Monday, September 18, 2006

My "Conan" moment

So, I'm home from work for my dinner break, munching away on a turkey sandwich. Earlier in the day, my other half had rented a Renee Zellwegger movie; she had said it was the only movie of Renee's she had not seen, and she's a Renee fan.

So, I'm chewing on my sandwich while this movie is playing on the TV. I'm not paying much attention to it, but I pick up from the clothes the story is taking place in the 1920s or 1930s in Texas. I barely notice onscreen a young man taking care of a sick older woman.

I'm more interested in my sandwich than the movie, at this point. However, the young man calls the woman "mother," and she says something to him like "You received a letter from that Mr. Lovecraft fellow you've been writing to."

I nearly crack my neck to glare at the TV.

Texas. 1920s. Young man taking care of his ill mom. Lovecraft.

I turn to stare at my other half. "Is that Robert E. Howard?" I yell, pointing at the TV.

"Yeah, so," she says.

I look at the TV again, then I look back at her. "Don't you know who Robert E. Howard is?" I ask.

"Uh, no. Should I?" she says. "He's some writer."

"He's the father of sword and sorcery writing!" I yell.

She's still not impressed. "Oh, okay," she says. "Well, he's sort of dating Renee Zellwegger in this movie."

From then on, I've lost interest in my sandwich. I'm even late getting back to work. All because of a movie about the last days of Robert E. Howard and the almost love affair he has with Novalyne Price.

I swear I had never heard of this movie before then. If you're interested, the name of the flick is "The Whole Wide World."


Anonymous said...

I've been trying to find that on DVD for a while now ... I saw only a few moments of it once on TV. How was the flick?

-- Steve

Ty said...

Still haven't seen the end of it. I had to rush back to work because I was already late.

Before I left, the girlfriend asked, "Will they get married?"

Thinking quickly, I replied, "Uh, I don't think Howard ever married."

Ty said...

Steve, the movie's not too bad. It's not great, but not bad.
It definitely shows you that Howard "wasn't quite right."
The movie mentions Conan numerous times, and Howard's boxing writing a little, but it doesn't mention any of the other hundreds of stories and poems he wrote. I considered that a failing, but the movie's story is really more about Novelyn Price and her relation with Howard than about Howard himself. Still, despite that he's best remembered for Conan, he wrote tons of other stuff, and (in my opinion) was moving away from S&S writing the last year of his life.