Possessed – Fred Worden

Once, when I was about 18 years old, my friend Eddie Moulton and I were taking a short cut across the local high school parking lot and we happened to notice that one of the school buses parked there had an open door and we could see the keys sitting on the driver’s seat.  It was a Sunday afternoon and no one was around, so just for the illicit thrill of it we got in and drove the bus from one end of the school parking lot to the other. I think if the cops had caught us driving the bus, the charge would have been something like “joy riding.” A similar impulse explains “Possessed.” I had a strong, slightly illicit, urge to commandeer the original train sequence from the 1932 film, Possessed and make it move in such a way as to give the girl (Joan Crawford) what she thought she wanted: a position on the inside. To do that, I had to create my own (all encompassing) vehicle. By my count, the original sequence provides three orders of motion: the motion (and stillness) of the passengers on the train, th motion of the train itself, and finally the motion of the girl (Joan) outside of the train. By injecting my own additional level of motion, I was able to move Joan from her position on the outside looking in (played melodramatically as desire’s longing for the just-out-of-reach) to a position inside, looking around (played as pure vision). But maybe that’s really just my fanciful imagining and, as such, pretty much situates me in Joan’s original position:  projecting desire onto a handy passing vehicle. In the end, at least this much is true: we both love staring into this passing train. In fact, we never seem to tire of it.