After a long wait, Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has finally landed in theaters. Set in 1969 Los Angeles, the primary story features the fictional Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). His career in decline, Dicaprio’s Dalton is thrilled to learn that two of the hottest new stars in Hollywood Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate have moved in next door to him. With the infamous Manson Family murders lurking over the story, Once Upon a Time traverses old school Hollywood on the eve of one of its darkest crimes. This serves as the backdrop for Once Upon a Time, which weaves in fictional characters and real life Hollywood stars into a revisionist history that only Tarantino could pull off—complete with subtle homages to classic cinema, characters, and celebrities. Below, we have a guide to all the characters who appear in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and their real-life counterparts.
Soldier of Orange (Dutch: Soldaat van Oranje, IPA: [sɔlˈdaːt fɑn oˈrɑɲə]) is a 1977 Dutch film directed and co-written by Paul Verhoeven and produced by Rob Houwer, starring Rutger Hauer and Jeroen Krabbé. The film is set around the German occupation of the Netherlands during World War II, and shows how individual students have different roles in the war. The story is based on the autobiographical book Soldaat van Oranje by Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema.
A pleasing imaginative construction entertained incessantly, and to his injury, by the patient, but without the delusion that it is a reality. A waking dream—known to be such by the dreamer—of military or erotic triumphs, of power or grandeur, even of mere popularity, is either monotonously reiterated or elaborated year by year. It becomes the prime consolation, and almost the only pleasure, of the dreamer’s life. Into ‘this invisible riot of the mind, this secret prodigality of being’ he retires whenever the necessities of life set him free. Realities, even such realities as please other men, grow insipid to him. He becomes incapable of all the efforts needed to achieve a happiness not merely notional. The dreamer about limitless wealth will not save sixpence. The imaginary Don Juan will take no pains to make himself ordinarily agreeable to any woman he meets. I call this activity Morbid Castle-building.
The same activity indulged in moderately and briefly as a temporary holiday or recreation, duly subordinated to more effective and outgoing activities. Whether a man would be wiser to live with none of this at all in his life, we need not perhaps discuss, for no one does. Nor does such reverie always end in itself. What we actually do is often what we dreamed of doing. The books we write were once books which, in a day-dream, we pictured ourselves writing—though of course never quite so perfect. I call this Normal Castle-building.
Lewis, C. S.. An Experiment in Criticism (pp. 51-52).
What’s it about?
Four days after a Weiberfastnacht’s eve party (Wed. 20 February 1974), where Katharina Blum met a man named Ludwig Götten, she calls on Oberkommissar Moeding and confesses to killing a journalist for the newspaper Die Zeitung.
Katharina had met Götten at a friend’s party and spent the night with him before helping him to escape from the police. The next morning, the police break into her house, arrest her and question her. The story is sensationally covered by Die Zeitung, and in particular its journalist Tötges. Tötges investigates everything about her life, calling on Katharina’s friends and family, including her ex-husband and hospitalized mother, who dies the day after Tötges visits her. He paints a picture of Katharina as a fervent accomplice of Götten, and as a communist run amok in Germany.
Katharina arranges an interview with Tötges. According to Katharina, upon his arrival he suggests that they have sex, whereupon she shoots him dead. She then wanders the city for a few hours before driving to police headquarters and confessing to murder.
The book also details the effects of the case on Katharina’s employers and friends the Blornas; Mr Blorna is her lawyer, and Mrs Blorna one of the designers of the apartment block where Katharina resides. Their association with Katharina leads to their exclusion from society.
Excerpt, from page 19:
Meanwhile the occupants of the building had been questioned; most of them had little or nothing to tell about Katharina Blum. They had occasionally met in the elevator and passed the time of day, they knew that the red Volkswagen belonged to her, some had thought she was a private secretary, others that she was a buyer in a department store; she had always been smartly turned out, pleasant, although a bit on the reserved side. Among the occupants of the five other apartments on the eighth floor, where Katharina lived, there were only two who had more detailed information to give. One was the owner of a hairdressing salon, a Mrs. Schmill, the other a retired employee of the electricity works by the name of Ruhwiedel, and the startling thing was that both statements included the assertion that from time to time Katharina had received or brought home a gentleman visitor. Mrs. Schmill maintained that this visitor had come regularly, maybe every two or three weeks, an athletic-looking gentleman of about forty, from an “obviously superior” background, whereas Mr. Ruhwiedel described the visitor as a fairly young fellow who had sometimes entered Miss Blum’s apartment alone and sometimes accompanied by Miss Blum.
What did you think?
* It’s written like an investigative report.
* Much of the larger background/context is assumed.
* The timeline jumps around some.
If you can get into that, or get past it, you might enjoy it.
