Steve McQueen: A Personal Perspective
Posted in the Steve McQueen Forum
#1 Feb 26, 2007
THE KING OF COOL
Steve McQueen became one of the greatest celebrity actors while I was in my teens and twenties. At the start of the 9th stage of history, at the start of what the Baha’is call the Kingdom of God on Earth in 1953, McQueen appeared in his first film Girl On The Run; he had been studying acting in New York in 1952 at the age of 22. He starred in many famous films. The year I became a Baha’i, 1959, he was in Never So Few); the year of the election of the apex of the Baha’i administrative order in 1963 he was in The Great Escape and the year I pioneered to Australia, 1971, Le Mons. He died six months after I finally was treated for bi-polar disorder in 1980. McQueen was then aged 50 and I was 36. His films continued to be popular and reruns are often seen to this day on television. In the 9th and 10th stages of history, the half century from 1953 to 2003, McQueen has been a significant presence in the film industry, an anti-hero and “The King of Cool.”-Ron Price with thanks to SBS TV,“Steve McQueen: The Essence of Cool,” 7:30-9:05 p.m., 25 February 2007.
Did we enjoy you because of
some repressed or unconscious
desires? Or were our reasons
more complex and contradictory?
Was it some visceral combination
of looking and hearing, enticements
of voyeuristic sexual pleasure, or a
spectator’s orienting and discovery,
intriguing setting, narrative suspense,
some structure of sympathy, empathy,
a form of play & inevitable distraction?1
You’ve been around right from my
late childhood and even now I see
you on TV in reruns. Have you
helped me organize my world
through those creatures, those
plays of invention, unconstrained
imagination and fantasy that made
you rich, then tragic and then dead?
Do you flash upon my inward eye
when in my bliss of solitude? Do
you have any place at all in the
recesses of my mind and heart?
When I wander lonely as a cloud
through life do you give me any
shape, coherence or vividness?
Sadly, as the Kingdom of God
on Earth wound its way through
the first half century of its life,
you excited with a flutter and
dance for a time and then were
gone. But, for a time, you
cherished your daily life with2
a certain truth and gave it to us
moment by moment on the screen.
1 Carl Plantinga,“Movie Pleasures and the Spectator’s Experience: toward A Cognitive Approach,” Film and Philosophy, Volume II, 1994.
2 The aim of William Wordsworth’s The Prelude was also expressed in these same words and more:“meditations passionate from deep recesses in man’s heart.”
26 February 2007
#2 Feb 26, 2007
I find the process of following the life of a celebrity and my own provides a helpful juxtaposition. And so I will continue the process in this 2nd posting.
I never felt I was super cool like, say, Steve McQueen in The Great Escape, Jim Morrison in the Doors or Sonny Corleone in The Godfather. They were all cool and I was not in their league. I often felt 'laid back' as they say colloquially but not cool or super cool.
McQueen earned his only Academy Award nomination for the 1966 film The Sand Pebbles. That same year I graduated from university in Canada. McQueen appeared in 1973's Papillon, the year I taught at Para Hills High School, the first open plan secondary school in South Australia, a model school and a wonderful personal achievement.
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