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Jan Klimkowski
12-07-2012, 09:08 PM
I love storytelling and I love great movies.

Here's a deleted scene from Jacob's Ladder.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfMjoVYcg9g

Anyone care to play?

Magda Hassan
12-08-2012, 03:26 AM
I feel at a disadvantage not having actually seen the movie.

However, from this clip I am struck by the interweaving of religious imagery and biblical references and scenes of torture (psychological) and death (physical, psychological, spiritual). While his Big Pharma Dr Gottlieb like friend(?) priest is offering to kill the demons for him who could refuse? Such a calming and reassuring friendly voice. Better living through chemistry he says. Said the spider to the fly. As he places the glasses on Gideon's bible. I swear. Would I lie to you? It is scientifically proven. Be reassured. The man in the white coat is in control. Under the watchful if ironic presence of Mother Mary (or some lesser saint?) he gives communion to him via liquid wafer under the tongue. I keep looking at the seedy hotel room and thinking of the importance of set and setting for such a journey. Not a particularly auspicious setting to set out from.... A god forsaken place. No place for a spiritual rebirth. And who is being exorcised? Scientifically. The military records have been exorcised. The records can cause unimaginable horrors for others if they see the light. Or the light sees them. As some form of transubstantiation transpires does he see the light? Can he see the light? Do we see the light? Yes. The light is there. In the room. Swinging. But does it illuminate or obfuscate? What else does he see? Does he go on the journey? Where does he go? The Valley of Death? Does he return? Clearly not all of him came back from Vietnam. But he brought the demons back with him. Drip. Drip. Drip. Chinese water torture. Or the Jordan river where he is born again? Will any thing of him remain after this journey? Or is he erased. Tabula rasa. On every level. Mind body and soul. The chopper has landed. Welcome back to the seedy hotel room in the seedy hotel where society's useless forgotten men are cast out of paradise. Where nothing has changed. Or maybe not.

Jan Klimkowski
12-08-2012, 01:09 PM
Magda - thank you for those highly insightful observations and responses.

Ultimately, there's no right or wrong here. This is Art in the sphere of MK-ULTRA.

I have watched Jacob's Ladder many times. It's a powerful, resonant, film.

My reaction to those deleted scenes is coloured by my knowledge of the film as edited and released.


While his Big Pharma Dr Gottlieb like friend(?) priest is offering to kill the demons for him who could refuse? Such a calming and reassuring friendly voice. Better living through chemistry he says. Said the spider to the fly. As he places the glasses on Gideon's bible. I swear. Would I lie to you? It is scientifically proven. Be reassured. The man in the white coat is in control. Under the watchful if ironic presence of Mother Mary (or some lesser saint?) he gives communion to him via liquid wafer under the tongue. I keep looking at the seedy hotel room and thinking of the importance of set and setting for such a journey.

These scenes change the viewer's perception of The Chemist character in Jacob's Ladder as fundamentally as the restored river scenes in Apocalypse Now Redux change our understanding of the Sheen/Willard character.


Drip. Drip. Drip. Chinese water torture. Or the Jordan river where he is born again? Will any thing of him remain after this journey? Or is he erased. Tabula rasa. On every level. Mind body and soul. The chopper has landed. Welcome back to the seedy hotel room in the seedy hotel where society's useless forgotten men are cast out of paradise. Where nothing has changed. Or maybe not.

Ewen Cameron's tabula rasa.

The arrogance of the MK-ULTRA scientists, knowing what is best, believing they have the right - like Tyrell in Blade Runner.

I can, therefore I will.

Does Jacob/Robbins comes to know the nature of Man through a chemical Trip in a seedy hotel room with Stuttering Sid's compromised apprentice?

Dawn Meredith
12-09-2012, 05:11 PM
I saw Jacob's Ladder years ago when it was first released. Very very disturbing. The level of horrors inflicted on "cannon fodder" in this film left me chilled for weeks. Wondering if I shoud see it again.

Jan Klimkowski
12-13-2012, 10:32 PM
I'm still happy to play.

