Just saw one of my favorite movies this evening, Steven Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun, in which a British boy, son of a factory owner in occupied prewar Shanghai, is split from his parents as they try to flee after Dec. 7, and ends up in an internment camp next to a Japanese fighter base. Eventually the war comes to a close, the internees wander out of the camp, and Jim (Christian Bale), after witnessing an atom-bomb blast from a distance, passes under a carved arch embellished as shown above, and finds himself in a pasture (below) littered with the confiscated possessions of his family and their fellow wealthy expats, including Jim’s father’s 1934 Packard Eight Club Sedan and his mother’s white baby grand piano. The music, composed by John Williams, is enchanting, even haunting.
Anyhow, that lush collection reminded me of the extraordinary furnishings of Boston’s Algonquin Club. In fact, I can testify that it’s much better as arrayed there than similar stuff in scattered heaps were in the film.
All this by way of reminding readers that I’ll be speaking there about my book, Lost Providence, this coming Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 6:30 p.m. The address is 217 Commonwealth Ave. The event is sponsored by the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art. Reservations are $25 for ICAA members and $35 for the public.
What a show! I refer to the movie. The lecture has not yet occurred.