Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Field Research

Bronislaw Malinowski was a famous Polish anthropologist. He wrote seminal works on ethnography and field research. His signature tome was Argonauts of The Western Pacific (1922). He had three daughters Jozefa (b. 1920), Wanda (b. 1922) and Helena (b.1925). Wanda became a model who worked for the Ford Agency under the name of Wanda Delafield. Eventually she left the world of fashion to marry an Italian Vincent (Nicky) Montemora. They would have three children before their divorce. Wanda had met the publisher Hiram Haydn who introduced her to a young writer named William Styron. Years later one of her daughters would work for William and Rose Styron. That daughter had grown up in Westport Connecticut, off Exit 17 of the New England Thruway over whose exit a large neon "Arrow" pointed to a restaurant of the same name. In the summer of l963, Wanda's daughter met a young man, the son of a Manhattan couple who had rented a house in the neighborhood in which Wanda lived, near Campo Beach, facing the Long Island Sound. Coincidentally Wanda's house was opposite the one rented by the brother of William Kapell, the famous pianist who died in a plane crash en route from an Australian tour, on October 29, 1953. Wanda's daughter was swarthy skinned, mysterious and deeply nebulous; at l7 she already drove her mother’s red Valiant station wagon. Even though the young man was two years younger, he got his courage up and the two went out on a date, seeing the L-Shaped Room (1962) with Leslie Caron, which was playing at The Fine Arts, the local art house cinema with its diminutive curved marquee. The film was part of the wave of realistic British cinema which included Look Back in Anger and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. The young man, a romantic to the core, with a fascination for rescuing wayward creatures, had found his mark, in the troubled child of divorce. He was smitten. But his feelings of love weren't reciprocated. He spent the rest of the summer pining hopelessly after the young woman who he occasionally spotted cruising up and down the road from the beach to the village, in the company of the "fast crowd" from which he was excluded. By the following summer The Beach Boys' "Don't Worry Baby" hit the charts, providing the melancholy soundtrack for his ill-fated romance.

Read "L'avventura at Film Forum" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and listen to "Don't Worry Baby" by The Beach Boys

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