I had known for some time that one day I would grow up into an adult. It seemed to me a very uninviting prospect. The adult world was a sad place, I thought, grim and unpleasant and where people seemed to do little other than complain. I just didn’t want to go there, and my small personal tastes of what was in store for me did nothing to change my view. I had, at that stage, only a handful of grown-up experiences to my credit, and they filled me with disdain.
Apart from the Sunday night TV misfortunes, there were a couple of adult movies and books that I suffered. The television expeditions meant that movie outings were fewer but they still happened from time to time.
I sat through a real grownup film called The Killing, without the slightest suspicion that it was made by the man who would one day become my favourite and most influential movie director—Stanley Kubrick. I was bored. I hung in, waiting desperately for something to happen. Nothing much did. The trouble, plainly, was that all of the characters were bad guys—they needed a hero to give them a challenge but no such white hat appeared. And then came the very silly ending—having got clean away with their robbery, Sterling Hayden and his girlfriend are making their way across the tarmac to the plane that will complete their escape. They have got past the police cordon at the terminal exit unidentified. The baggage cart passes by them, and there is the suitcase with the loot balancing precariously on top, teetering, and falling, bursting open, and the wind from the plane’s propellers scatters the money all over the airport. In horror, Hayden turns toward the terminal where the policemen are just starting to notice that something interesting is happening. End of film. They didn’t even show if they got caught! I couldn’t understand it. Maybe I wasn’t ready to grow up yet. Ten years old and condemned to infancy forever.