The Tarot - Hollywood Connection

Artists and Creators in conversations about their work
Joan Marie

The Tarot - Hollywood Connection

Post by Joan Marie »

“There's nothing else. Just us, and the cameras, and those wonderful people out there in the dark.” Gloria Swanson as the aging silent film actress Nora Desmond from the 1950 film classic, Sunset Boulevard

One of those “wonderful people out there in the dark” is the creator of three original Tarot decks, The Shakespeare Tarot, The Beatles Tarot, and the one we are discussing today, The Golden Age of Hollywood Tarot.

Film and Tarot have some very important similarities. Both have a superficial easily grasped meaning. But for the curious minded, deeper meanings, hidden meanings, double meanings, are always presenting themselves through symbolism, juxtaposition, archetypes, and a dozen other devices. The more masterful the hands working these devices, encoding them and decoding them, the more truths of life and our shared experiences are revealed.

The Golden Age of Hollywood Tarot created by Chris Leech brings Film and Tarot together in a way that will set your mind to make connections and spark new ways of looking at both.

Chris kindly agreed to answer a few questions about what is behind this extraordinary deck and how he went about creating it.


Q. Chris, your Golden Age of Hollywood Deck, this is after my own heart. I love and have studied cinema my whole life. I think I’ve seen every film in your deck.

Can you tell us about your connection to cinema?


A. I grew up with a small B&W TV in my room as a boy, and films were always a mainstay of conversation in my household. Heck – they still are. I began making films independently myself when attending art school, and when I wasn't attending I'd be at home, watching movies – you know, sunny days with the shades pulled down. I've seen more films than I'd care to admit – I think even I've seen every film in my deck.

When I lived for some time in England, I had a job as a projectionist. After hours, I would get a gang together at the theatre to watch Duck Soup. Admittedly, sometimes the gang would consist of just me. I've seen that particular film over 40 times, easily. Turner Classic Movies is often on at my house – usually with the sound off. A film's sound distracts from its visual language, its mise-en-scéne (I just say that – i haven't a clue what mise-en-scéne is). Sometimes I play a game, and just turn on the sound of a movie being played and try to guess it. Not to brag, but it's actually somewhat amazing to me how often and quickly I can guess the film - and it's a film I've never even seen.


Q. It’s clear that your choices of films for each card have a surface connection to the RWS card they represent. However, knowing and understanding the sub text of the films, gives the cards in your deck a unique depth.
What was your intention or thinking as you made your choices of films or topics for each card?


A. First off, I used the RWS deck because it's the one most people are familiar with. Which isn't to say I don't have some qualms with it – notably, its Sun card, which I find inane – typical a man would get it wrong, or alter it in self-congratulation. Instead, I follow the Marseilles Tarot Sun card meaning.

At the core of the deck are the films made by Hollywood during the Studio System – properly speaking, this means from the advent of sound, 1929, to the Anti-trust decision brought against the studios by the Supreme Court in 1949, which effectively dismantled the Studio System. There were 8 primary studios - 4 greater and 4 lesser - so for the purposes of the suits I teamed one greater with one lesser, given their inherent traits. This meant that besides their production year, any film chosen for a suit had to be produced by its respective suit. At its height, Hollywood churned out some 500 films a year, which is a lot of films to choose from, but of course for the deck to be relevant the films had to be ones people were likely to know (aside: my partner on The Beatles Tarot told me, “nobody's gonna know any of these crumby old films!” Of course, his favourite movie is L.A. Story).

Another concern was the inherent quality or significance of a given film; and while I couldn't just choose my favourite films to include, I was able to sneak in one or two that might not have made it in otherwise. An example being Sullivan's Travels and its shout-out to Preston Sturges. Another concern, albeit a lesser one, was not choosing films which repeated actors too much - unless doing so had its own significance. The flip-side of that was including as wide a variety of actors as possible.


