I’ve been going back and forth all day about how to deal, if at all, with the more sensational/embarrassing aspects of the ongoing story of David Carradine’s death.
I’m not doing a gossip column here. Ethical issues aside, on a day to day basis, I have little interest in it. However, there are times when I’m just as fascinated by the more dramatic details of other people’s lives as anyone, particularly if they were interesting people, and David Carradine certainly qualified. In any case, if you’re a cinephile and you deny being a bit of a voyeur, you’re probably no fun to spend time with.
Also, how can anyone ignore a possible auto-erotic asphyxiation, a morality tale about what can happen when self-described recovering alcoholics apparently return to drinking, and even an apparent suspicion of the possibility of foul play? Considering my linking to the stories above, I’d be a huge hypocrite to deny my own interest in this stuff, but as Will Harris’ memorial piece from the morning of reminds us, this was a human being and there’s a good chance I might well find myself dying in some embarrassing way. (Perhaps choking on a pastrami sandwich, clad only boxers and a mustard-stained Astro-Boy t-shirt, while watching “Once More With Feeling” for the 200th time.)
In any case, I don’t have much to add to it except for one more link, from close to where I live in the heart of American Cinephilia. It’s writer Chris Willman‘s account of a post-screening Q&A involving Carradine and legendary cinematographer Haskell Wexler — an important filmmaker and a complex dude in his own right — gone seriously weird. I don’t know how I missed hearing about this event when it actually happened. I’ve been to hundreds of such post-screening discussions and while things have occasionally gotten slightly prickly under the surface when former coworkers reunite to discuss eventful productions, I’ve never seen anything rivaling this. But, as the putative host of the event, a screening of Hal Ashby’s epic biopic, “Bound for Glory,” implied in the comment I lifted for the title of this post, it does kind of a give us a peak inside the hairier side of picture-making, which may have been just a bit hairier in the 1970s.