WEIRDLAND: Private Worlds (Debunking Insanity Myths), Trippy make-out session with Jim Morrison

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Private Worlds (Debunking Insanity Myths), Trippy make-out session with Jim Morrison

Private Worlds (1935) directed by Gregory La Cava (Happy Anniversary!): Claudette Colbert plays Dr. Jane Everest, a psychiatrist in charge of the male ward at The Brentwood clinic, a progressive mental hospital. Her partner is Dr. Alex MacGregor (Joel McCrea), with whom she has partnered for many years. Despite their professional relationship the pair are not involved romantically — MacGregor is already married to Sally (Joan Bennett), an innocent and trusting girl who adores Jane and trusts Alex — until he gives here reason not to, while Jane pines for a love lost during the first world war. Things begin to go awry when a new hospital superintendant is appointed: Dr. Monet (Charles Boyer) who arrives with his sister Claire (Helen Vinson) in tow and begins to shake things up at the hospital. Monet believes there is no place for a woman in the upper echelons of the medical profession, and banishes Jane to the outpatient clinic. 

Colbert’s Jane Everest is a surprisingly modern breath of fresh air: She’s intelligent, witty, professional, and most importantly, respected as a superior physician by all of her male counterparts —even Boyer’s Monet, in his own time. The film works hard to break various commonly held beliefs about mental institutions and the mentally ill, with entire scenes dedicated to debunking myths. In a key moment that really typifies the movie’s point of view, McCrea’s character says, “I find very little difference between sanity and insanity.” Gregory La Cava, who did most of his directorial work during the silent era (though he helmed such well remembered movies as My Man Godfrey and Stage Door, among others), does a fine job with this material. La Cava’s camera pans in both directions and zooms in and out on the leering faces of the disturbed patients, as the soundtrack becomes a cacophony of screams and cackles. Combined with the near pitch-black setting the scene takes on an expressionistic feel very much out of character with other domestic films of the time. Source:

"I decided it was time for me to take LSD and find out what was really going on. I looked in the mirror and saw my heart beating in my eyeballs, the galaxy throbbed through my quivering veins; I could see trees growing up my cheeks and animals being born in distant dimensions. Ghostlike souls endlessly circled inside my bulging brain, and I was one with them all. The Doors where playing the Hullabaloo Club at Sunset and Vine and I made sure to have a bottle of Trimar for the event. I desperately hoped that Jim would arrive, scoop me up, take me backstage and kiss my lips off. And that's exactly what happened. I had a couple of hankies in my bag, and during our make-out session we indulged wildly in the mind-damaging drug. I had never kissed anyone while high before and it was a revelation! I melted in his mouth like honey, my whole body became a sticky liquid, and his fingers on my face pushed holes through my cheeks like they were on fire and left gaping holes where honey gushed out. He took me by the hand and we climbed a rickety ladder up to a dingy, dark loft where a bunch of old lighting equipment was rusting away, and taking my muskrat jacket, he laid it out on the wooden planks like a damsel in distress."

"What a face he had! One of God's greatest gifts to rock and roll was that guy's face. And there he was right above me, his lips parted and his eyes closed, going in and out of focus as I inhaled my hanky. He drove my Oldsmobile all around Hollywood and I sat next to him, his ring around my neck, and we talked about Trimar. He said it might be 'hurting our heads' and gave me a lecture on drug abuse, telling me the persona he put forward was an elaborate act, and he really wanted to be noticed as a poet. On our way to Tiny Naylor's on La Brea, he grabbed the bottle of Trimar, and threw it out the window into a yard full of overgrown ivy: 'Now we won't be tempted.' We had date-nut bread and fresh orange juice while the sun came up, then cruised the silent Strip to a little hotel where he was staying during his feud with Pamela. After some heavy necking, he climbed from behind the wheel and said, 'I really want to see you again, darling, come here and see me or call anytime.' That was the only time I had my hands on Jim Morrison; I never went all the way with him. He turned out to be very much a one-woman man. As far as I know, he spent the rest of his life with Pamela, and the relationship was of the stormy nature, but I guess he loved her madly. I didn't dare return to the green house after she ordered me out. Jim Morrison prodded and provoked, tested everyone around him to see if he could get an honest reaction. The last time I saw him was right before he left for Paris. I was walking down La Cienega. Jim was on the other side of the street, driving a big convertible, and he turned left into the Benihana parking lot, stopping me dead in my tracks. He told me how nice it was to see me again and how pretty I looked. He took my hand and kissed it; then he backed into the honking traffic and careened down the street." —"I'm with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie" (2005) by Pamela Des Barres

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