There’s a slightly tweaked new Manalive trailer out

Now in black and white!

The film premieres at the American Chesterton Society conference in Reno, NV in August. You can register for the conference here. The conference is always a super-blast of fun and this year promises to be in that grand tradition. Here’s the schedule:

Thursday, August 2nd

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Registration and Vendor Exhibits

7:00 PM

7:15 PM The Adventures of Wisdom Smith
Dale Ahlquist, President of the American Chesterton Society

8:30 PM The Humor and Humility of Chesterton
Joseph Pearce, Writer-in-Residence and Professor of Literature at Ave Maria University; Co-Editor of the Saint Austin Review (StAR)

Friday, August 3rd

9:00 AM The Failures of Innocent Smith
Cameron Moore, PhD, Baylor University and Chesterton scholar

10:30 AM The Nightmare Goodness of God
Ralph Wood, Professor of Theology and Literature, Baylor University

1:00 PM Chesterton’s Great Campaign to Save a Century
Jason Jones, President and Founder of Whole Life America; Co-Executive Producer of Bella

2:30 PM On Scandal
Mark Shea, Popular Catholic writer and speaker

4:00 PM Chesterton and Shakespeare
Kevin O’Brien, President & Artistic Director, Theater of the Word Incorporated

Evening Program – Manalive World Premiere!

7:00 PM
Performance by Eric Genuis, virtuoso pianist and acclaimed performer

7:30 PM World premiere of the movie, Manalive

9:00 PM Comments by Joey Odendahl, director, Manalive

Followed by a chat with members of the cast (Mark Shea, Kevin O’Brien, Kaiser Johnson, Ashley Ahlquist, Dale Ahlquist)

Saturday, August 4th

9:00 AM The Plays and Poetry of Frances Chesterton
Nancy Carpentier Brown, author and Frances Chesterton expert

10:30 AM Chesterton and Aristotle
Julian Ahlquist, Chesterton Academy Faculty Member

1:00 PM Break-Out Sessions

Session I:
Back by Popular Demand – Chesterton Q&A; Dale Ahlquist, President, the American Chesterton Society

Session II:
Chesterton and H.G. Wells: A Comparison, Andrew Tadie, Seattle University

Session III:
How to Run and Grow a Local Society, Victoria Darkey, Chesterton Society Liaison

3:00 PM Chesterton and Liberty
Laurence Rohrer, Professor of Philosophy, Lincoln University professor

5:00 PM
Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas Cathedral with the Most Reverend Randolph Calvo, Bishop of Reno

7:00 PM Closing Banquet
TRADITIONS: Jokes, Toasts, Songs, Clerihews and Other Fun
(Pre-sold guests only – don’t forget to register! Click here for tickets.)

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  • ivan_the_mad

    BWAHAHAHAHA! That brightened up a dreary work day considerably.

    I wish I could attend the conference 🙁 You all will be in my prayers, even if I will be insanely jealous.

    • ivan_the_mad

      Also, I totally can’t look at Kevin O’Brien without thinking of him as Nietzsche.

      • Ted Seeber

        Funny, I can’t look at him without seeing Professor Stanford Nutting. And his orchestra of a family.

        • ivan_the_mad

          Hahaha! With his “inclusivity sweater”!

          Oh no wait, what am I doing? This is the intarwebz on a Catholic forum!!! HOW DARE YOU DISAGREE WITH ME, HEATHEN!!! THOU ART NOT A GENUINE CATHOLIC! I ALONE HAVE THE GNOSIS!!!

  • Andy, Bad Person

    I would pay the price of admission just to see that look on Kevin O’Brien’s face again. It’s just perfect.

    • ivan_the_mad

      I’d vote this comment up if at all possible.

    • Ted Seeber

      Not quite as scary as Jim Parsons on Big Bang Theory trying to show a high functioning autistic being friendly (Sheldon Cooper Smiling- now there’s a scary scene), but close.

      BTW, is it just me, or is the fact that Sheldon seems to be the ONLY moral person on Big Bang theory just a little bit creepy?

  • Anthony Nonymous

    Can’t wait to see the completed film, in whatever venue it appears!

    Really looking forward to living at least long enough to see someone produce the film version of “The Man Who Was Thursday,” which would certainly tax the production design, thespian and directorial limits of nearly everyone involved in its production! To do the novel justice, the film would probably have to be mixtures of screwball comedy, Marx Bros. farce, espionage thriller, frantic chase movie and paranoid Hitchcock suspense film, with interludes of full-blown traditional hand-drawn animation, and an intermission during which the audience was permitted a therapeutic session of world-view reorientation before proceeding to the crypto-apocalyptic big-finish finale, with drinks and/or spiritual counseling provided afterwards and included in the price of the ticket.

    But I can’t think of a living director who could pull it off, and the dead ones are otherwise occupied. So, not holding my breath.

  • kath

    Terrence Malick, maybe?