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Now, all this said, there was one last but essential concern. Films – especially Hollywood ones – don't occur organically in nature but are human constructs, full of biases; insofar as films misconstrue life, the deck was in need of something to counteract this in-built falsehood if it were to be a working tarot deck - that is to say, if readings done with it were to avoid this in-built falsehood. This is why I introduced into the very structure of the deck the real life issues behind the films and the people who made them. Not unlike any other aspect of human relations, there were many kinds of politic going on in Hollywood – racial, sexual, even political! This, then, was not only a necessary corrective, but crucial for the larger concepts contained in the Major Arcana, and it ended up adding a deeper layer of meaning to the pips as well.


Q. I want to ask about a couple cards specifically. I’m choosing ones that depict films that everyone knows.

For the 10 of Coins (or Pentacles in RWS) you’ve gone with The Wizard of Oz. There’s no place like home! That’s the happy message at the end of the film, but remember the signature song from that film, “Over the Rainbow” is about a girl on a farm in Kansas where people are cranky, the work is hard, and life is dirty. (She gets knocked out when she falls into a pigsty) She dreams there is more to life. A catastrophic event lands her in in a Technicolor wonderland. (“We’re not in Kansas anymore!") At the end she is heroic and brave and successful in this strange place and could have anything she desires and she chooses a sentimental connection to a life she earlier in the film was dreaming to escape and actually ran away from!

How do you see this film as a good choice for representing the 10 of Coins?


A. I might just suggest a couple things right off the bat:

First, the way the film frames the Technicolor process alludes to The Temperance card, which is Sound & (Techni)Color. The suggestion being the 10 of Coin card points to a balance – of colour and B&W, of fantasy and truth. There is one other card which features a film which is both colour and B&W and that is the previous card, the 9 of Coin – The Women. Just as The Women is mostly B&W - save for a short indulgent fashion show shot in colour with no direct relevance to the plot - while The Wizard of Oz mostly happens in colour only to be book-ended by dull rural reality in B&W, so the 2 films are kind of inversions of each other. The former shows conventional adult women fighting each other while the latter shows a young girl working for the greater good with a group of misfits.

Secondly: the 10 of Coins – WofO is itself the book-end of the Ace of Coin – Gone with the Wind. Both began with George Cukor directing and ended with Victor Flemming; both came out in 1939; and both of course were in Technicolor.

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I just mention these undercurrents – to go into detail would take too long! But to (hopefully) answer your question: the suit of Coin is something of a synthesis of the other suits, a little like John to the other 3 Synopotic Gospels in reverse. The female Coin suit is partner to the male Baton suit – there energy is expressed, until in the end it's exhausted; in Coin, however, energy is stored up, shared, and used wisely. The sister suit to Coin – Cups - has a thematically similar 10 card. How does this relate to The Wizard of Oz? The film took a long time to make and had many setbacks, yet in the end it became one of the most beloved films of all time and – with its annual showing on television – one of the most watched films ever. The message of the film suggests that things of value are not found outside but were inside all along. Homosexuals as early as WWII recognized a kinship in Dorothy and her band of outsiders and this theme of intrinsic value. Recall: the wizard of Oz is actually a fraud, or at any rate an ordinary man. When Dorothy returns to the real world – Coin of course is the suit of earth – it is with a renewed energy, emotion, and intent. She has those things – the other suits – within herself. Whats more, her internal band of outsiders actually exist in this world, gathered around her bed.

One last note: the Scarecrow's diploma, the Tin Man's heart, The Lion's medal, and Dorothy's slippers – all in gold on the 10 of Coin card - reappear to represent the 4 suits on The World card in their respective corner and colour.

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Q. For the 10 of Cups you‘ve chosen It’s A Wonderful Life. This is another case of the RWS card and the film both having a surface meaning of the joys of happy family life. No ennui, no existential crises, no regrets.
But if you look a little deeper, another picture is revealed.

There is a kind of happiness, but it is hard won and short lived.

A lot has been written about It’s a Wonderful Life actually being one of Frank Capra’s darkest films. The people of Bedford Falls are venal and mean. George dreamt of an artistic life and gave it up only to be betrayed and disappointed by the people he gave it up for. The movie begins with his attempt at suicide. And at the end, the problem is only temporarily solved. He’s still going to have to pay back the money somehow! His troubles are far from over. Not exactly an aspirational message.

