Bob Dylan’s New Film Noir

By Larry Fyffe

God kicks Adam and Eve out of Eden into a Hell on Earth; locks up the gate, and keeps the keys inside for Himself.

Eve (who changes her name to Patti Page in order to protect herself from her all-knowing, Father) decides that she’s not going to take it anymore; leaves Adam, moves on, and ends up jumping on a train with Laurel, who’s left Hardy because he’s pulled a gun on him.

She’s from Laurel, Mississippi; takes it as a good omen; says, “Man, please don’t get up”; grabs a glass of champagne; and sits on Laurel’s lap.

Locked out of paradise, Patti and Stan hope to escape from Hell’s Kitchen together; they click westward along the ribbon of railroad tracks, looking for the doorway to heaven on dark old earth.

A song from the musical score:

And Laurel's playing for money
On the ribbon wide
She's on his side
It's a doorway
The door is locked
And the key's inside

(Bob Dylan: Patty Gone To Laredo)

Funnyman John Milton writes the script for the film.

Taken from a book of his, the movie’s entitled:

Who Would Not, Finding Way, Break Loose From Hell

(John Milton: Paradise Lost, book iv)

Though the movie is all about Eve, Stan (dressed up as “a song and danceman”) performs the main song in the movie:

Any minute now, I'm expecting all hell to break loose
People are crazy, and times are strange ....
This place ain't doing me any good
I'm in the wrong town, I should be in Hollywood
(Bob Dylan: Things Have Changed)

That’s where the two end up. But heaven can wait.  At the end of the film, the song and danceman meets Anne Baxter in a Hollywood parking lot; she’s starring as “Eve”, in a movie with Bette Davis.

Laurel and Anne run off together, leaving the real Eve standing there, crying in the rain.

The credits roll up on the big black screen, and Stan the Man sings:

She's got everything she needs
She's an artist
She don't look back
She can take the dark out of the night-time
And paint the daytime black
(Bob Dylan: She Belongs To Me)


John Milton wins an Academy Award for the best blind screenwriter.


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