    • Anthony Nonymous

      Never seen any of Malick’s work, though I know he’s responsible for the highly-regarded “Tree of Life” (which, to be repetitive, I’ve never seen, and for some reason can’t get myself excited about seeing). Ideally, the director should probably be someone we’ve never heard of before, had no oeuvre or reputation to have to live up to or to conform to, and didn’t mind putting it all out on the edge and going a little crazy when he had to (which would likely be about every 10-15 minutes). It’s hard to imagine a film audience watching the movie version of “Thursday” and not becoming disoriented to the point of absolute delight or outrage.

      It’s also hard to imagine a studio laying out the substantial amount of money for a production likely to incite such polarized audience reactions, or a director willing to undertake a project that might be likely to hang over his head for what remained of his career–or, once he understood the book well enough to translate it faithfully into film, might not find that he wanted to do something more substantial with his life than making movies.

      Orson Welles did a radio version of the novel for his “Mercury Theater of the Air,” and one likes to imagine what he would have done with it as a movie if he hadn’t decided to go all “Citizen Kane” on us–all that bizarre and inventive cinematography he used in “Citizen Kane” could have been turned towards and channeled through “Thursday” to great and unforgettable effect; but he was a young man building a film career, and apparently thought that a cinematic disembowelling of Wm Randolph Hearst was the thing to garner attention. But maybe it’s just as well that he didn’t do “The Man Who Was Thursday.”

      • A delightful exchange of ideas going on here! I’m thinking of a different Terrence, of the Gilliam sort, as far as technical and artistic ability goes.

        Anthony, you’re a talented writer-why don’t you have a blog (I have a blog, therefore I am!)? Welles was right about “Citizen Kane” garnering attention, but it probably wasn’t the attention he wanted. He could have played a great Chesterton I think, God rest his soul.

        Mr. Shea, you look like a fine actor and I look forward to seeing the film when it becomes generally available.

        • Anthony Nonymous

          There you go: Terrence Gilliam (but, as you say, for his technical and artistic contributions)! I saw his “Brazil” and was astounded by it, but have never been able to get anyone else I know interested in sitting through it, except one friend of mine, who found it profoundly depressing. If you could rein in his own personal ideological predilections, hand him a copy of “Thursday,” and just tell him “(a)Read the book; (b) Understand what it’s saying, and then (c) FILM THAT BOOK!” you would possibly have something worth going to see–and the theaters would probably have to install seat belts and restraining harnesses for the ride that was coming! The majority of the critics, of course, would have no idea what to make of it. But just the idea: Terry Gilliam’s “The Man Who Was Thursday”–thanks for giving me something to dream about!

          Don’t have a blog because I don’t have the dedication to maintain one, and would have to think of something to write on a regular basis–it’s easier just to hang around the com-boxes like an uninvited guest at a party, and then mouth off and pop out. But thank you for your kind words!

          • ivan_the_mad

            Ha! “Brazil” is great! I only saw the movie once, and years ago at that, but scenes frequently pop into mind relating to some news item. The barrage of loan offers in prison, the “leader” striding about with a whole mob of attendants … great stuff. Dittos on not having a blog and hanging around the comboxes.

  • “director… once he understood the book well enough to translate it faithfully into film, might not find that he wanted to do something more substantial with his life than making movies”

    Or perhaps “The Man Who Was Thursday” could just inspire a director to make BETTER movies? I guess I don’t have the disdain for movies that some have. Filmmaking is just another way to tell a story.

    In any case, you’re right… Getting investors to take a risk on an adaptation of “Thursday” is a major challenge. They always want to change the ending (thus ruining the whole thing) or modernize it too much. I suppose that’s why every announced film adaptation of the book has fallen through. The most recent was an NYC production company that went so far as to announce their film in a press release… Only to drop the idea a few months later. My guess is that the money never materialized.

    With Manalive, “Moonhunt Productions” was able to get away with shooting it digitally for 100 grand. (And it took 2 years to find an investor willing to put up that amount.) But that wouldn’t even pay for the PROPS on a production like The Man Who Was Thursday! You’d want it to be a 35MM film, preferably a “period piece” and with the book’s ending intact. Who would be willing to put up the millions for that? Even with Spielberg as a director, I suspect investors would be very nervous.

    • Anthony Nonymous

      No particular slam against film-making was intended by my comment–this was just the context in which the observation occurred: whether one is a movie-maker, a potter, a baker, a teacher, or a physician, once that Door opens to the bigger, Outer World which presents more possibilities than one had dreamed possible, and which has all the aspects of the REAL World, everything one has been doing can’t help but seem like being a boy too easily contented by playing with toys in a darkened room, when Outside there are Mountains! Clouds heaped like vanilla ice cream in a too-blue sky! Vast golden fields! Rivers! It’s only natural to want to drop the toys one has been playing with and step through the door and head off to those mountains, no matter WHAT one is doing. I very much like movies myself, and regard film-makers as legitimate artists and story-tellers as much as novelists and playwrights and fine painters–one of the inarguably great things that film-makers can do is to teach you to SEE things you have likely never noticed before, and to see them in an intuitively meaningful way–so please forgive me if I sounded dismissive of the art in my comment–no such meaning was intended!