And I may be alone in this, but I have never trusted that happy family scene on the RWS 10 of Pentacles.
Can you share your ideas about how this film relates to the 10 of cups?


A. This is indeed a dense card to unpack. As preamble, to approach the tarot – or anything, for that matter – in a Manichean way quickly leads astray. Each of the cards have woven within them both good and bad – not to mention a bunch of other stuff (ha ha). The obvious mistake is believing a card is all bad – The Devil, say, or Death - but a more persistent error is believing some of them to be all good. Personally, I see ambiguity everywhere, and the suit of Cups – emotion - is nothing if not ambiguous.

The people of Bedford Falls are as you say mean and venal – but then, people are mean and venal. Of course, they are many other things as well – generous, grateful, enterprising, insecure – and this is one of the reasons It's A Wonderful Life appears here, it runs the gamut of emotion. And it does so in a compound way, showing us an alternate life and alternate set of emotions, in a world without George Bailey.


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This in-built dichotomy is one of the fascinating aspects of the film, embodied in George's tug of war between living and ending his life. One of the most poignant scenes in the film points directly to this rift: George is torn between doing the right thing for himself and doing right by others, Mary is attempting to woo George's heart, and her meddling mother hovers about upstairs. Their friend Sam Wainwright, who has escaped Bedford Falls, calls and George - in a fit of pique - declares “I don't want to get married to anyone, ever...I want to do what I want to do...” Yet he does love Mary, of course, and does want to marry her – he wants both. Even Mary's name suggests George's dilemma - that aspect of settling down and marrying. And this touches on another of the cards' themes – George's life may not have been perfect, ideal, what he planned going in – if it were, we'd be in the suit of swords/spades! – rather, he had a life of rich emotional connection and depth, which can often be one of the hardest things to see.

As you point out, George may have to pay back the money, but money of course in the Cups suit is tertiary. Which isn't to say it isn't a factor – one of the things I realized when contemplating this card is IAWL is a rare example of the Hay's Code not being followed, specifically: a criminal act which goes unpunished. When Uncle Billy accidentally hands Mr. Potter the bank's money, Potter keeps it, which is an act of theft. Goes to show stealing's okay if it's done by the owner of a bank! Another way money plays an important role is a number of people in the world without George Bailey endure financial hardships which alters their character and hence their emotions – the working-class people who otherwise lived decently in Bailey Park; Uncle Billy, whose job kept him sane; even George's mother, grown bitter as a boarding-house concierge. This is one of the film's tacit political underpinnings, which fits hand in glove with the real-life political underpinnings seen throughout the entire deck – here, even at the pinnacle of the suit of emotion, life is wonderful in part due to opportunities, mundane concerns, and one's station.

Another theme concerning value is made explicit in the scene where patrons of the Bailey Savings & Loan panic – George tells them they're thinking of it all wrong; their money is not in a “safe”, it's in each others' homes. What they actually own are shares – when we have everything, like old man Potter, we have nothing; it is in what we share between us that we are wealthy. This pool of experience – like the donations made to George at film's end – is reflected in this being the suit's highest number, 10. In this way we also see a link to Cup's sister suit, Coin; and the 10 of Cups and 10 of Coin cards in particular are very closely linked.

By way of complete disclosure, I have seen IAWL numerous times and every time – despite all intentions to the contrary – I always end up emotionally moved in some way.


Q. I’m a big fan of experimental film, I have quite a large collection of it and I love that you chose it for The Hermit.
It’s pretty impossible to talk the gang into joining you for a Maya Deren film retrospective or an evening of Hans Richter films.
Who are some of your favorites and what made you choose this topic for the Hermit?


A. I'm glad you asked me this – and by the way, I'm in for an experimental film night!

Fittingly, this is perhaps the deck's most obscure card. My favourite experimental films are by Europeans - Buñuel, Clair, Vertov, Dovzhenko, Vigo - but this is The Golden Age ofHollywood tarot after all. I wanted to feature an alternative to Hollywood, but from withinHollywood, and Maya Deren turned out to be an ideal choice because not only are her films highly visual, but she lived in Hollywood with her husband, Alexandr Hammid (née Hackenschmied, no wonder he changed it), and Hammid actually worked within the studio system (also of note: they were both émigrés from Europe).


