Still processing The Whale. Somehow I missed the memo that this was an Aronofsky film, so I got ready for bad times, and yes, it’s that. But my god! The structure of the thing! It was like hearing a symphony with your eyes! And the intensely detailed interior light!
At Charlie’s house, there is a set of four American Windsor chairs. You probably have a Windsor in your house, but made recently.
Charlie is obsessed with an essay about Moby Dick and is an intensely literate person. The chairs around that table are four early 20th century reproductions by a New England antique-replica furniture company, Wallace Nutting.
How do I know this? I have two.
Nutting’s furniture output is notable because the factory and other things he did (photography, for example) helped to popularize the idea of historic preservation as an aspect of national identity.
After all, who wouldn’t want an authentically-manufactured replica of a chair originally built in the 1750’s?
In a way, Nutting was akin to Seattle’s own beloved Ebbets Field Flannels. These factory-made replicas were generaly copied after genuine antique chairs.
So it’s very interesting to me that Charlie has this matched set of very old antique replicas – the company shut down before World War Two. Given the order observed in Alan’s bedroom, I must conclude that Alan found and purchased them.
Yet, the connection of nineteenth-century New England furniture to Moby-Dick is plain as a Quaker hymn. Charlie is both Ahab and whale, marooned on his quarterdeck in the Pequod of his mind.
Goddamn, I loved this movie. Also, fuck you, Aronofsky, like, on general principles.