In the movie as released, Jacob has a friend/mentor/guardian angel chiropractor called Louis, who inflicts disc crunching, pain/trauma/epiphany sessions.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPP1HREMacI

In the clip, Louis quotes 14th century Christian mystic Meister Eckhart:

“Eckhart saw Hell too. You know what he said? 'The only thing that burns in Hell is the part of you that won't let go of life, your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away. But they're not punishing you,' he said. 'They're freeing your soul. So, if you're frightened of dying and... you're holding on, you'll see devils tearing your life away. But if you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the earth.' It's just a matter of how you look at it - you know?"

The deleted scene in the original post seems to have clear narrative links to the words of Eckhart. But it was cut from the final version.

Eckhart's mystical vision, The Chemist Apprentice, Jacob's journey - all have very different meanings depending on whether the deleted scene is included or not.



Elsa: [reading Jacob's palm] See. According to this, you're already dead.
[laughs]

BZ Phoenix Tailwind is only one thread of multicoloured string trailing through this resonant Book of the Dead.

Like an Inca quipu...

Keith Millea
12-19-2012, 05:23 PM
Jan

I like your deep analysis of "Jacob's ladder".I hope you have more offerings coming.It has given me new deeper insights into the movie which I've only watched twice.I do own a copy but my hearing is so impaired now that I have to read subtitles to understand the dialogue.My copy has Spanish subtitles,ugh....

And,I didn't respond to your "Deer Hunter" thread because I only watched it once way back when it first came out and I really hated it.:D

Jan Klimkowski
12-19-2012, 09:42 PM
Keith - thanks.

You definitely need some English subtitles. :hippy:

Even without the deleted scenes, Jacob's Ladder supports multiple interpretations.

With those scenes, I believe there is no one definitive solution to Jacob's story.

However, there is one dominant interpretation of the released film, which I will term the First Path.

Casual surfers please be aware that following is a plot SPOILER, although I would argue it is actually a narrative EXPANDER which makes this work of art richer.

According to the First Path:

Jacob's military unit was subjected to highly experimental MK-ULTRA meets Phoenix programming during the Vietnam War. The substance being tested was an aggression-heightening drug. The Chemist's bosses moved from monkey testing straight to Jacob and his unit.

In chemical terms, the drug worked. It made the soldiers hyper-aggressive and fearless. Unfortunately, there was a side effect. The aggression was uncontrollable, and each soldier indiscriminately targeted anything or anyone in his way.

Jacob was bayoneted by one of his team. He died in Vietnam, and his journey in the film is a dream/nightmare passage through his hopes, his fears, his unrequited passions.

Jacob's soul refusing to let go.....


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eENQ_WMato


But there are other ways of reading this.

Here's a Second Path:

The Vietnam scenes are allegory. Fundamentally, Jacob was the victim of an attempt to turn him from man to beast. To destroy his humanity, and turn him into a hyper-aggressive killing machine.

Yet Jacob has a kind and gentle soul, which fights this evil.

The film is about his soul's journey to understand what was done to him, to find answers on the material and metaphysical planes.

In the end, it is the love of a father for his son, a parent for his child, that brings him home. That restores Jacob's humanity.

So what about the deleted scenes in the OP?

Is The Chemist attempting to free Jacob's soul?

Or perfect his drug?

His last words are "Better living through Chemistry - that's my motto".....

Jan Klimkowski
08-05-2013, 09:40 PM
I watched Jacob's Ladder again tonight.

Those deleted scenes are part of a film akin to Apocalypse Now Redux. Jacob's Ladder Redux, if you will.

A fascinating but different film.

Apocalypse Now as originally released shows the insight and intuition of editor Walter Mirsch.

In the cutting room, Mirsch stumbled upon some rushes he was told not to look at. "They'll fuck your brain, man, and you won't be able to cut the film."

Some were of Harvey Keitel as Willard.

Others were of Martin Sheen smiling.

Jacob's Ladder - a great movie.

Jacob's Ladder Redux - an intriguing but different experience.

Jim Hackett II
08-06-2013, 10:42 AM
I was turned on to this film by an English Prof in 1993.

A couple of years back I picked the DvD, with some deleted scenes from above.
I wonder how many better versions of such films existed once upon a time.
Like "Full Metal Jacket" in multitude of reported versions.

For reason unnamed, this one, Jacob's Ladder, came a little close to home.
One of the better films I have, I just don't watch it very often.
Until someone wants to watch it usually.