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The Hermit as we know is a character who rejects the conventional and searches for something more; Meshes in the Afternoon – and experimental film on the whole – have about them a very tangible sense of searching. They argue film can illuminate things heretofore unseen – perhaps never dreamed of in our philosophies. Further to this, I wanted the Hermit card, overlooked as he often is, to point out the way of the future; similar, perhaps, to Christ's stone the masons threw out. The works of Deren, Anger, Man Ray, lead directly to New American Cinema, which began in the mid-60s with the demise of the Studio System – the very nexus of the Golden Age of Hollywood deck. NAC's heyday, the early 70s, happens to be one of Hollywood's crowning artistic eras.

Incidentally, Stan Brakhage – who worked on Meshes in the Afternoon – is perhaps my favourite American experimental film-maker, and he spent the last years of his life living in my home town, Victoria, British Columbia.


Q. Have you read Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon?

A. Of course! Even it's follow-up, Hollywood Babylon II. Excellent bathroom books, both.
I almost included some sailors from Anger's film Fireworks on The Hermit card, but stuck exclusively with Deren in the end. He does figure in the GAofHT in a very oblique way, however - the movie poster I used for the companion book's front page is of the Hollywood film version of Midsummer Night's Dream, in which the 8 year old Anger played the Changeling. Using this particular film poster - in the spirit of full disclosure - was a modest nod to the first deck I made, The Shakespeare Tarot.

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Q. Will Hayes as the Hierophant is pretty cheeky!
For people who don’t know the role he played, could you explain it a bit and how he was a perfect choice for this card?


A. Well, I don't know if he's perfect, but I did take a certain roguish delight in plastering his big-eared buck-toothed face on the Hierophant card. While not one myself, I was schooled by Catholics, and so naturally I believe deeply in the evils of organized religion.

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Hollywood, being a medium of the masses, was plagued from its inception with people who thought it was corrupting youth and contributing to societal decadence. Groups such as The League of Decency lobbied Washington to censor Hollywood. Before that happened, Hollywood censored itself by implementing The Production Code, known as the Hays Code. This list of Do's & Don'ts were like Hollywood's 10 Commandments, the tenets of moral rectitude on-screen. Of course, it reflected the beliefs of the people who made it rather than being any authentic moral authority – an example being the prohibition of portraying miscegenation. This naturally suggests the sardonic subtext of the card, in its reversed form: misinformation, misrepresentation, power achieved through with-holding information.


Q. The Oscars as Judgment seems a pretty solid choice. What do the Oscars say about the idea of Judgment to you?

A. well, there's the obvious meaning of course. The Oscar is the last word in Hollywood approbation. The Academy was formed by studio moguls blowing their own horn - and that is no less true today. Huge amounts of money are spent campaigning for an Oscar. The awards ceremony is televised around the world pulling in millions of viewers and millions in revenue. Winning an award translates into future work, itself leading to celluloid immortality. The awards are voted on by Academy members – in other words, by Hollywood itself.
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This ties in with The Hierophant – Will Hays card, because the Hays Code was self-imposed by the industry on itself. In some ways, Hollywood is its own little self-contained universe, which stage-manages everything - even its own eschatology.


Q. Is there a card or two you would like to tell us a bit more about here?

A. I fear that if i get talking about any card, we'll be here all day. Which is odd, because “off-camera”, in real life, I'm very taciturn and far more inclined to listen than speak.

That said, I guess I'd like to make note of The Devil – The House Un-American Activities Committee card. The Blacklist – and crypto-fascism for that matter – have always interested me. Implications and repercussions of the Blacklist are strewn all throughout the GaofHT deck – not that I larded the deck, I just pointed out what was inherent. After the general popularity of FDR and his New Deal, and then the horrors of WWII, there was a swing to the right in America which was echoed in Hollywood. People who had been progressives, such as John Ford and Ronald Reagan, became paranoid and, in Reagan's case, an FBI double-agent.

