The UFO Iconoclast(s)

Friday, November 08, 2013

The Origin and Stimulus for the Men in Black tales

This is the film that generated the Men in Black story and descriptive (from Albert Bender):

liliom.jpg
mib.jpg
mib1.jpg
mib2.jpg
mib3.jpg
mib4.jpg

RR

21 Comments:

  • A 1934 french movie would've resurfaced, decades later, from the subconscious of americans ? That's a long implausible stretch.
    Why not Jean Cocteau's superb Orphée (1950)? Not that it makes much more sense anyway IMHO.

    By Blogger Yvan D., at Friday, November 08, 2013  

  • Yvan D...

    Bender was a cineast and not from the subconscious (whatever that is) but a deliberate stolen stimulus.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, November 08, 2013  

  • What's the reasoning linking a 1934 french movie with a 1953 incident experienced by an american ? I dont get it.
    Has Alfred Bender ever mentioned being a fan of Fritz Lang, or having seen Liliom ?
    Furthermore, could Peter Lorre be partially responsible for Barney & Betty Hill abduction experience ?

    By Blogger Yvan D., at Friday, November 08, 2013  

  • Peter Lorre is responsible for everything: The Airship wave, Roswell, and Mothman too.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, November 08, 2013  

  • You only need to add a landing UFO scene to the beginning of M to create another sci-fi classic.

    By Blogger Yvan D., at Friday, November 08, 2013  

  • Well, there were some "abduction" scenes in M so...

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, November 08, 2013  

  • This is more plausible in Bender's case and yet not a silver bullet for the entire affair, which may or may not set a mold in which to place alleged cases of intimidation into a basket of reductionist patterns, flavored with a patina worthy of HP Lovecraft. Poor Peter Lorre, ever since he made his debut in M as a frighteningly convincing murderer,he was as typecast as the MIB. I will never forget his brilliant acting fit of anger toward his cohort upon finding the Maltese Falcon was a fake...a waste of time..which somewhat reminds me of the subject matter at hand..a totemic fake?

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Friday, November 08, 2013  

  • I found no indication that Albert Bender was a cineast. But Gray Barker liked to tell a good story.

    http://www.csicop.org/si/show/gray_barker_my_friend_the_myth-maker/

    By Blogger Yvan D., at Friday, November 08, 2013  

  • This is very interesting, as Bender did have a big interest in movies, and also, in the 70s, he played a major role in helping preserve the work of film-composer Max Steiner. If you Google Bender and Steiner you'll find quite a bit of info.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Saturday, November 09, 2013  

  • One more thing: Waxman (who did the music for the 1934 movie) actually worked with Steiner at Warner Brothers in the 1940s. So there is (in a roundabout way) a Bender tie-in there too.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Saturday, November 09, 2013  

  • Since Bender was already into Steiner's work in the 1940s and Franz Waxman (who did the music for the MIB-like "Liliom" movie) and Steiner worked with Waxman, that makes it quite plausible that Bender saw the movie. On top of that, Bender wasn't just impressed by Steiner's work he also founded the Max Steiner Music Society, demonstrating he knew a great deal about Steiner - and just maybe Waxman too, given their work/collaboration for Warner Bros.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Saturday, November 09, 2013  

  • And here we see Bender, Waxman and Steiner all listed together:

    http://www.allmusic.com/performance/the-philadelphia-story-film-score-mq0000742048/credits

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Saturday, November 09, 2013  

  • god, M is just the creepiest, most heartbreaking movie...

    very interesting research Messers Redfern and Reynolds. Although i've not had time to take a look at it in depth it looks very likely as one significant part of the MIB lore origins.

    I ask this next question in all honesty and curiosity, not to be a faceatious pest as may seem at first glance. What's the 'origin and stimulus' for the 'men in black'/abduction imagery in "Liliom"?

    My sister majored in film studies for a year or two at UCB and we were rooming together at the time, so a fair amount of film history and lore rubbed off onto me. Reading this entry it struck me that in ufology we'd look elsewhere for the 'origins of the MIB imagery and lore', landing in this instance on a film.

    But were we in film studies, we'd take Liliom as our start point, in which case we'd look outside of this particular film for similar, prior imagery....which seems to be kicking the can down the road in some senses.

    I would be interested to see if we can find a place where 'MIB' imagery/mythology pops up sui generis and what that origin point tells us about all this (if anything). I also wonder about what we could find out/already know about why Bender chose this particular imagery amongst the wealth available in early film, and why this one appears to have 'taken' as well as it has in the (sub)culture.

    Sorry, no answers here, only questions.....i don't have the time i'd like to devote to my eccentric interests, not to mention the study of flying saucers ;) steph

    By Blogger tinyjunco, at Sunday, November 10, 2013  

  • So, Steph....you are asking where did director Lang get his impetus for the "angels" that appear in the film. That is actually beside the point here. Lang's use of his MIBs have nothing to do with Bender's use of the imagery. Lang's creation may be interesting to film buffs (or theologians) but that discussion derails the point l'm making.

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, November 10, 2013  

  • The protagonist dies after a failed armed robbery attemp. Two lugubrious messengers take him to the afterworld, pass the chérubic angels, to the department for the deaths by suicide. (he stabbed himself before the cops could catch him)

    An exotic choice. Whose was it ? Alfred Bender, Gray Barker, RR ?

    http://youtu.be/ajQHKKDwqgs

    By Blogger Yvan D., at Sunday, November 10, 2013  

  • Yvan...

    You're making the matter more complex than it calls for.

    Bender saw the movie and when he was in trouble (with the feds and creditors), he decided to create some nuisances (MIB) as part of his troubles..

    He merely used Lang's "movie messengers" as a template or stimulus for the people he alleged was harassing him.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, November 10, 2013  

  • Can anything ever be too unnecessarily complicated in the nebulous field of ufology ?
    Have you had the opportunity to read Barker's They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers ?

    The threatening duo from The Killers could've provided inspiration too.

    http://youtu.be/dqyo1F8H8z8

    By Blogger Yvan D., at Sunday, November 10, 2013  

  • Barker didn't have the movie background that Bender had, so your thesis Yvan moves away from my suggestion, augmented by Nick Redfern's insights.

    Such an obtuse GPS comment is what makes ufology nebulous (and goofy).

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, November 10, 2013  

  • Barker didn't have the movie background that Bender had, so your thesis Yvan moves away from my suggestion, augmented by Nick Redfern's insights.

    Such an obtuse GPS comment is what makes ufology nebulous (and goofy).

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, November 10, 2013  

  • GPS comment ?

    Now, that's obtuse.

    By Blogger Yvan D., at Sunday, November 10, 2013  

  • Not obtuse to cognoscenti...

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, November 10, 2013  

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