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Scarecrow on Seattle: TROUBLE IN MIND

For the past few years, Scarecrow Video has been contributing reviews of movies made in the Pacific Northwest to the Seattle Office of Film + Music's e-newsletter. We're now proud to be able to share these reviews on our site as well.






Trouble in Mind (1985)

"Trouble in mind, I'm blue, but I won't be blue always..." When I heard Marianne Faithfull's crackly, soulful voice first warble out those lyrics over the opening credits of Trouble in Mind, I was sitting in a beautiful Art Deco theater in downtown Detroit, miles and years away from my life in Seattle. Those words, and just about every other lovely second of that film haunted me in the very best way until, in 1989, someone asked, "What are you going to do after college?" Without hesitation, my response was, "Move to Seattle." Aside from maybe a Tom Robbins book here or there, I had no reference point except for Trouble in Mind. And here I sit, 21 years later, with no regrets. The film conjures up a romantic world, full of hardened private eyes, star-crossed lovers, exotic criminals, and weary souls who keep a longing eye on the past while searching for a better life, and love, in the present. Why wouldn't somebody want to move to Rain City? That's the moniker director Alan Rudolph gave Seattle for his romantic neo-neon-noir. He also cast (perfectly) Kris Kristofferson as ex-cop/ex-con Hawk, Lori Singer and Keith Carradine as idealistic lovers Georgia and Coop, Genevieve Bujold as wise and caring diner owner Wanda, Joe Morton as hip, crazy thug Solo, and Divine as a vicious mobster named Hilly Blue. But perhaps the most amazing casting feat was that of our city and its environs. Rudolph uses it in ways that no other film set in Seattle does. There is clearly a sense of location here, and the nonsensical car rides and geographical leaps that happen in Singles and Say Anything are non-existent. You feel as though you can actually inhale the mist coating the streets and greenery around town. When Georgia and Coop ride into the downtown ferry dock with hopes and dreams at the beginning of the film, we get the feeling we are entering a fresh, new exciting world. When Coop and Solo follow a wealthy man from the Space Needle restaurant to his tawny Queen Anne home to mug him, you know exactly where you, and they are. When Hawk drives the wet, downtown streets, or Georgia runs through the alley below Pike Place Market, they don't come out on the other side of town. They are here, in Seattle, haunted and enchanted by the beauty and mystery of the city. When the final, glorious set-piece/shootout is staged at Hilly Blue's mansion, you recognize your Seattle Art Museum (circa '85, Volunteer Park version.) And lastly, if you go stand on First and Blanchard, where Wanda's diner, Georgia and Coop's camper, and Hawk's apartment all were, not much has changed. The diner is gone, but it's all still the same lovely view and atmosphere that Rudolph and company inhabited 26 years ago.
--Mark Steiner


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