Part of the Desultory Notes International Book Club…
PHILOSOPHER: Yes, it is one’s instinctive desires, one’s impulsive desires. Now, if one were to say that living like a stone tumbling downhill and allowing such inclinations or desires or impulses to take one wherever they will is “freedom,” one would be incorrect. To live in such a way is only to be a slave to one’s desires and impulses. Real freedom is an attitude akin to pushing up one’s tumbling self from below.
YOUTH: Pushing oneself up from below?
PHILOSOPHER: A stone is powerless. Once it has begun to roll downhill, it will continue to roll until released from the natural laws of gravity and inertia. But we are not stones. We are beings who are capable of resisting inclination. We can stop our tumbling selves and climb uphill. The desire for recognition is probably a natural desire. So are you going to keep rolling downhill in order to receive recognition from others? Are you going to wear yourself down like a rolling stone, until everything is smoothed away? When all that is left is a little round ball, would that be “the real I”? It cannot be.
Kishimi, Ichiro. The Courage to Be Disliked: The Japanese Phenomenon That Shows You How to Change Your Life and Achieve Real Happiness (p. 143). Atria Books.
Did my book result in any reforms in the corrections system? I like to think so, but I’m sure of only one. In Newjack I describe B-Block, the immense building where I worked. Housing six hundred inmates, it is one of the largest freestanding cellblocks in the world. Horrific and very dim inside, it seemed as if the windows hadn’t been washed in fifty years. I included that detail in the book. The wife of a B-Block inmate sent me an e-mail after visiting her husband and wrote, “My husband just wanted you to know that a month after your book came out, they washed the windows.”
So there’s the power of the press for you.
Ted Conover, on his book Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing, quote taken from Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers’ Guide from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University
Peggy Orenstein: When I was about nine or ten, my brother used to collect Zapp comics. And when I saw those, they really, deeply, deeply terrified me. I was deeply upset. And I look at them, and thought, on some level, *this* is adulthood? This is what adult women are? This is what I grow up into? And it was horrifying.
Robert Crumb: Oh, my God!
Peggy Orenstein: And, I wonder if you think about the effect on people who read it, or what you’re validating for boys…
Robert Crumb: I just hope that that, somehow, revealing that truth about myself is somehow helpful. I don’t know, I just hope that it is, but I *have* to do it. Maybe I shouldn’t be allowed. Maybe I should be locked up, and have my pencils taken away from me, I just don’t know. I can’t say, you know? I can’t defend myself. It was like my daughter Sophie was watching “Goodfellas,” we got a videotape of it, and the violent part horrified her so deeply that she started getting a stomach ache, and I shut it off and wouldn’t let her watch it. Although I think it’s a great movie, a truthful movie, and I got a lot out of seeing it. But it’s obviously not for a kid. And certain harsh realities of life… you gotta, kinda, protect your kids a little bit from that. They don’t understand a lot of things yet, you know? Not everything is for children, and not everything is for everybody.
From the movie:
“Vengeance on a dumb brute!” cried Starbuck, “that simply smote thee from blindest instinct! Madness! To be enraged with a dumb thing, Captain Ahab, seems blasphemous.”
“Hark ye yet again— the little lower layer. All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event— in the living act, the undoubted deed— there, some unknown but still reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike through the mask! How can the prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall? To me, the white whale is that wall, shoved near to me. Sometimes I think there’s naught beyond. But ’tis enough. He tasks me; he heaps me; I see in him outrageous strength, with an inscrutable malice sinewing it. That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate; and be the white whale agent, or be the white whale principal, I will wreak that hate upon him. Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I’d strike the sun if it insulted me. For could the sun do that, then could I do the other; since there is ever a sort of fair play herein, jealousy presiding over all creations. But not my master, man, is even that fair play. Who’s over me? Truth hath no confines. Take off thine eye! more intolerable than fiends’ glarings is a doltish stare! So, so; thou reddenest and palest; my heat has melted thee to anger-glow. But look ye, Starbuck, what is said in heat, that thing unsays itself. There are men from whom warm words are small indignity. I meant not to incense thee. Let it go. Look! see yonder Turkish cheeks of spotted tawn— living, breathing pictures painted by the sun.
The Pagan leopards— the unrecking and unworshipping things, that live; and seek, and give no reasons for the torrid life they feel! The crew, man, the crew! Are they not one and all with Ahab, in this matter of the whale? See Stubb! he laughs! See yonder Chilian! he snorts to think of it. Stand up amid the general hurricane, thy one tost sapling cannot, Starbuck! And what is it? Reckon it. ‘Tis but to help strike a fin; no wondrous feat for Starbuck. What is it more? From this one poor hunt, then, the best lance out of all Nantucket, surely he will not hang back, when every foremast-hand has clutched a whetstone. Ah! constrainings seize thee; I see! the billow lifts thee! Speak, but speak!— Aye, aye! thy silence, then, that voices thee. (Aside) Something shot from my dilated nostrils, he has inhaled it in his lungs. Starbuck now is mine; cannot oppose me now, without rebellion.”
