Friday, November 06, 2009
I'm very pleased to finally see John Huston's The Dead. Nothing gave me greater pleasure when I was doing the college prof thing than to teach Joyce's story and cover the board in musings, to delve into that rich symbolic vein, to read aloud those last delicious pages to doe-eyed co-eds. And this short film does tremendous justice to a classic short story.
I'm not a huge fan of Anjelica Huston, but even she is up to snuff here. I love the epiphany scene when she is standing centered before a stained glass window, head up, listening to a tenor upstairs, an inscrutable sadness on her face. Gabriel at that moment realizes that his wife contains previously undreamt-of depths. After having his patriotism called into question, after some serious self-doubts before his speech, after his story about the glue man's mill-horse and its symbolic journey round a monument to King Billy, Gabriel experiences the richness of life and its frailty all at once. And we get to watch.
I'ma buy this one.