Pierre Boulle



The man who wrote both
The Bridge on the River Kwai and Planet of the Apes:

Born Pierre-François-Marie-Louis Boulle in Avignon, France. He was baptised and raised Roman Catholic, although later in life he would become an agnostic. He studied and later became an engineer. From 1936 to 1939, he worked as a technician on British rubber plantations in Malaya. While there he fell in love with a French woman who was separated from her French husband. She became the love of his life. She later chose to return to her husband, who was a French official. She and her husband escaped into Malaysia and one of her children died in the process. Boulle would later meet her after the war on a platonic basis. At the outbreak of World War II, Boulle enlisted with the French army in French Indochina. After German troops occupied France, he joined the Free French Mission in Singapore. Pierre Boulle was a supporter of Charles de Gaulle.

Boulle served as a secret agent under the name Peter John Rule and helped the resistance movement in China, Burma, and French Indochina. In 1943, he was captured by the Vichy France loyalists on the Mekong River. While a prisoner, he was subjected to severe hardship and forced labour. He was made a chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur and decorated with the Croix de Guerre and the Médaille de la Résistance. He described his experiences in the war in the non-fiction My Own River Kwai (1967).

Mango Falls

Posting pictures from undeveloped film found in old cameras.

About 10 years ago while living in Oregon, I came across an old Nikon rangefinder in a seaside junk shop. The metal body was battered and the lens looked like a coke bottle that had been dragged down 5 miles of asphalt. The camera had been dead a long time. I was about to set it down when I noticed that there was a roll of film inside. I slowly rewound the film, popped the door, and was rewarded with a pristine roll of Kodachrome. I asked the guy at the counter how much he wanted for it. “Gimme a quarter” he replied. I paid the man and drove home with the mystery roll. And then I forgot about it for 2 years. The roll of film came back into view after we one again sold most of what we owned, tossed the dogs into the Jeep, and moved back to Maine. One day I was unpacking some clothes and found the solitary roll of film waiting at the bottom of the box. I sent it off for processing….about a year later.

Two weeks later the box of slides showed up at the post office. The weight of the package was disappointing. Without even opening the container it was apparent that most if not all of the roll was not even worth of being mounted. The 5 or so images that were in slide mounts were simply amazing. I had no idea where the film had been shot. I had not even the slightest idea who the people in the photos were. I really knew nothing but was just floored by the color saturation that kodachrome had retained after all the years of sitting in that old Nikon. From that point forward I made an effort to look inside old cameras whenever we would stop in antique stores and Sunday flea markets. All it took was this one image from that first roll of film.

(Thanks to Bert from Maine for this link)