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The Whales of August (1987)
Farewell My Lovelies: Davis, Gish, Sothern & Price
Throughout this terrific cinematic achievement in excellence, four of 20th century's performance artist highest achievers see, to be deliberately bidding me a magnificent farewell.
Knowing that the immortalized Bette Davis, deserved Lillian Gish, versatile Ann Sothern & the actor whose voice alone (if nothing more) came to be known as a master of macabre, Vincent Price, are all giving their final full feature film performances with major roles--well, it's nearly too much to take.
Please note the final scene of the film when Davis and Gish stand together arm in arm overlooking the craggy shore of the Atlantic Ocean in New England is truly a most historical film scene. With Davis knowingly dying and Gish in her 90's, I watch the beginning of the end of an era of superb acting coming to a beautifully plotted ending.
This is unquestionably thee final major dramatic film role for all four icons of acting. They wind their careers up in ever so memorable style. I doubt viewers into fast, furious and foul tongued graphics will find much, if any, value in this master work of finest art. Each character is so well developed by each actor.
Davis is particularly astonishing since she triumphs over cancer and a stroke to deliver her last grand impersonation of one pip of a person who, though less than fully able bodied a character, still stands out by acting up as the one with a big chip on her shoulder.
As should be expected of all four actors, they chose a script worthy of their enormous talents. While many moments are touching, the one that stands out most is while Gish and Davis are having a sisterly battle. Davis delivers her lines, as always, with such conviction that they stick to me every day: "We're made of strong stock and we've precious little time." She tilts her head towards the camera as if to look my way (or yours), letting us know to value ourselves and life, that she has, and hers is nearly over. This is the major point the film, as a whole, is making.
True to her career long form, Davis doesn't 'give a damn' that her audience is seeing her near death. I would love to view the film by 21st century actors of age that can come anywhere near the high caliber of this one. Fortunately, my life straddles both centuries in such a way that it's possible; but, highly improbable.