“God keep me!— keep us all!” murmured Starbuck, lowly.
Melville, Herman. Moby Dick: or, the White Whale
In the Hollywood movie industry, a four-quadrant movie is one which appeals to all four major demographic “quadrants” of the moviegoing audience: both male and female, and both over- and under-25s. Films are generally aimed at at least two such quadrants, and most tent-pole films are four-quadrant movies. A film’s budget is often correlated to the number of quadrants the film is expected to reach, and movies are rarely produced if not focused on at least two quadrants.
Although four-quadrant movies are generally family-friendly, this is not a requirement. Some other genres meeting this may be romantic (such as Titanic and Meet the Parents) or horror films (The Exorcist), or be crowd-pleasing in nature, such as high-profile action films or adaptations of popular novels. Four-quadrant movies often have both adult and child protagonists. They are often built on a “high-concept” premise with well-delineated heroes and villains, with emotion, action and danger present in the story.
Bhopal. It injured a lot of people and the series of mistakes that caused it to occur is insane. Edit: this was a chemical leak that killed 2,500 people in the immediate aftermath and thousands more long term.
558,125 injuries were recorded due to it.
Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in 1911
(I feel like this is being lost in time, yet it has more historical importance than other disasters listed here: TSF is the basis of modern workplace safety, union organizing and more.)
BP Oil Spill
I recommend watching the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary on the Hillsborough stadium disaster.
Also known as – I need to either read these or get rid of them already book club.
Day of the Oprichnick, Vladimir Sorokin
The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum, Heinrich Boll
Seven Years, Peter Stamm
The Buddha of Suburbia, Hanif Kureishi
The Palm-Wine Drinkard, Amos Tutuola
The Diary of a Country Priest, Georges Bernanos
A Tomb for Boris Davidovich, Danilo Kis
Some years ago, during a telephone interview, I finally succeeded in badgering Jim Garrison into naming the Name. For years Garrison had been telling people he had the whole case cold: he knew who gave the orders, who fired the shots and from where. Still, though he had talked a lot about the Big Guys behind the plot— intelligence agencies, the military-industrial complex and the like—he had never publicly named the name of the man he believed fired the fatal head shot from the grassy knoll.
I won’t tell you that name, because Garrison didn’t give me any evidence for singling out this person for historic infamy. On another day, I felt, he might have picked another name out of the hat Still, for one guilty moment I had the land of thrill that assassination buffs live for. I had the Name everyone else was looking for and no one else had. Of course, it wasn’t an entirely unknown name. Garrison told me the person had been questioned extensively by Warren Commission investigators, and when I looked him up in the Warren Commission testimony, I found he plays a kind of Rosencrantz-and-Guildenstern-level role in the Warren Report, that of a peripheral figure in a key place: he was a live-in manager and janitor at Jack Ruby’s sleazy strip joint, the Carousel Club. There’s no doubt that the commission investigators were interested in his story—the transcript of his testimony runs more than 200 pages—but mostly because he was a source who might shed some light on the peculiarities of Jack
Ruby’s character (investigators repeatedly pressed the Name on whether Ruby had any sexual interest in his beloved dog Sheba). Though reading the testimony didn’t give me much intimation of an assassination revelation, it was a revelation of another kind. In telling his life story, of how he wound up in the Carousel Club in 1963, the Name was telling a story of an American life—of an America—far different from the one I’d known in my suburban hometown. It was a story of guy who made his living in the carnival world; he worked as a barker with small-time freak-show acts like “the two-headed baby” and “the snake girl,” he told the Warren Commission. He bummed around looking for roustabout jobs, met his first wife at a Salvation Army mission. When she left him in the summer of 1963, he hitchhiked all the way from the West Coast to Dallas looking for her. Picked up some work at the Texas state fair in a carny sideshow called “How Hollywood Makes Movies,” which featured some of Jack Ruby’s strippers.
Made some connections and soon found himself living in the back room of the Carousel Club in the midst of Ruby’s strange ménage, which included strippers, burlesque comics, stage hypnotists and, of course, the dog Sheba. I remember reading this testimony, mesmerized by my sudden immersion in a carnival-sideshow underbelly of American life. (The 26 volumes of Warren Commission testimony are like a vast, inchoate Great American Novel in that respect.) I didn’t feel I was any closer to solving the Kennedy assassination, but I did feel I had learned more about the America that produced both Kennedy and his assassin than was conveyed by the bland, complacent sitcom image of the nation and its institutions that prevailed in November 1963.
TAKING A DARKER VIEW
The conspiracy theories reflected in JFK may not be persuasive, but they churn up a murky underside of America, Ron Rosenbaum