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Guideposts (1959) - Would You Like to Know Your Future?




Would You Like to Know Your Future?

Would you like to be able to predict the future? A movie director can, you know. In making a film, he takes an imitation slice of life in his hands and arranges it just the way he wants it. He knows, in the first scene, just what is going to happen in the last.

Now, this is a godlike quality. It gives the director a great sense of power. But there's just one small trouble with it. The stuff the movie director is working with isn't real. It's synthetic. It's not life itself. It's only an imitation of life.

In real life, we can plan, and take precautions, and hope that things will happen in a certain way. But we can never be sure. And I sometimes wonder why it is that, if we try too hard to control the future, we get a rude shock.

I ran up against this hard fact quite early in my movie career. It was back in London when I was still in my twenties, young, unknown, but very knowing—or so I thought.

I'd entered the movies through the back door, first designing titles, then as a cutter, script writer, set designer, production man, and finally as a director of a few minor films. When I got the opportunity to pick my own story and direct it for one of the major British studios, I was certain I had the future, in the film and out of it, right in my hand.

The story I chose was The Lodger, a quiet yarn in which one of the occupants of a rooming house is suspected of having a secret hobby—homicide.

Films were still silent in those days, and I used every trick I could think of t...