It’s amazing, seeing this woman’s transformation. And I mean more than just delightful lines like “Insides? I don’t have any insides.” or “I wish I could talk in Technicolor.” In a few short minutes of film, we get to observe another human being emerging from culture’s cage.
If you’ve watched much television from the era, you’ve undoubtedly noticed how odd the mannerisms of the time seem today. There’s often a formality of and care for language and tone that we don’t see today, a sort of gracious eloquence that went missing somewhere along the cultural way. Such recordings give us a chance to peer through a black-and-white time portal and imagine that not so long ago, everyone in the U.S. sounded like Morgan Freeman narrating a documentary about migrating harp seals.
But with elegance often comes constraint. Their voices sound slightly hollow, their words having been rendered lifeless by passing through one too many internal filters. What little emotion they muster seems more a pantomime than an expression. Surely there was something more going on behind all that tightly-coiled serenity?
Thanks to lysergic acid, we have a clue. Watch the tendons in the test subject’s neck suddenly stand out, as if decades of thoughts and passions are fighting their way out of her. Her restrained civility becomes joyful wonder. She goes on a trip, not just into a psychedelic realm of prisms and intangible spider webs, but into a future beyond white picket facades and wives of quiet desperation.
It’s like watching the 1950s burn away in a glass of cool water.