“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

Grace Kelly, Rear Window and the High Himalayas

Posted: January 24th, 2019 | No Comments »

I saw this image of Grace Kelly from the Hitchcock movie Rear Window (1954) the other day. Of course you might well miss it watching the film but, as you can see, she is reading William O Douglas’s Beyond the High Himalayas. A good choice – given that she is hopelessly in love with roving photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jefferies (James Stewart), who (as I’ve blogged before – http://www.chinarhyming.com/2015/02/09/lb-jeff-jefferies-shanghai-cigarette-box-rear-window-1954/) had spent some time in Shanghai.

Douglas was that rare thing – a (liberal, I think) Supreme Court Justice and keen mountaineer/adventurer. Beyond the High Himalayas had just come out a couple of years before the movie was made.

William O Douglas

And here’s the Kirkus review from September 1952:

“If Justice Douglas as a man, a great American, a scholar and adventurer, won your allegiance with his Of Men and Mountains: if his gift for sharing his interest in the little people, the natives of strange parts of the world, his curiosity and observations of the dramatic as well as the minute beauties, won your enthusiasm; if his perceptive appraisal of the social, economic and political factors at work won your endorsement –this is a book for you. Combining as it does all facets of his genius, Beyond the High Himalayas does for the heights of Central Asia what Strange Lands and Friendly People does for the Near East. Here is a travel book with about 20 pages of Hilmalayan music, 42 illustrations in full color, end paper map — and a text that transports the reader to those remote and highest mountains of the world. He shares not only its vastness and the beauty, the adventures and misadventures, the intimate contact with his guides, his bearers, even his ponies and mules, and the natives he encountered, the villagers, the holy men of the powerful monasteries — but his own conclusions of the vital importance to the Western World of an area that might well swing the balance in the struggle between Communism and Democracy. Douglas has no fear of speaking his mind- and as a trained observer and student of world affairs, his is an important voice.”

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