*repost of an article from the old site.
William Blake’s painting ‘The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun’ is the subject reference in Thomas Harris’ book Red Dragon, and the subsequent movie adaptations.
In the book, the character Francis Dolarhyde (played by Tom Noonan in Manhunter and Ralph Fiennes in Red Dragon), who is obsessed with the painting, is described as having the ability to clean and press 300lb (136kg). In one scene, Dolarhyde works up to 280lb but cannot lift 300lb. But as the ‘Red Dragon’ his alter-ego he is successful with the 300lb lift.
I loved the Red Dragon film version in particular and also, especially love Harris’ identification with the clean and press as an expression of strength and dominance. Unfortunately strength has made way in the current cultural zeitgeist for leanness.