Lois Lowry's Blog
Has a cloud come over the sun?
The other night, at the farm, a friend was visiting and we flicked around the TV channels and settled on watching Bette Davis in "Dark Victory." 1939. I had watched it several times over the years, but not for a long while, and all I remembered was the ending when Bette Davis is out in garden, looks up into the bright sunny sky, and says something like: "It's going to rain. A cloud has come over the sun"..and we (the audience) know that this is it, she is about to die....because earlier in the movie we have been told by her doctor/husband (George Brent) that she has a particular kind of brain tumor from which death is inevitable...and more than that, her death will be preceded by her vision failing.
I had forgotten a lot. Like the fact that a very young fatuous Ronald Reagan has a minor role. That Humphrey Bogart has an important part but is woefully miscast as a Irish horse trainer, complete with a bad brogue. That the music is overwrought (soaring violins as Bette Davis, just in from the garden and suddenly blind, fakes to her husband that she is fine, wishes him a cheery goodbye as he sets off on a trip, and then feels her way to her deathbed). That everyone overacts. That the dialogue is terrible, and the plot preposterous.
But oh my, it was fun watching it.
Speaking of clouds covering the sun...they aren't. It has been one glorious day after another, with cool nights now as fall approaches. I have company coming and going and I am picking the last of the blueberries and freezing them. Yesterday I drove to Brunswick, Maine, and went with my friend Middy to an outdoor arts festival with food and music and all kinds of art, good and bad; as well as all kinds of people: tourists, aging hippies, townfolk, probably pickpockets, and many many children.
Tomorrow I will have lunch in Portland with French friends whom I last saw for dinner at their lovely apartment in Paris, in April. Francoise, who teaches American Literature at the University of Paris, is an authority on Willa Cather—a quintissentially American author—and who alerted me to the recent publication of Cather's letters, which I am dipping into again and again. I can't read a collection of letters straight through. There is too much content to digest and savor. Those verbs, digest and savor, make it sound like a meal! And it is almost that: a deeply satisfying banquet of words and ideas.
In contrast, "Dark Vistory" is a quick lunch in a diner. But still fun.