Saturday, April 6, 2013
Wallace Smith, Ben Hecht's FANTAZIUS MALLARE, 1922
Before penning the many screenplays he would become famous for; Kiss of Death, Spellbound, Notorious among them, Ben Hecht was a younger, perhaps angrier, man. The images we see here today at Capt. Graveyard are from Ben Hecht's FANTAZIUS MALLARE and the breathtaking art is by Wallace Smith, who would also go on to write screenplays. I've read that Smith was even arrested for the art (seized by the post office) not long after the book's release.
Author Sanford Sternlicht once described Hecht's passion for destructing barriers as such "If Hecht was consistently opposed to anything, it was to censorship of literature, art, and film by either the government or self-appointed guardians of public morality."
The remarkable content of the book certainly seems in line with this, and for 1922 FANTAZIUS MALLARE is one of the most consciously incendiary pieces I've seen from that decade - a high compliment.