I tend to view film noirs as fantasies dealing with realistic themes. As such, they don't have to be versimilitudinous representations of the way people would act in a realworld parallel (for the narratives are rarely plausible), but be symbollically suggestive of our moral situation. If Robert Mitchum or Burt Lancaster falls in love to the point of a sick obsession within 2 minutes of screen time, that's okay; it just adds to the dreamy quality of the film, while still conveying something real. What doesn't work within the oneiric narrative is Desperate's hero, Steve (Steve Brodie), and villain, Walt (Raymond Burr), consistently acting in such a dunderheaded fashion that their actions convey nothing but ill-thought out plot mechanics.
On the eve of his and Anne's (Audrey Long) 6-month anniversary, independent trucker Steve gets a job offer from an old friend, Walt. Tried and true Steve doesn't find out until he gets to the loading dock that the job is transporting stolen merchandise. He, of course, refuses, only to be persuaded at gun point. The cops show up for a shootout, allowing Steve to escape in his truck after punching out the hood who's currently in the driver's seat. Walt's brother, Al (Larry Nunn), isn't so lucky, getting knocked out and arrested. Now on the lam, Steve commits the first in a long line of convenient errors which get him where the scenarists need him to be. He leaves the hood's gun on his lap with the hood unconscious in the passenger seat. The crook wakes up, grabs the gun and forces Steve to take him to Walt's hideout. Although pure nonsense, Mann and his cinematographer, George Diskant, at least aesthetically justify these contrivances with the film's noirish set piece, where Walt and his cronies beat the tar out of Steve in a masterful chiaroscuro rendering:
A new study was published last month in BMC Neuroscience; researchers from the Max Planck Institute in Berlin, Ulman Lindenberger, Viktor Müller, and Shu-Chen Li and Walter Gruber from the University of Salzburg using an electroencephalography (EEG) -- a machine that measures electrical activity in the brain -- found that musicians who play in sync have brains that also fall into alignment. And the more they play together, the more in synch their brains become.
Eight pairs of guitarists were wired-up and examined as they played a jazz-fusion melody. Performing the piece as many as 60 times, the EEG picked up their brain waves via electrodes glued to their scalps. As their playing became more synchronized, several regions of the brain reflected the coordination. The frontal and central regions of the brain exhibited the strongest synchronization. But the temporal and parietal regions also showed a high level of synchronization in at least half of the pairs of musicians. These regions may be part of a process supporting the coordinated action between players, or the area simply enjoying the music.
The study suggests that when people do activities together, called "interpersonally coordinated actions," these acts are preceded and accompanied by brain wave coordination-- “the between-brain oscillatory couplings.” The authors of the study presume that these couplings reflect similarities in the temporal properties of one's senses and actions. However the study did not prove whether this coupling occurred in response to the beat of the music, or by watching each other's movements or by paying close attention to each other’s playing, or whether the synchronization takes place first and next promotes a coordinated performance. To clarify that, further research would be needed.
Oddly enough, this is the first time musicians have been measured jointly while performing together. Of course, I think the obvious study should measure the brainwaves of drummers playing with guitarists, and then lead singers and strippers … and yes, there are at least 2000 other jokes hovering over head.
Heads up, everybody. This planet just got less funny.
Bea Arthur in Maude....
Bea Arthur in The Golden Girls...