Friday, June 10, 2011
Death at the Movies - Gone With the Wind
Today I'm feeling under the weather, so I decided to make a post about Death at the Movies (and not Death as a character, as in The Seventh Seal, Meet Joe Black or Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey). I am talking about characters dying. The compilation that will result from this little experiment is not a list of best of, or even my favorites. It is just a list of the ones that have stuck in my memory.
Let's begin at the very beginning (a very good place to start).
Melanie (Olivia de Havilland) in Gone With the Wind
Gone With the Wind is one of my favorite movies. I love the costumes, the photography, the story, the characters, the actors. It also succeeds in developing the multiple characters that move in and out of the story. This is specially true of Melanie, Ashley's wife and Scarlett's "rival". Melanie's death precipitates Scarlett's understanding of their relationship, as well as her relationship with Ashley and Rhett Butler. Sometimes we have the best things in front of us, but we do not realize it.
This is the most tragic part of the movie (give or take Bonnie Blue's death). All of Scarlett's monsters have come to participate in this ball. And she has to confront them all, including Rhett's departure.
De Havilland suffused Melanie with quiet stoicism, maturity, strength in her illness, loyalty, but not naivete. Truly remarkable.