Friday, May 22, 2015

"The Art of" - the Creative Process in Different Forms...

Some years ago, I offered a number of blogs  citing  different forms of the Creative Process, including examples ranging from such  incarnations as the art of making contact with a baseball by way of the writings of Ted Williams;  model railroading;  making breads, such as chocolate or strawberry;  genius in making  war, such as the use of the Ardennes; the multifaceted powers of Albert Schweitzer, etc.
And so I thought, however belatedly, that I should project more material germane to this wondrous, arcane human power:
In a rather well-forgotten movie produced in England in 1942 there is housed a trio of  gifted artists, each in a different field of artistic endeavor.
The movie is titled "Spitfre," and deals with the production of an airplane that stopped Hitler in his tracks.
Upon his conquest of France in 1940, the tyrant turned to his next victim, namely Great Britain, with intent of eliminating the British before turning to the East and Mother Russia. His plan, called Operation  "Sea Lion" was  the invasion of  England, preceded by the destruction of the British defense line, especially on the southeast coast, by his powerful air forces.
And so the air attacks began, resulting ultimately in such severe  punishment dealt out by a relatively small contingent of English and allied airmen, that Hitler was forced to cancel his plans of invasion, which resulted in the two front war that ultimately defeated the Nazis.
All this is well known.
However, let us look into this film more closely.
The main character, Reginald Joseph Mitchell, is played by one of the greatest of  British actors, Leslie Howard, known in America chiefly by way of his acting in "Gone With the Wind." Howard's ability to bring to life the characters he portrayed is testimony to his sense of imagery, let alone his powers  to project  the human emotions needed for character portrayal at a high level.
The  man who wrote the score for this movie was none other than the distinguished British composer William Walton, one of the 20th century's better known musicians. One of the most powerful  creations he gives us is a Cantata titled  "Belshazzar's Feast," a work that should be heard more often than it is in our day, sadly.
That main character R. J. Mitchell was the creative genius who visualized a revolutionary  approach to  airplane design resulting in the Supermarine Spitfire, which along with its partner called Hurricane, destroyed Hitler's dream of enslaving England, and averting, perhaps, what Churchill called a "new Dark Age."
Three creative giants, each with a different art form, housed in a movie not known for greatness and historical accuracy.
Three fellows, out to make a living - like Mozart and Salieri, in a joint concert of their music - just once...

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