Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Trumbo & Douglas

We watched the movie Trumbo this week, prompted by commenter Sabina that the DVD was now available in rental stores. It's good - very good. We enjoyed every minute of it.

For a passing reader not familiar with the film's theme I'll add this snip from a November 2015 review by Ty Burr in the Boston Globe:

Dalton Trumbo (1905-76), Hollywood screenwriter, defiant victim of the post-WWII blacklist, and nearly as big a legend in the film industry as he was in his own mind. He is played with delicious swagger by Bryan Cranston, whose post-”Breaking Bad” career has addressed itself to the marvelous monsters of biography — this film and his recent turn as LBJ at the American Repertory Theater and on Broadway.

There are other actors in the movie, but most of them fade into the upholstery under the combined assault of Cranston-Trumbo. It’s a fun movie and an overbearing one, patly written and crowded with enjoyable faces. It offers useful and still-necessary moral lessons about remaining true to one’s conscience in times of fear and stupidity (i.e., now). It is a labor of love made by Hollywood insiders, and if it never seems to draw a breath of air from outside the film industry, it may be because its makers rarely do.

But it’s a rollicking good show, with Cranston’s Trumbo a character of the first order: an elitist who knows how to write scripts for the masses. “Trumbo” settles in as the war is coming to a close and the witch hunts begin against anyone who is now or has ever been a member of the Communist Party. That includes many of the screenwriters, who come into the crosshairs of the House Un-American Activities Committee in the late 1940s.

There's already much information around the internet on the blacklist story, Dalton Trumbo, and this movie, so the only further note I'll add is about Kirk Douglas's (real life) part in the story. He hired the blacklisted Trumbo, known communist, as screenwriter for the movie Spartacus, which action was said to have, at last, broken the Hollywood blacklist. Further reading online casts some doubt on how influential Douglas's action actually was. This piece from The Atlantic by John Meroney and Sean Coons offers another view:
How Kirk Douglas Overstated His Role in Breaking the Hollywood Blacklist

Commenter Sabina noticed that Dalton Trumbo's natal chart and that of Kirk Douglas (both born on 9 December) could bear similarities. Let's see!

Dalton Trumbo born in Montrose, Colorado on 9 December 1905. Chart set for 12 noon, time of birth unknown.

Kirk Douglas born in Amsterdam, New York on 9 December 1916 at 10.15 AM

If someone had shown me these two charts without telling me to whom they belonged I'd have suspected that one chart (the first shown above) belonged to someone unafraid of rebelling against the norm. That'd be reflected by Mercury conjunct Uranus. Mars and Saturn in Aquarius suggests that any rebellion could well be in relation to something political or societal.

There are, naturally, some similarities due to the two men sharing a birthday, though 11 years apart. The main link between the charts, in this particular context, is Uranus, planet of the rebel and the unexpected. Uranus in Douglas's chart is in sextile to his natal Sun and, of course, in sextile also to Trumbo's.

I'll leave the matter of similarities or differences open now, for further examination by any who'd care to jump in to add more.

Coincidentally, I have compared Kirk Douglas's natal chart with another person's chart in a past posting. Douglas played the part of Vincent Van Gogh in the movie Lust for Life ; I blogged about that and compared the actor's chart with that of the painter. That post, from 2007, is HERE.


mike said...

Trumbo had an interesting set of final dispositors. Mercury, Mars, Uranus, and Pluto are disposited (ruled) by Saturn in Aquarius. Sun, Moon, and Neptune are disposited (ruled) by Venus and Jupiter in mutual reception, with Venus and Jupiter in opposition, and both square to Saturn, or T-square. Two warm, pleasurable planets (Venus-Jupiter) butting heads, in discord with cold, restrictive Saturn. I didn't see the movie and I know little of Trumbo, but I'd say the fellow had tremendous internal-external conflicts, perhaps sought writing as a means to digress and sooth his discomforts, and probably felt that life was a predator-prey balancing act. A bigger than life personality (Venus-Jupiter) against restriction (Saturn). The outlet of the T-square was in the later degrees of Leo, close to his N Node. Interesting to note that when Trumbo found trouble with the US Congress, transiting Saturn and Pluto were opposing his natal Mars, and transiting Uranus was conjunct his natal Pluto. Then transiting Saturn opposed natal Saturn, setting-off his natal T-square into a grand-square, with transiting Pluto completing the grand-square from about 1955 to 1960. The transits of Saturn and Pluto to complete the T-square into a grand-square were Trumbo's most difficult years, with redemption shortly after the transits.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Thanks for the major astrological pointers in Trumbo's natal chart.

From what I've read about his life, before the blacklist adventures, he didn't appear to have many internal-external conflicts. It seems that all he ever really wanted to do was to write, and he did this, even in tandem with some other job he needed to take to help out at home after his father died.

From the movie, it appeared that for a while he managed to surf the backlist difficulties fairly easily, but as time went on he became obsessed, sacrificed his homelife and family to keep up with demands for quick writing fixes under various pseudonyms - partyly to pay bills, but partly because he didn't seem able to stop.

Depending on exact Moon position, Moon conjunct Jupiter could be the culprit there...Jupiter's excesses. Or how about Sun (self) sextile Mars(energy) forming a Yod with Neptune at the apex (Neptune's addictive tendency)?

mike (again) said...

I wouldn't necessarily say that all he wanted to do is write...he was very active in social-political events at that time, which spilled-over into his writing narratives. I didn't count the yod, due to Sun being 8* out of inconjunct with Neptune (they are separated by about 158*). and Mars is 7* out of inconjunct with Neptune (they are separated by about 143*). I suppose one could call this a weak yod, though Mars is closer to bi-quintile.

From Cafe Astrology:
"Mars Quintile or Bi-Quintile Neptune
Simply producing useful and functional objects and services is not sufficient for you. Putting a creative and imaginative quality into whatever you do is much more suitable to you. Fantasy and fiction appeal to you, and you are fascinated by imaginative ideas."

You already mentioned Trumbo's Uranus conjunct Mercury aspect, but his Uranus is 6* from opposition to Neptune, and by association, Mercury is opposing, too. This aspect may explain his need to write, incorporating social-political concerns, but the opposition to Neptune would provide some confusion with ideology and practicality. This aspect may have been his narcotic, as you indicated with his "addiction".

Twilight said...

mike ~ Dang! Oh dear - I was mistakenly scrolling up not far enough and looking at Douglas's chart re the Yod!
Slapped hands to me! Yes, you're right - thanks! Yes, agreed that his seeming addiction to constant writing, putting a happy family life in peril could be reflected by the Neptune opposition.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Or...maybe not - my head is swimming after reading piece after piece on Trump and the election. Must look at the charts again, but you are right, just no sure what I did.

Twilight said...

mike ~ LOL! Okay, I'll settle for a loose Yod (to go with the loose screw in my noggin!)