Cinema: Still Crazy After All These Fears

Two new films pay tribute to the dark stars of Brit lit

Artists are crazy, the rest of us like to think. And great artists are emotional idiots savants, charting the terra incognita of human experience by going over the edge. It is a lovely delusion. It excuses so many excesses and failures, gives rise to so many cautionary legends. George Gordon, Lord Byron incarnated one such fable: the poet as demon lover. He was dead at 36. Joe Orton, the English playwright who died in 1967, lived out another. He cruised danger as if it were a cute trick in a public gents', and was murdered at 34 -- for love! Nice...

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