As a teenager I went to a few movies, usually the drive-in, if I had enough money for tickets and fuel in the tank to get there. A movie that I watched in the theatre was Ryan’s Daughter, which hit Australian screens around 1970.
I still remember it, or I should say, a particular part of the film. With this exception, I could probably see the movie again as if for the first time. I looked up a few names for this post, because the only one I recalled is Robert Mitchum.
The film, set in Ireland 1916, is directed by David Lean; cinematography by Freddie Young. It tells the story of a married Irish woman who has an affair with a British soldier. A long story with a short plot.
The part of the movie that’s lodged in my memory occurs early on. Rosy Ryan, publicans daughter (Sarah Miles), marries Charles Shaughnessy, older school-master (Robert Mitchum) and the film gets to the wedding night.
Now to the nitty-gritty. Saturday night, girlfriend next to me, the audience quiet, still. We became spectators in an intensely private scene. I remember a close up of Charles starting to undo his belt, Rosy watching. I guess they became naked or semi-naked, I’m not sure. Attention was given to the perfunctory performance of Charles and the changing face of Rosy. As Charles headed for the finish line, Rosy’s face expressed potential enjoyment if she could just join in; fleeting anticipation of making it together; then, disappointment with Charles rolling over and leaving her wondering.
It was this love making scene that caused me to blush. I didn’t need a mirror or my girlfriend to tell me; I could well and truly feel it. Perhaps others did in darkness too. This theatre, library quiet, with all eyes on the screen, gave us the sights and sounds of this couple consummating their marriage. I don’t remember any background music to affect the mood or senses.
Why I blushed I’m not sure. Other movies I’d watched had love scenes and Rosy has a hot and torrid affair later in this movie which left no impression at all. Maybe it just felt wrong watching with the audience. I know I thought Charles was too old for Rosy. It wasn’t any kind of voyeurism or enjoying the action vicariously, it was somehow embarrassing for me. Perhaps it was too realistic and I felt like an intruder, standing next to the bed and forced to watch. Maybe it was Charles’s style of just being there for himself.
I’m glad this was not a first date. If my girlfriend blushed, she didn’t say. I wonder if others have experienced a blush or two at the movies?
Word for today: Blushing
Involuntary reddening of a persons face due to embarrassment or emotional stress.
More to come; same blog time, same blog channel