boo radley

On Friday night, I was all by myself in the kitchen, preparing to cook.  Usually, the TV is blaring ESPN or the Simpsons.  But those who control the telecommando were out of the house.  Oh bliss!  I could actually watch something of MY CHOICE.  I wanted something comforting, something beautiful.

So from the TV cabinet, I pulled a two disc-set of To Kill a Mockingbird, which I received for Christmas in 2005.  I removed the plastic, opened the box, popped in the disk, and reveled in the bliss of watching these familiar scenes as I chopped, diced, and stirred.

Although obviously shot in California, not Alabama, I was nevertheless struck by the accuracy of the props and details.  Calpurnia’s bib aprons were exactly right.  The dishes and home furnishings were true to the period.  True, the flowers outside looked like they’d been purchased at a florist and stuck in the ground stem by stem, but I forgave that.  The houses, with front porches and swings hanging from chains, were perfect.  I later learned the humble bungalows had been salvaged from Chavez Ravine when Dodger Stadium was being built.  Today, only Boo Radley’s house (the one in the worst shape) remains at the Universal lot.

Which brings me to the point of this post.  I adore the ending of this movie, when Boo is revealed standing behind the door of Jem’s bedroom after he’s saved his life and carried him home.  Scout says “Hey Boo” and Atticus, proper even in crisis, chides “Jean Louise” to call him “Mr. Arthur.”  When Atticus calls the sheriff moments earlier, he even says “This is Atticus Finch.”  In a small town – in all of America - there was probably one Atticus, yet he includes the last name.

But back to Boo Radley.  I love the fact that this was Robert Duvall’s first role.   He conveys so much, without saying a word.  He looks so haunted, “with his shy ways,” but despite the bizarre home-imprisonment he suffers at the hands of his parents, he is Jem and Scout’s guardian angel.  When Scout reaches out and she and Boo walk to his drab home together, hand in hand, tears always run down my face. 

Hugh and Malcolm watched with us, but the movie did not have the same effect on them.  Chris said “I wonder what movies will make you guys cry when you’re adults?”  The boys were most interested to hear that Duvall is also in The Road, which we’re all looking foward to seeing when Ian gets back.

So anyway, that is my question for today.  What movies make you cry?

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