Friday, November 13, 2009

Shakespeare, Catullus, and Jesse James

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Dir. Andrew Dominik. Perf. Sam Shepard, Mary-Louise Parker, Casey Affleck, and Brad Pitt. 2007. DVD. Warner Home Video, 2008.
Catullus. Catullus: The Complete Poems for American Readers. Trans. Reney Myers and Robert J. Ormsby. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1970.

The purpose of this post is to clarify a persistent misattribution. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford does contain a quotation from Shakespeare; however, it also contains a quotation from Catullus.

At one point in the film, one of the bandits quotes from Poem LXX by Catullus:
My love says she would marry only me,
And Jove himself could never make her care.
What women say to lovers, you'll agree,
One writes on running water or on air.
The Latin for this poem reads as follows:
Nulli se dicit mulier mea nubere malle
quam mihi, non si se Iuppiter ipse petat.
dicit: sed mulier cupido quod dicit amanti,
in uento et rapida scribere oportet aqua.
A bit later in the film, another bandit quotes from Sonnet 62 (though you can only just make out the words):
Sin of self-love possesseth all mine eye
And all my soul and all my every part;
And for this sin there is no remedy,
It is so grounded inward in my heart.
Here's a clip that contains both quotations:

video

Again, the main point is to give due credit where it is due. Shakespeare wrote "And for this sin there is no remedy, / It is so grounded inward in my heart"; Catullus wrote "What women say to lovers, you'll agree, / One writes on running water or on air." Thank you for the clarification.


Links: The Film at IMDB.

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1 comment:

Mathew Toll said...

Well there it is, Catullus. Thanks for that. It sounded like a quote, rather than something the screen writers had written themselves.

Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2016 (and into perpetuity thereafter) by Keith Jones.

The very instant that I saw you did / My heart fly to your service; there resides, / To make me slave to it; and, for your sake, / Am I this patient [b]log-man.

—The Tempest