I posit that some of these volte-faces were the result of war trauma, a subject no one knew or talked about - save John Huston's documentary Let There Be Light, which the US Army suppressed for 35 years (hence connection to the Death card). Whats more, just the effect of being in the military erases the capacity for independent thought and replaces it with Super-Ego authoritarianism. The political unrest after the war as men returned home is mirrored in the Disney and Warner Brothers strikes (hence connection to the Justice – SAG card).

The man on The Devil card is John Garfield, a member of The Group Theatre (hence connection with The Star – Method Acting card) who was so nervous about being subpoenaed by HUAC that he died of a heart attack a few days before he was to testify. The woman is Ginger Rogers [hence connection with the escapism of the 8 of Cups – Flying Down To Rio card), whose stage mother was an overly-friendly witness, and who had starred in Tender Comrade - containing the incriminating line, written by Dalton Trumbo: “Share and share alike, that's Democracy.” The Devil himself is Richard Nixon, who was a member of HUAC and went on to star in such hits as Laugh-In and Watergate. Speaking of corruption, HUAC's chairman, J. Parnell Thomas, later spent 7 months in Danbury Prison for fraud – the same jail where Hollywood Ten members Lester Cole and Ring Lardner Jr. were serving out their sentences. A sub-text of the Hollywood witch-hunt was antisemitism; many HUAC members were outright racists.


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In the end, HUAC accomplished little other than destroying a few minor figures in Hollywood's lives. But indirectly it became a touchstone of ethics in an industry built on image. Also - and this shouldn't be underestimated - it caused fear and self-censor in Hollywood, resulting in a decade of films that were fundamentally anodyne and insipid, from the early 50s to mid 60s. And when the smoke clears, we need to remember – just as The Devil card's couple have Free Will and manacles which they can escape from at any time – the Blacklist was imposed by Hollywood on itself. In this sense, then, it shares an affinity with The Hierophant and Judgment cards.


Q. I could ask you about each and every card in this deck! But you’ve written a companion book for the deck haven’t you?

A. Yes.

Q. Can you tell us a bit about it?

A. I didn't want to reproduce the companion book I wrote for The Shakespeare Tarot, which is about 400 pages of dense history and exegesis. Instead, I limited the write-up for each card to about one page. It comes in at roughly 150 pages, with colour reproductions of each card and is a larger format, 8 X 10, which i thought more appropriate for Hollywood. As with all the companion keys to my decks, it is highly researched and puts forward the fundamentals – arguably a must if people wish to properly understand and read with it.

Q. I read somewhere you are working on another cinema related deck. Is that true? And could you tell us more about it?

A. Yes, it's a companion deck to The Golden Age of Hollywood Tarot really – The Silver Screen Tarot (gold/silver, sun/moon, male/female). It centres around silent film, another particular interest of mine. The deck will emphasize the aesthetic, as that's a central concern of mine and who knows - maybe it will help get the attention of people who aren't otherwise interested in silent film. Although, sadly, I think my Beatles Tarot partner may end up being right about this one: “nobody's gonna know any of these crumby old films!”

Chris I want to thank you again for taking the time to tell us more about your deck and your passion for cinema.
I hope to continue this interview and learn more about your other decks, The Beatles Tarot and Shakespeare Tarot.

Chris releases his Tarot work through his company, Welkin.

You can see his work here:
The Golden Age of Hollywood Tarot
The Beatles Tarot
Shakespeare Tarot
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Nemia
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Re: The Tarot - Hollywood Connection

Post by Nemia »

Hugely interesting, thank you for this interview! (to interviewer and interviewee) Chris created fascinating decks, very well thought-out and beautifully made. I want to read the books as much as I want to read with the cards. They top my Christmas wishlist.

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Re: The Tarot - Hollywood Connection

Post by Serpentwand »

Yes they all sound very well thought out and with all those layers of deeper meaning should be pretty good for reading :thumbup: .
Previously known as 2dogs.

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Re: The Tarot - Hollywood Connection

Post by katrinka »

Crumbly old films are totally my thing. :icon_razz:

I find the scene from It Happened One Night to be an odd choice for the Heirophant, though. I don't really see it as a censorship thing. Gable's character put up the Walls of Jericho (that blanket on a rope) to reassure Claudette Colbert that he wasn't going to try to get funny. They'd met very recently on a bus, she was on her way to her new husband that she loved (or so she thought at the time), and they could only afford one room. Gable was after a news story anyway, and not her personally (or so he thought at the time.)