Things as depicted didn't happen exactly. Things depicted did happen but not quite as shown.
BZ and other Gottlieb inspired compounds were tested in other ways both more-or-less "controlled and clinical" means as well as open frame "civilian tests".
It is obvious by now isn't it?
Minds can be remade to inhuman configurations by external means chemical and otherwise.
Sirhan, Bremer, Chapman and Hinckley as examples known.

Some evil comes of human spirits without the mind-melding though.
Some folks enjoy terrifying others without Gottlieb and crew's interference.

Jan Klimkowski
08-06-2013, 05:53 PM
Jim - as per my post #7 above, I don't believe the fictional drug in Jacob' Ladder is BZ.

Indeed, Adrian Lyne's decision to include the text in the end credits denying military tests of BZ is bizarre.

Firstly, BZ has been used militarily. I once had a copy of a scientific paper describing use of BZ in battlefield conditions by NATO in Europe.

Secondly, the "ladder" drug as described by The Chemist is absolutely, 100%, not BZ.

The experimental drug in Jacob's Ladder is an aggression-heightening and inhibition-relaxing drug, which cause monkeys, Vietnamese POWs, and then Jacob's unit to become super-charged with blind, indiscriminate, aggression.

Whereas BZ is an incapacitant.

Relatively high doses produce toxic delirium which destroys the ability to perform any military task.


In the recently declassified field manual for the Treatment Of Chemical Agent Casualties And Conventional Military Chemical Injuries published as FM8-285 of the U.S. Army, BZ is listed in the glossary and described in Chapter 6 as an incapacitating agent:

BDU battle dress uniform
BZ incapacitating agent
C Celsius/centigrade

Chapter 6, Incapacitants, Section I - General

602. CNS Depressants.

CNS depressants produce their effects by interfering with transmission of information across central synapses. An example of this type of agent is 3-quinuclidinyl benzilate (BZ), which blocks the muscarinic action of acetylcholine both peripherally and centrally. In the central nervous system anticholinergic compounds disrupt the high integrative functions of memory, problem solving, attention and comprehension. Relatively high doses produce toxic delirium which destroys the ability to perform any military task.

Tracy Riddle
08-06-2013, 09:35 PM
A disturbing film, but it has a happy ending. An even more disturbing film is Eraserhead, which oddly has a similar ending.

Jim Hackett II
08-07-2013, 11:13 AM
Jim - as per my post #7 above, I don't believe the fictional drug in Jacob' Ladder is BZ.

Indeed, Adrian Lyne's decision to include the text in the end credits denying military tests of BZ is bizarre.

Firstly, BZ has been used militarily. I once had a copy of a scientific paper describing use of BZ in battlefield conditions by NATO in Europe.

Secondly, the "ladder" drug as described by The Chemist is absolutely, 100%, not BZ.

The experimental drug in Jacob's Ladder is an aggression-heightening and inhibition-relaxing drug, which cause monkeys, Vietnamese POWs, and then Jacob's unit to become super-charged with blind, indiscriminate, aggression.

BZ is an incapacitant.

Relatively high doses produce toxic delirium which destroys the ability to perform any military task.


In the recently declassified field manual for the Treatment Of Chemical Agent Casualties And Conventional Military Chemical Injuries published as FM8-285 of the U.S. Army, BZ is listed in the glossary and described in Chapter 6 as an incapacitating agent:

BDU battle dress uniform
BZ incapacitating agent
C Celsius/centigrade

Chapter 6, Incapacitants, Section I - General

602. CNS Depressants.

CNS depressants produce their effects by interfering with transmission of information across central synapses. An example of this type of agent is 3-quinuclidinyl benzilate (BZ), which blocks the muscarinic action of acetylcholine both peripherally and centrally. In the central nervous system anticholinergic compounds disrupt the high integrative functions of memory, problem solving, attention and comprehension. Relatively high doses produce toxic delirium which destroys the ability to perform any military task.



I gave the wrong impression. I cited "BZ" as a well known example of the capacity of Mil/Intell spooks to redefine human being or destroy the victim trying.
It (BZ) is a weapon, not a weapon making device.
The implication of the "eyedropper" drug above I would think more of the "milacid" or "STP" or God only knows now what strange brew from the Spooks.
Implied rather huge dose, eh?

A directly traceable effect of taking the role of host for Fascists post WW2.
I am still gleaning Albarelli's "A Terrible Mistake", so my impression is bound in this material at the moment.

Thanks again.
Jim