"And even then King did not think of his work as complete. In 1921 he personally toured Tol'able David, presenting the film in different parts of the country. In 1936 King devoted time to marketing The Country Doctor, taking it to exchanges across the country and to studio-arranged meetings with key exhibitors. When Zanuck wondered why he was doing this, King replied that it was all part of the service. Zanuck was so impressed that he raised his salary $25,000 a year--at a time when a single-engine private plane cost $9,000.

For King such work was play. And play it is if one recalls that in English and German, to play is to imitate an action, and thus games and drama may be linked as an imitation of life. King worked a 12-hour day, was on set at 7:00 a.m., rarely sat down, and delighted in his vocation. He never tired of the constant challenge:

To make a picture, you work for months preparing a story, going into business, getting a crew, getting a staff, getting sets built, doing research. You complete the picture--you edit it--you preview it--you're out of business. Now you start over and go into an entirely new business. You have only the experience and judgement gained from past performances. You can't use anything... from this past picture. You can't use the same technique or anything else because it doesn't fit--like trying to wear another man's clothes."

Walter Coppedge, Henry King's America, 1986


  1. Hallo Ted! I know I'm totally out of topic here, but I didn't know how to contact you. I enjoyed a lot your article on Mubi about the works cited in Adieu au Langage. Where do you think the film's epigraph ("Those lacking imagination take refuge in reality") comes from? My guess is that Godard was inspired by an article written by Marie Darrieussecq. If you're interested, I talk about this in my blog (paragraph "story of an epigraph").
    Best regards, Ivan

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