Lucy and Ricky's twin beds, yeah, that's censorship. But the Walls of Jericho? There was every reason for that blanket to be there. If I was sharing a room with some guy I met on a bus, I'd want a blanket on a rope, too - AND some tactical grade pepper spray! It's not even a "tenet of moral rectitude" - there are practical reasons not to have sex with random strangers you meet on public transportation (even if they look like Gable, lol.)

I still want this deck, though. :icon_mrgreen:

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Re: The Tarot - Hollywood Connection

Post by welkin »

Katrinka -
yes, i agree It Happened One Night certainly isn't the end -all-&- be-all of censorship, but i would like to point out a few things:
first, what you see on film is the result of internalized censorship - that is, the script was written in such a way that the blanket dividing the room would seem natural - even the fact that it was given a name and so pointed to, made into a game, is part of the whole idea. when things get sexual in film, there's usually a fade out, as in Casablanca - i could hardly have a fade-out on my card! :icon_e_wink:
IHON came out immediately after the Code's implementation, and whether you agree or not it is often cited as one of the first examples of the code. just have a look at a pre-code film like No Man Of Her Own, say, when Clark Gable pops in on Carole Lombarde staying alone in a cabin. she is standing in silk shorts and bra, and then puts on silk pajamas to speak with him. another factor is that Capra was actually quite prudish. The I Love Lucy example is anachronistic, but The Thin Man is a good example of an egregious use of separate beds.
also, i hadn't mentioned IHON elsewhere, so felt it was an ideal spot to.
what's more, censorship - or more specifically the Hierophant - isn't all bad; rules have their place. left to its own devices, films will often cater to the most base in people. compare a pre-code film such a No Man Of Her Own with IHON and you will see the difference.
lastly, the IHON is symbolic more than anything - how can what isn't shown be shown? i find a number of the other prohibitions personally more troubling, such as not showing miscegenation. but as a card maker i couldn't show not showing miscegenation, and so instead used IHON symbolically, using the biggest prohibition - the one most fought over and which most people concerned themselves with - the issue of sex.

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Re: The Tarot - Hollywood Connection

Post by katrinka »

No gauntlet thrown down, welkin. I make an effort to alienate as few old movie buffs as possible - without us, more will be lost.
But I was curious about your choice - why IHON? That was why I posted.
I agree, the screenplay was toned down quite a bit from the original short story (Night Bus by Samuel Hopkins Adams). (Ellie/Elspeth is MUCH less virginal in that one - doesn't she mail Peter Warne a toy trumpet? LOL.) But the Walls of Jericho are in the short story as well.
1934 - yes. The year the Code kicked in - HARD. And ruined a lot of movies. (A lot of the fun of movies like Red Headed Woman, Blonde Venus, etc. is the fact that the first time you see them, it's not a given that the cheating person will be killed or imprisoned by the end of the movie. You have to watch it and see what happens. :clap: )
But the Code was around before that, obviously. Look at Gable and Harlow in Hold Your Man - the first half is a glorious Anita Loos romp through sex and con games. The second half is all punishment - Hollywood self-flagellation in an attempt to stave off the Hayes office. And wouldn't I LOVE to get my hands on the original draft of the script with the original ending. (But isn't that the one where Gable carries her into the bedroom and kicks the door shut? What is not shown can indeed be shown. :icon_mrgreen: ) They even made an alternate version for the South, with a white preacher. UGH.
The code came in, and all the women became virgins, married, or doomed. (Marilyn in Niagra comes to mind - she had every reason to step out on that psycho, but they (very predictably) killed her character off. OK, that's kind of post-Code, but the 50's - yuck. Other than All About Eve,, I could pass on the whole decade, with very few exceptions.)
Silent and Pre Code are my favorite eras in film. And I do want that lingerie those women had. Step-ins! Chemises! Rolled stockings! Real silk and handmade lace. :thumbup:
There are some later Golden Age movies that I do love (the Thin Man movies you mentioned - I should have thought of Nick and Nora's beds, but they're so perfect together that the twin beds were forgotten. When I grow up I still want to be Nora Charles. :icon_lol: ) The Best Years of Our Lives, The Primrose Path, I can watch those over and over.
A long time ago, the people across the ocean dumped all their religious zealots on the Americas. And we're battling their descendants. They need to get out of our art and worry about their own souls.
And with that, I will get out of your art. I would have put a different image on the bottom of that card, but so what? It's a great deck.
I was sold the minute I saw it. Walls of Jericho or no. :icon_e_biggrin:

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Re: The Tarot - Hollywood Connection

Post by welkin »

katrinka - i truly appreciate your passion and your knowledge. i didn't mean to come off as peevish - always a problem when one is on the defensive. also, i could never totally disagree with someone who rights-off the 50s! (along with All About Eve i'd throw in In A Lonely Place, African Queen, Touch of Evil, and the films of Kazan). what i would say finally about IHON on the Hierophant is it's something of a concession; a visual metaphor. the real point of the card of course is Will Hays - and actually not just that he was the figurehead of the Production Code, but that he was put there by the studios themselves, and as importantly: as a right-wing progressive, whose "thing" was the union of government and corporate worlds, he worked to consolidate the block booking and vertical integration of the main 8 studios. what's more, he coordinated a unified front against labour unions in the studios. in this way, he is like the popes of old - highly political, working hand in glove with kings, and reinforcing the status quo to maintain their own hegemony while pretending on the surface to serve the little guy and/or be their moral guide. This in turn ties in with The Emperor being the studio mogul, The Justice card being the Screen Actors Guild - Christian Law versus Common Law to carry on the metaphor - and the Supreme Court Anti-Trust decision which tore down vertical integration as the Tower card.
I hope you do one day get the deck - not for my own monetary benefit, but hopefully for your enjoyment and so that maybe we could carry on a correspondence about it!

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Re: The Tarot - Hollywood Connection

Post by katrinka »

And I did not mean to put you on the defensive! It's just so irresistible to have someone to debate this stuff with. Most have no clue.

OMG, Touch of Evil! Dietrich telling Welles "Your future is all used up."



(BTW, have you seen/read "Nightmare Alley"?)

I agree - Hays ruined movies, for the most part. I would venture so far as to say that the Code warped HUMANITY, to some extent. I blogged about that a few years ago, https://fennario.wordpress.com/tag/pre-code/

I really don't care if you want my money or not. I will be around next payday, or the one after, at the latest. I need this deck!

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Re: The Tarot - Hollywood Connection

Post by welkin »

i've seen the film of nightmare alley with joan blondell and tyrone power, but i didn't know about the book - which is odd in a way 'cause i'm a book guy. i'll keep an eye out for it. joan blondell is an apt name for the actress - oddly, her actual name - but tyrone power? also oddly his real name [actually tyrone power the third] but Power is not what comes to mind when i see him.
speaking of books, there's an interesting book just come out called Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots Against Hollywood and America by steven j. ross. which is a little odd because i thought steven j. ross died years ago.
i found your blog interesting. the false representation of life in Hollywood films is the essence of hegemony. it is rather insidious - like, no representation of homosexuals. this is precisely why i included so many real-life anecdotes, backgrounds, and the ongoing political reality in Hollywood in my tarot - not only to resurrect the truth but to give the deck some authenticity rather than floating around in some star-spangled dream-factory ether.
The book and deck are on their way from the printer. when they arrive i will make them available on the website, and for a little cheaper than they are priced on the indiegogo campaign.

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welkin
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Joined: 29 Sep 2017, 10:07

Re: The Tarot - Hollywood Connection

Post by welkin »

just to update everyone: The Beatles Tarot and The Golden Age of Hollywood Tarot are now available on their respective websites, which are:
beatlestarot.com
&
goldenageofhollywoodtarot.com

with the decks and book now printed and available, i have reduced the price. The Beatles tarot deck & book is now $60 for the set, as is The Golden Age of Hollywood Tarot deck & book.

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