Friday, July 3, 2009

Even Old Movies

DH and decided that we ought to see some of the classic movies and so put a few Academy Award-winning flicks on our Netflicks queue. Two of those films were Spartacus and Lawrence of Arabia. Well, even in the old movies, I couldn't help but watch with my bereaved eyes.

Spartacus has been aired on TV in the past with cuts from the original, and I had seen it some times ago. We rented the restored version, which means I would be able to see the whole movie unedited for TV and we could see added scenes that were left on the cutting room floor. One of those scenes that was restored was a long trek the escaped slaves made across the land to the sea. On that trek we see many struggles, and at one point the group moves on in the background and a mother and father dig a hole in the ground and bury their baby. The mother lays some barely bloomed flowers on the body in the dirt and then with barely a motion seeps dirt over the child. DH looks at me and says, "I'm sorry dear." I thought about how many parents lost children, but in the historical period of this movie mothers and fathers lost children at rates I could not bear in these modern times. The scene threatened to overwhelm me, but since the acting was stylized to the period, I was OK. I was more interested in the later commentary that the "burying the baby scene" had been restored and wondered if it was deleted because nobody would want to see them bury a child. They were all moving toward freedom after all, and it would be better to show them in their hopeful and successful state.

We haven't finished Lawrence of Arabia, but one line in the first half stuck with me. "Nothing is written." This is what Lawrence says to his Arab companion who tells him not to go back to save a man who fell off his camel as they trekked across the desert to the sea (I know trekking to the sea seems to be required in old movies--heh heh.). "It is written," he says. This statement is made frequently in the movie that when someone dies or something bad happens, it seems dismissed with the belief that God/Allah has already written it to be so. Lawrence declaims that nothing is written until you "write it in here" and he points to his mind. He suggests that one can determine one's own fate. But we later see that he is not correct about that either. A child dies, a teenager, and Lawrence is helpless to save him. The child falls into quick sand as the three of them (yes) trek across the desert to Cairo. Lawrence says nothing about what is written, and collapses in the sand with the child's friend/brother. Although not a parent of the child, he parented these orphan teens in their travels and like a bereaved parent he claimed to have "killed the boy" because he was unable to save him. That line brought about familiar emotions of feeling responsible for the deaths of our children. If we had only . . . .


  1. All the movies I watch and songs I hear seem to remind me of my son Lachlan, too. I guess this is the new world that we live in.

  2. Somehow I thought that Spartacus and Lawrence of Arabia would be "safe." Amazing how reminders crop up everywhere.