Monday, June 11, 2012

Little Things

Eep! I haven't blogged in a month?! Bad Liberty, BAD LIBERTY!

I'd love to tell you it was because it was some calamitous event, but sadly, it was my own blank mind. Monday would roll around, and sometime, I'd say, "Oh, crap! I forgot to blog again!!" Too much going on. Oh well. :)

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John Wayne as G.W. McLintock and Maureen O'Hara as Katherine McLintock
My kids LOVE to watch the John Wayne movie, McLintock. Recently, when I was listening in while cleaning (and Facebooking), I heard one of the scenes early on, when G.W. McLintock (Wayne) and Katherine (Maureen O'Hara) meet for the first time [in the movie]. Katherine spits at G.W. that she always hated the name Rebecca--the name of their daughter. And, there's really no explanation given for this.

Which got me wondering--was the explanation for it just something left on the cutting room floor, or something more simple--something meant to illustrate character/personality?

I'd like to say it was the former, but if memory serves, Wayne produced this movie with his own company, so had a lot of control over the content. But, if you recognize the time the story is to have taken place--late 1800s or very early 1900s--it may actually say more about G.W. than about Katherine. Men at the time would've had a lot more power over naming of children at the time (or at least, that's what I'm guessing.) Now, women have more power in that area, but I know many couples who discuss the name at length until they come up with something they both agree on (case in point, TMOTH and me. It took us 24 hours POST BIRTH for our daughter and 36 hours post on our son to come up with names. It wasn't like we didn't have some warning we were having a baby, either. We'd known since at least 6 weeks along, if not earlier, that we'd be having a baby!)

If my theory is correct--and G.W. named their daughter Rebecca in spite of Katherine--this is a great lesson for writers on a multitude of topics: backstory, characterization, how a man treats his wife, etc. G.W. didn't care whether his wife liked the name or not, and being the cattle baron, town-owning character that he is, I doubt Katherine's thoughts on the matter would've swayed him at all. Might explain why they're estranged through most of the movie.

Can you think of other instances in movies or books where something made you wonder about the character or backstory and the writer never followed up on it? What story is it, and what's your conclusion?

Until next time (hopefully a lot sooner than it was the LAST time!),



2 comments:

K.M. Weiland said...

Wow. It's been a long time since I've seen McClintock! I can barely remember that scene, but I think I've always taken it as just a little tidbit illustrating the conflict between the two characters.

Liberty Speidel said...

Normally, I'd agree with you, K.M., but really, what mother would actually hate their daughter's name? I really think it was an opportunity--that spoke volumes, by the way--about the type of people both of them are.

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