Monday, November 06, 2006

Moments of Distinction

The Film - The Long Gray Line, dir. John Ford

The Set-Up - Marty Maher (Tyrone Power) comes to see his wife Mary (Maureen O'Hara) in the hospital. She has miscarried with their first child.

He weeps at her bedside.

She asks if he can forgive her, explaining that the doctor has told her she will never be able to have children.

She hears the sound of the cadets marching outside the window, and asks Marty to move her bed so she can see outside.

He does.

The two of them silently watch the cadets go by.

She talks about all the "fine boys" there, and asks Marty if he wants to stay. She feels that he will forever be reminded about the son that they will never have. Marty hardens and says that "This is no time to be sayin' such stuff", because he has recently re-upped.

When I think of John Ford, and the things that make him so great, I always come back to this scene. He was sometimes taken to task for being overly sentimental, and this scene could be Exhibit A. Well, tough. The thing that makes this sequence stand out for me is the great love that Ford has for these two people at this tragic moment, and how he quietly assures us that they will get through it.

Ford was a longtime supporter of the US Armed Forces, as well as an Irish immigrant, and there can be no question that Marty Maher lives pretty close to John Ford's heart. And mine, too.

1 comment:

Squish said...

As if You need reminding...

Final reminder of the Alfred Hitchcock Blog-A-Thon on November 15th over @!