Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Movie Dialogue With Astrology

Watching "Streetcar Named Desire" on TV the other night, I noticed a mention of zodiac signs in the dialogue. Such rare occasions always grab my attention. Astrology is a popular interest, in spite of continued attempts by skeptics to discredit it. With this in mind, it's surprising that the subject doesn't come up more often in movie dialogue. Perhaps most screenwriters are skeptics.

Anyway, I've decided to keep track of any mentions I encounter from now on, in a list maintained here, on this post.

For starters
there's a scene in "Carmen Jones", about which I wrote back in October 2007 - the relevant paragraph:


"I was pleased, for once, to see an astrological chart as a wall display in a scene in the movie. Talk of "bad luck in the cards" was included in the same scene. A character later threw a half-eaten peach across the room, it hit the first house on the chart - a bad omen indeed, as events unfolded - although a hit on eighth house might have been more astrologically correct. "


Next one:

In "Streetcar Named Desire" there's some dialogue between Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando, (playing Blanche and Stanley):

"Stanley! What sign were you born under? - What sign? Astrological sign. I bet you were born under Aries. Aries people are forceful and dynamic. They dote on noise! They love to bang things around!"

Stanley tells her that he was born just five minutes after Christmas.

"Oh, Capricorn the goat," she says with a look on her face that tells how aptly the astrological sign describes Stanley Kowalski.

I'll add to the, as yet very small, list and re-post it whenever I come across more myself.

Any more from anyone else?~~~~~Do tell!

Jennifer (see her comment) has added this from "Harvey"
Mrs. Simmons,
what is your brother's name?

I'm sorry. Life is
not easy for any of us.

It's Dowd.
Elwood P. Dowd.


Elwood P. Dowd.
His age?

Forty-two
the th of last April.

He's Taurus,
Taurus the bull.

I'm Leo, and Myrtle's on the
cusp. You have him with you now?

Oh, yes. He's outside
waiting in a taxi cab.


Another update ~~ I've just remembered an old post of mine about "Gone With the Wind" and a zodiac connection. Not exactly what I'm looking for now, but close-ish.

Penelope added this: thank you, Penelope!

I don't have a copy to quote from but L.P Hartley's The Go-Between ('The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.') refers somewhere in the first chapters to the zodiac, potently enough for me to recall.

It seems that the "hero" of the tale was called Leo - a clue as to how any conversation about zodiac signs began?
Summer 1900: Queen Victoria's last and the summer Leo turns 13. He's the guest of Marcus, a wealthy classmate, at a grand home in rural Norfolk. Leo is befriended by Marian, Marcus's twenty-something sister, a beauty about to be engaged to Hugh, a viscount and good fellow....


Pen came back later to add more on this (thanks, Pen - sterling work!)
Curiosity piqued, I had to go and have the book fetched from the library stack. On
p. 3 Leo is describing his new diary for 1900:
"... round the year thus confidently heralded, the first year of the century, winged with hope, clustered th signs of the zodiac, each somehow contriving to suggest a plenitude of life and power, each glorious, though differing from the others in glory. ... I remembered ... their shapes and attitudes ... the magic with which they were then invested, and the tingling sense of coming fruition they conveyed ..."

Anonymous has contributed this - thanks Anon!
In the wonderful film, Bell, Book and Candle, Manhattan witches Kim Novak, Elsa Lancaster and Jack Lemmon spend a Christmas evening at the Zodiac Club. When Jimmy Stewart seeks to gain entrance to the club, he has to tell the doorman his birthdate.

ANY MORE - anyone? So far these are all old movies. Any more modern examples?

16 comments:

Jennifer said...

In the play Harvey, Elwood's sister mentions their signs and birthdays. I have the same birthday as Elwood :)

Twilight said...

Jennifer - Hi! thanks for that.

Ha! Yes, I've found the dialogue of the movie on-line and spotted the part you mention. I'm adding it to the post, along with a note pointing to your comment.

Thanks again!

Wisewebwoman said...

Well, on topic or close to it, T. One of my favourite quotes of all time:

"Oh, Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon... we have the stars." ~ Bette Davis as Charlotte Vale in "Now, Voyager"

XO
WWW

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ That's a wonderfully entertaining movie - and a great quote! Thanks, WWW :-) Close - but no astrological cigar ;-)

Penelope said...

I don't have a copy to quote from but L.P Hartley's The Go-Between ('The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.') refers somewhere in the first chapters to the zodiac, potetnly enough for me to recall — but vaguely ... must look it up again. Am enjoying your postings.

anthonynorth said...

I suspect it might not always be the writers who don't mention it - more the editors.
I can recall from the times in the past when my work was professionally edited for publication, so much was taken out to fall in line with 'policy'.

Twilight said...

Penelope ~~ Hi! Thanks for adding more information for me to investigate. I haven't found an on-line copy of the dialogue, so far, but will keep looking, also, if I find a used copy of the book on my travels around junk stores I'll grab it and look for the part you mention.

I saw the movie years ago, but have no memory of it now. It's a very English tale, I think. I've looked at the synopsis on-line and it seems that the "hero" was called Leo - a clue as to how any conversation about zodiac signs began?

Summer 1900: Queen Victoria's last and the summer Leo turns 13. He's the guest of Marcus, a wealthy classmate, at a grand home in rural Norfolk. Leo is befriended by Marian, Marcus's twenty-something sister, a beauty about to be engaged to Hugh, a viscount and good fellow....

Twilight said...

AN ~~~ Yes, that's a strong possibility! How galling for writers to have their work mangled by editors! It's a good thing I never did get into that sphere - I wouldn't have been able to put up with anyone editing me. LOL!
Control freak? Hardly. That's the editor!

Anonymous said...

In the wonderful film, Bell,Book and Candle, Manhatten witches Kim Novak, Elsa Lancaster and Jack Lemmon spend a Christmas evening at the Zodiac Club. When Jimmy Stewart seeks to gain entrance to the club, he has to tell the doorman his birthdate.

Twilight said...

Anonymous ~~Hi! Oh good one! Thanks for that. I'll include it in the post as an update along with Penelope's.

pen said...

Curiosity piqued, I had to go and have the book fetched from the library stack. On p. 3 Leo is describing his new diary for 1900: '... round the year thus confidently heralded, the first year of the century, winged with hope, clustered th signs of the zodiac, each somehow contriving to suggest a plenitude of life and power, each glorious, though differing from the others in glory. ... I remembered ... their shapes and attitudes ... the magic with which they were then invested, and the tingling sense of coming fruition they conveyed ...'

Twilight said...

Pen ~~~ Thanks so much! I've added that to the post. It's a lovely quote. The author obviously had some understanding of astrology. I'm glad! :-)

Shawn Carson said...

"We are all in the gutter. But some of us are looking at the stars" Oscar Wilde.

"We are all of us in the gutter. Some of us are looking at the stars" Message of Love by The Pretenders

Twilight said...

Shawn ~~~ Thanks for that. Good quote from Mr. Wilde! It's another one that isn't quite astrology-specific enough to add to the little list up there though. So like WWW, you get "close, but no astrological cigar!" ;-)

Jara said...

I love + own "Carmen Jones", but never noticed the astrology mention. Cool. :)

I wrote a post about how astrology is discussed quite a bit in Paul Newman's "Harper". You'll probably get a kick out of it.

Twilight said...

Jara ~~~ Many thanks for this, Jara - I don't think I've seen "Harper" but will try to find a DVD and do so.

Your comment is timely! I'm going to re-post this at the weekend, with your addition as well as one we came across just last evening in a DVD we were watching.
That's synchronicity at work! You reminded me of this 2009 post.
Thanks again.