Bob Dylan And The Movies Continued

There are details of the other articles on Dylan and the movies at the end of this piece

by Larry Fyffe

Here’s some more references to movies that Bob Dylan shows an interest in. Other sites, inaccurate at times, make note of some of these movies and their scripts.

In a movie, southern belle Banche (Vivien Leigh) says:

‘Please don’t get up, I’m only passing through’

In a song, Dylan sings:

Lot of water under the bridge; lot of other stuff too
‘Don’t get up gentlemen, I’m only passing through’
(Bob Dylan: Things Have Changed)

Whether Bob Dylan references a movie because it reflects his world view, or the singer/songwriter is simply reflecting the view presented in the movie is an interesting question.

Barbara Stanwyck stars in a romantic drama as Mae, Joe’s sister; she marries Jerry, a fisherman, gets bored, and has an affair with Jerry’s cynical best friend. Peggy (Marilyn Monroe), Joe’s girlfriend, works in a canning factory. Peggy says:

‘He can be sweet sometimes. But I don’t wanna have to work in a cannery if I got married’.

Brings to mind the following song lyrics:

With your sheet-metal memory of Cannery Row
And your magazine-husband who one day just had to go
(Bob Dylan: Sad-Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands)

Mae says to the fisherman who loves her:

‘Oh Jerry, don’t be so eager to make a mistake’
(Clash By Night)

Through his persona, singer/songwriter Bob Dylan presents a dark view of the world:

All the truth in the world adds up to one big lie
I’m in love with a woman who don’t even appeal to me
Mr. Jinx and Miss Lonely, they jumped in the lake
I’m not that eager to make a mistake
(Bob Dylan: Things Have Changed)

Likewise ‘noir’ is a film that stars Paul Newman as ‘Fast’ Eddie Felton, an up-and-coming pool shark, who beats ‘Minnesota Fats’. Sarah loves Eddie – he humiliates her too, and she kills herself:

‘Eddie, look, I’ve got troubles, and I think maybe you’ve got troubles. Maybe it’d be better if we just leave each other alone’
(The Hustler)

Dylan quotes Sarah in the lines below:

I guess I should have known
I got trouble, I think maybe you got troubles
I think maybe we’d better leave each other alone
(Bob Dylan: Seeing The Real You At Last)

Antony Quinn plays a pirate; James Coburn, his first mate Zac; Rosa is a
good-hearted brothel ‘madam’. A child captured by the priates is treated well by them, but she betrays them to save her own skin. The mighty Quinn says:

‘Zac, you must be guilty of something’
(A High Wind In Jamaica)

Dylan, and/or his persona’, takes a cynical view of people in authority, but also of human nature in general:

What ever you got to say to me
Won’t come as any shock
I must be guilty of something
You just whisper it into my ear
(Bob Dylan: Tight Connection To My Heart)

Another referenced movie is about ‘freaks’ who make a living by appearing in circus shows; it concerns how badly they are treated as if they didn’t have feelings like everybody else. Says one of the Siamese Twins:

‘Her master’s voice is calling’

The movie is paid tribute in the verse below that casts recording artists in the same light as ‘freaks’:

Neither one gonna turn and run
They’re makin’ a voyage to the sun
‘His Master’s Voice is a-calling me’
Tweedle-Dum say to Tweedle-Dee
(Bob Dylan: Tweedle-Dee And Tweedle-Dum)

Comedy films are alluded to as well:

‘Tell Aunt Minnie to send up a bigger room, will you?’
(A Night At The Opera)

The song following – humour, accompanied by the blues:

Time and Love has branded me with its claws
Had to go to Florida, dodgin’ Georgia laws
Po’ Boy in the hotel called ‘The Palace of Gloom’
Calls down to room service, say, ‘Send me up a room’
(Bob Dylan: Po’ Boy)

Comedy – used as a tool to hammer out the Existentialist viewpoint of the absurdity of material existence:

‘And two fried eggs, two poached eggs, two scrambled eggs, and two medium-boiled eggs’
‘And two hard-boilded eggs’
(A Night At The Opera)

Below, tribute is paid to the Marx Brothers:

I said ‘Tell me what I want’
She say, ‘You probably want hard-boiled eggs’
I said, ‘That’s right, bring me some’
She says, ‘We ain’t got any, you picked the wrong time to come’
(Bob Dylan: Highlands)

Bob Dylan and the movies


  1. Actually said in the movie: ‘Care! Care! Don’t be so eager to make a mistake’

    Sources are not necessarily reliable.

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