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reimagining Mitty

December 28, 2013


James Thurber’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” sits buried on my bookshelf within a Spectrum One collection popular in the days when I was a secondary student.


We have this anthology shelved in my school, and I still use copies for re-visiting these classics:

Lots of speculative fiction maintaining its currency. Great for story chat, like book club, but with vlog comments by students working in expert groups who pull apart a chosen narrative in an attempt to sell to peers. Refreshing, revisionist. Persuasive. Proving more than one point about the timeless nature of plots, heroes, themes and journeys.

Which brings me to Ben Stiller’s remake of Mitty which I saw last night at Luna Outdoor in Leederville.

Like me, were you assigned the text as a reading task in English? Undertake a practical criticism or “reading”?


Dust it down, or follow the link for an online serve to appreciate Stiller’s accomplishments. No longer is Mitty enslaved to a nanny-like overbearing wife, or endearingly dismissed as some hopeless dreamer trapped in existential angst; this action hero eclipses Danny Kaye in the 1947 string-laden/ gorgeous gal Samuel Goldwyn extravaganza (yes, that is Boris Karloff lurking).

Stiller’s modern Everyman tale is one of redemption through love and self-actualisation. Nothing too immense unless you count the glorious vistas of Greenland/ Iceland’s volcanic landscapes.

The film remains hopeful. Humour is deft. Messages of persisting in the face of adversity resonate.

Significant for me to re-acquaint myself with this optimistic slant in a part of Perth I once inhabited. Familiar streets and buildings. Loved this alchemical re-working of Leederville TAFE:


Used to look like this in 1986 when I completed a wordprocessing diploma. Reminds me of the sceneshifts/ morphing witnessed in Dark City:

A less menacing soundtrack to these interweaving memories comes courtesy of the mystical soughing of she-oaks above the screen at Luna last night:


Sowing seeds of new year’s principles rather than resolutions:

  • persist
  • maintain your sense of wonderment and awe
  • seek
  • sustain

Some things prevail – happy new year.

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