by Larry Fyffe
“Hearts Of Fire” is a dark-humoured, sometimes slapstick, sometimes shocking, post-modernist movie. The film deals with the trials and tribulations of a young creative artist (Molly McGuire played by Fiona Flanagan) who is determined to follow her God-given talent in the face of the demands of business-oriented promoters who control the music industry. If you want to watch the movie there is a link to it at the end of this article.
Their god is money, and they tend to play it safe by having singers and musicians perform ‘the usual’ stuff that audiences are familiar with. However, competition is the name of the game in the industry, and there are promoters who will take risks, and back innovative artists in whom they see potential.
James Colt (Rupert Everett), admired by Molly, is a ‘new wave’ star headed for the big time. Molly, somewhat naive, gets involved with him. Though British he be, Colt’s name reminds one of Jessie James and Cole Younger.
Bob Dylan plays a retired artist (Billy Parker), a singer and musician who’s been there and done that; he’s wise to the ins and outs of the music industry; he knows what the young gal singer is up against. Yet her spunk rekindles his own creative spark; he warns Molly that Colt is using her. Billy’s interest in her, however, is not all that ‘fatherly’. His name reminds one of Billy the Kid and Bonnie Parker.
Billy was of course young and innocent once himself, but his experiences with the music industry has made him really cynical. At first, the film appears to be a sentimental Romantic drama. Parker retires to the peace and quiet of the countryside.
And I picked up a couple more years on you babe, and that's all But I've been down more roads than you, and that's all Now, I' m tired of running where you're only learning to crawl You're heading for somewhere, but I've been that somewhere Found it was nowhere at all
(Bob Dylan: A Couple Of More Years)
As the film progresses, it explores the heart of darkness, with black humour abounding, that ‘s more in tune with the Edgar Allan Poe-influenced French Symbolist poets. The three stars of ‘Hearts of Fire’ get together in the rock n roll atmosphere of the city. It’s quite Hell-like, full of cynicism, pessimism, and degeneracy.
The critics of the movie do not realize that the joke is on them. For one thing after Billy states from the stage that the gal singer’s name is Molly Parker, she’s referred to as ‘Maggie’.
A poetic reference:
Maggie and Milly, and Molly and May Went down to the beach (to play on day) Maggie discovered a shell that sang So sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles, and (ee cummings: Maggie And Milly, And Molly and May)
An admirer of a preRomantic writer is the modernist romantic ee cummings.
One of the famous poems by the preRomantic:
Bring me my body of burning gold Bring e my arrows of desire Bring me my spear; O clouds unfold! Bring me my chariot of fire (Willim Blake: Jerusalem; Proverbs of Heaven and Hell)
And what shoulder, and what art Could twist the sinews of thy heart And when thy heart began to beat What dread hand and what dead feet?
(Willim Blake: Tyger, Tyger)
Put’em together, and what have you got:
Hearts Of Fire!
That movie can be interpreted as a mischievous spoof on the rather serious, and fact-based, movie “Chariots Of Fire”. That film is about two British runners, and their determination to win races fair and square. This is Molly’s desire also – at the end of ‘Hearts of Fire’, Molly races alongside of Colt’s sports car using Billy Parker’s motorcycle. She rides off into the sunset by herself as befitting a white-hatted cowboy in an old Western movie.
And here is the movie…
Untold Dylan: who we are what we do
Untold Dylan is written by people who want to write for Untold Dylan. It is simply a forum for those interested in the work of the most famous, influential and recognised popular musician and poet of our era, to read about, listen to and express their thoughts on, his lyrics and music.
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But what is complete is our index to all the 604 Dylan compositions and co-compositions that we have found on the A to Z page. I’m proud of that; no one else has that many songs with that much information. Elsewhere the songs are indexed by theme and by the date of composition. See for example Bob Dylan year by year.
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