      And, oh, yeah–“Thursday” would most definitely have to be a period piece, and 35mm, and the ending completely unaltered, or else what’s the point? But it’s hard for me to imagine the film version of “Thursday” being a runaway box-office paradigm-shattering hit–unless the world changes radically by the time the film is released (and who knows?–the “Thursday” movie could even be the thing that changes it!)–and investors are rather less impressed by a noble failure than by a property that makes money hand over fist and leaves them richer than Croesus and diving into their money bins like Scrooge McDuck (well, that was uncharitable . . . a little). But they naturally want to see some kind of return on their investment–and, not being a film-maker myself (nor, in fact, ever likely even to be permitted near a movie camera), I have no idea how I would even begin to approach investors with a “pitch” for “Thursday” that would get them to shell out more than pocket change.

      All I can do is hope that someday, someone can manage it and that I’ll get to see the results!

    • Ted Seeber

      The props aren’t so hard for the Man Who Was Thursday, but I think you’d need a few Parkour experts for stunt men.

      I’ve got some excellent locations in Oregon one could use for several of the scenes.

  • After seeing Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus,” I’m convinced he can do almost anything. However, the ending was weak and it was hard not to leave the theater when I realized (spoiler!) the movie was about Our Lord as the Wandering Jew (at least that’s my take on it). Of course, that was Heath Ledger’s final performance which was cut short by his death. I heard people rave about his performance, but I felt it was a bit lacking and subtly showed the exhaustion and stress he was under, which apparently led to his death. Johnny Depp took over Heath’s role halfway through as the character morphs his appearance-then the character becomes Jude Law and Colin Farrell (Gilliam could get away with this and it was a very good way of solving the problem). My heart sunk at Johnny Depp’s first appearance in the “other world,” knowing that the break in the story meant Heath’s death. But there’s more going on here. Heath morphs at the exact point in the story where he enters the world beyond and Depp told Gilliam he wanted to add a line to the script-not knowing they were the exact words that Heath last spoke on the set, “Don’t shoot the messenger.” Creepy stuff. Despite the offensive depiction of Our Lord, the movie does have some deep themes which I personally related to strongly. I can’t recommend the film unless you want to watch it for research purposes. So…how can we get Gilliam to do “Thursday” and who will pay for it? Yes, Anthony, its probably just a dream.

  • Anthony Nonymous

    “I can’t recommend the film unless you want to watch it for research purposes.”

    Thanks for your information on the movie, which I have not seen and probably never will. For one thing, the title kind of puts me off–a little too “ootsey-cutesy” for my tastes. For another, there’s the line “offensive depiction of Our Lord,” which is one of nature’s warning signs to stay way the hell away. And third, in re-running parts of Gilliam’s films in my mind during this discussion, I have been reminded of a . . . viscerally creepy . . . element in his movies that I find hard to analyze and am not sure would work well in an adaptation of “The Man Who Was Thursday,” but what do I know? In terms of film design and cinematography–one writer used the phrase “hallucinatory clarity” in describing Gilliam’s on-screen imagery, which is spot on–it would be hard to think of anyone better than he to handle it and to present the atmosphere of “humorous nightmare” that the novel is full of. On the other hand, once the story had been run through the Gilliam Processing Unit, how much of the novel would be left? You wouldn’t know until the million of bucks had been spent and the final result was on the screen.

    ” So…how can we get Gilliam to do “Thursday” and who will pay for it? ”

    (1) Probably can’t, and therein may lie the Mercy of God. (2) Probably nobody–see the last sentence of the previous paragraph. The money would likely be too big a gamble for almost anybody.

    “Yes, Anthony, its probably just a dream.”

    Suits me, in a way. But just for fun, somewhere out there in web-land, there is (or used to be) a freely-downloadable collection of Orson Welles’ “Mercury Theater of the Air” radio episodes, among which is his audio adaptation of “The Man Who Was Thursday.” Find it, click it, sit back in your comfortable chair, get what you want to eat and drink, and listen to the soundtrack of the movie you can imagine to your heart’s content without shelling out a single thin dime for production or admission!

  • Anthony Nonymous

    At the risk of utterly wearing out whatever welcome may remain to me as regards this subject, here is the web address of the Mercury Theater collection of old radio shows, including “The Man Who Was Thursday”:

    Happy listening, all who dare!

    • Thanks! I think I will actually listen to that with my husband-I think he’ll love it. Hope to converse with you in the future. CF

  • enness

    I came back to this entry to say that, largely thanks to this trailer (I am making a tentative foray back into novel reading for pleasure after some years of burnout), I’m finally reading Manalive.

  • iClaudius

    Reno? Guns? I hope you didn’t “shoot a man in Reno just to watch him die”.