TL Question #7 - The Death of Downs

by Stephen Jeffreys

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Dec 13, 2005 7:04 pm

**SPOILER REPLY**























gypsylee, that is the scene I was remembering but I don't remember the alehouse scene. And I agree about the death scene in the movie. It made a much stronger point although the lead up to it is confusing I thought.
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Unread postby Raven » Tue Dec 13, 2005 10:26 pm

So to take this one step further, in Graham Greenes book and Lambs book is there a reference to Downs and Wilmot having a relationship? I confess to reading both books and do not remember anything that suggests it.

I will go back and research my own question now....
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John Wilmot, the 2nd Earl of Rochester in The Libertine by Stephen Jeffreys

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Unread postby dharma_bum » Wed Dec 14, 2005 4:42 am

Raven wrote:So to take this one step further, in Graham Greenes book and Lambs book is there a reference to Downs and Wilmot having a relationship? I confess to reading both books and do not remember anything that suggests it.

I will go back and research my own question now....


I am only familiar with the Greene book, but I don't recall that thee is much beyond a sketchy description of the Epsom incident. I think Jefferies was the first to take a baby steps or two of literary license in creating Down's personna and Dunmore took a few more deep strides in expanding that to a relationship.

I did run across an interesting assessment in the Greene book:
"Etherege was a man of many friends, and Rochester was a man of many enemies."
"You can't broom out your head. You certainly can't broom out your heart. And there's a hot wire between them, and everything shows in the eyes."
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Unread postby Jackslady » Wed Dec 14, 2005 1:41 pm

The scene where Downs is killed is based on an incident described in a letter by a Charles Hatton to his brother (I've no idea who this person is or if he knew Rochester personally). All that is known of Downs is that he was a companion of Rochester's at Epsom races.

Rochester is considered by most historians to have been bisexual, from certain comments in his letters and interpretations of his poems - however these opinions are by no means cast in stone. For a very in depth analysis of this point I would recommend reading "Rochester's Homoeroticism" which is an essay by Paul Hammond in the book, "That Second Bottle, Essays on John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester", edited by Nicholas Fisher. This is a very detailed and wordy book (I need a dictionary by my side when reading it!), the writers are learned and interesting. Fisher concludes that whilst it is very probable Rochester was sexually attracted to men, there is by no means definite evidence of any relationship he might have had with another man. Among Rochester's letters are two somewhat cryptic ones possibly alluding to a relationship with a musician, James Paisible and one suggesting a relationship between Rochester and his servant, a Mr Baptist, but again, this is conjecture. Fisher makes the point that is possible Rochester used men as a sexual substitute for women when a woman did not happen to be available, arguing that this does not mean he was particularly attracted to them. Meanwhile there is ample evidence from Rochester's letters and poems and information from his associates to suggest he was highly interested in women. There is no evidence from history that he had a relationship with Downs, who is merely described as one of his companions at Epsom races.

I think because of the generally accepted view that Wilmot was bisexual, the film makers probably decided to create an implied relationship with Downs, thus covering this aspect of Wilmot's character - I think in the context of the plot of the film, this works quite well.
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"Tis not an easy thing to be entirely happy, but to be kind is very easy, and that is the greatest measure of happiness" - John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester

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Unread postby Jackslady » Wed Dec 14, 2005 1:46 pm

Sorry, I've had to make a second post as I can't work out how to add a quote at the end of a post!! :blush:


Charlene wrote:I am enjoying this discussion. I love all of
your answers and (yes, I admit it, I read the spoilers) cannot wait to see this movie.

I don't think the extent of his illness and drunkeness comes through in the play, like it must in the movie, to excuse him...nor the relationship with Downs. I am not sure at the point I read the play, that I had even seen any pap shots on location.

I viewed this scene in the book as one of those senseless deaths...being in the wrong place at the wrong time..and not knowing how to get out of it because you worship your peers. I felt while reading this that here was an example of what you read about in the papers daily, of a situation involving a teen/young adult, senselessly killed.


Charlene, I was wondering if you could clarify for me, "pap shots" - do you mean there were somehow paparazzi photos taken of the scenes between Downs & Wilmot and/or the drunken brawl? :eyebrow: I don't remember seeing anything like that? Have I missed something?? Or did you just mean you came to the play having no knowledge whatsoever of the film?
"Easy on the goods darlin!"



"Tis not an easy thing to be entirely happy, but to be kind is very easy, and that is the greatest measure of happiness" - John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester



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Unread postby Boo-Radley » Wed Dec 14, 2005 6:00 pm

Liz wrote:I think that is the way it came across in the play, Charlene. I was wondering if anyone who hadn't seen the movie yet was going to read the spoiler posts and wondering what they would think.


Lizbaba, I couldn't help myself :lol: I'm about to burst with anticipation for this film...so I read every single spoiler, and now I'm absolutely :giddy: with antipation. From what you've all said here, I'm more convinced that this portion of the play and film, really illustrate how far Rochester has fallen. Thanks ladies. :applause:

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Unread postby jes » Wed Dec 14, 2005 6:39 pm

I don't have a great deal to add, but I agree with those earlier on who said they found this confusing in the movie. I just wonder whether a director's cut would offer more insight into what happened. Hope so. And I hope we get one.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Dec 14, 2005 7:39 pm

I'm with you there, jes! :hope:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby QueenofKings » Wed Dec 14, 2005 11:54 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:**SPOILER REPLY**























gypsylee, that is the scene I was remembering but I don't remember the alehouse scene. And I agree about the death scene in the movie. It made a much stronger point although the lead up to it is confusing I thought.




Two stills from the alehouse scene are now in the Recent Pics New Libertine stills thread that was posted earlier today.

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Dec 15, 2005 12:24 am

Thanks for the heads up, QofK. I must have zoned out during that scene in the movie. Guess I will HAVE to see it again...I hope!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!


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