their departure from Paris. She explains that she was married to Henreid at the time she fell in love Bogart; she had believed him to have been killed.

But when she found that her husband was alive, she felt obligated to return to him. Bogart is convinced she is telling the truth. He finally sets up an involved plan which succeeds when Bergman and Henreid are safely placed on the plane to Lisbon.

Intermixed with this intrigue are all the fascinating and beautifully acted supporting roles. With his customary skill, Claude Rains as Major Renault, a prefect of police, who is like Bogart in many ways, claims neutrality but is definitely against the Nazis.

Magic! Bogart and Bergman

He is Bogart’s most devoted adversary, tauntingly calling the man a “sentimentalist” and delivering his share of cynical and amusing lines.

Rains shares the final memorable scene of the film: after Bergman’s plane takes off, he and Bogart walk off into the misty night, two men who are sentimentalists and now share the common bond of being patriots.

As Major Strasser, Conrad Veidt was the very essence of German rigidity – unfeeling, unconcerned about life – but firmly believing in the foolish ideology of his Nazi compatriots. Sydney Greenstreet, as Senor Farrari, a black marketeer who is on good terms with Bogart.

The magic that developed from the teaming of Bogart and Bergman was enough to make a new romantic figure out of the former tough guy. He now added the softening traits of tenderness and compassion and a feeling of heroic commitment to the cause.

Casablanca brought Bogart his first Academy Award nomination. He lost to Paul Lukas for Watch On the Rhine. – Adapted by Frank Morris.

<< The adaption of Casablanca came from the book, Humphrey Bogart by Alan G. Barbour, published as The Pictorial Treasury of Film Stars; Galahad Book, New York; 1973.

Illustrations: A line or three: Bogart is unrelenting about what he says to Bergman. Loyalty: “Emphatically, no” said Bogart to Ugarte.


OZ SPOT: Chips Rafferty – “He was fit for the stars”

TALKING ABOUT HIS OWN MOVIE DEBUT IN AUSTRALIA’S FIRST ‘TALKIE’ HE SAID, “I WORKED FOR FIVE WEEKS ON THAT FILM AND IF YOU HAD BLINKED YOU WOULD HAVE MISSED ME.”

FRANK MORRIS

STOOD OUT: TALL AND LEAN CHIPS RAFFERTY (CENTRE) SURROUNDED BY CHARLES TINGWELL, CHARACTER UNIDENTIFIED, AND POPULAR BRITISH ACTOR GORDON JACKSON IN BITTER SPRINGS. FROM THE OVERLANDERS TO WAKE IN FRIGHT, NOBODY WOULD TANGLE WITH CHIPS/* RAFFERTY. BELOW: ILMA ADEY AND CHIP RAFFERTY IN KING OF THE CORAL SEA, THE STORY OF ILLEGAL SMUGGLING ISLAND IMMIGRANTS INTO AUSTRALIA.

In 1971 Chips Rafferty, who was for two decades one of Australia’s top-ranking film stars, died suddenly of a heart attack, aged sixty-one. He was walking near his home when he suffered the attack.

Born John Pilbeam Goffage at Broken Hill, NSW, Rafferty’s life as a young man, according to a reliable biographical profile, was one “of fits and starts.”

A talented artist who at one time studied briefly at the Royal Art Society, Sydney, he had various jobs in and around NSW and Queensland as an apprentice iron moulder, cellarman, kangaroo shooter, drover, opal gouger and gold fossicker.

At 29 years of age the tall, lean awkward looking Rafferty made his film debut in 1938 in a minor part in the Australian talkie, Ants in His Pants. Although it was only a bit part, he said, “I worked for five weeks on the film and if you blinked you would have missed me.”

The following year, he starred with the patriarchal Bert Bailey in Dad Rudd MP as a comical member of a fire brigade crew.

WAS GIVEN PRAISE

He later starred in The Lives of Joanna Godden with Googie Withers, Eureka Stockade, Bitter Springs, The Overlanders, Forty Thousand Horsemen, Smiley, King of the Coral Sea and Walk into Paradise, which was the first Australian movie to be shown at the Cannes Film Festival.

Another film for which was praise was given was the Overlanders. Made in 1946, the British film “was considered an Australian and international success,” said Judith Adamson, who wrote Australian Film Posters 1906-1960.

PROJECT A SUCCESS

Australian Prime Minister, Mr J. B. Chifley, said “the production of the Overlanders on a multilingual basis will help greatly to publicise our country throughout the world … I believe that a production like the Overlanders adds to the dignity and importance of the film industry …”

“Suddenly, feature production ceased in Australia until 1965. Southern International was the last of the old Australian companies left.”

Rafferty’s last feature film role, and probably his best characterisation by far, was the police chief Jock Crawford in Wake in Fright in 1971. Which, of course, was described as a “watershed for the emerging Australian film industry.”
Frank Morris comments: What will the Australian film industry do for Chips Rafferty in three years time – the anniversary of his death? We’ll have to wait and see.


FLASHBACK: Going, going, gone – Stradivari goes for over cool $ million

FRANK MORRIS

MILES AHEAD: THE STRADIVARI VIOLIN, MISSING IN ITS CASE, WAS FOUND IN A CLOSET IN A FRENCH VILLAGE YEARS LATER.

The Stradivari cellos are considered to be one of the sweetest sounds you will hear from such an instrument, that’s why Antonio Stradivari must be spinning in his grave. One of his Stradivarius cellos, circa 1698, was sold for a record for $1.3 million at Southey’s, London, in 1988.

According to the International Herald Tribune, “the previous record for a cellos was $800,000.”

It was also made by the Italian master instrument maker, Stradivari. Apart from the fact that he brought his craft to a high-pitch of perfection, one of the secrets of Stradivari’s cellos and violins and other wood instruments was the varnish.

It’s classical ingredients have never been discovered.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 06 July 18

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