Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

What’s Your Classic Movie Intervention?

Okay here’s a question for all of you, who, like me, feel movies from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. What classic movie character would you like to stage an intervention for? Who makes you want to reach into the screen and say “Don’t do it!” I don’t mean warning someone about an imminent danger, like “Don’t go down the basement!!” I mean something the character is doing or not doing, or perhaps the way they’re living their lives, that’s just breaking your heart or making you crazy.

For me, two come to mind right away: Fran (Ruth Chatterton) in Dodsworth, throwing away her husband, one of the best and most attractive men in the world, for a string of Eurotrash milquetoasts, and Sibyl Vane (Angela Lansbury) making the terrible mistake of turning around and staying the night in The Picture of Dorian Gray. I’ve seen that movie roughly ten times, but that scene only once: I literally have to leave the room for about two minutes until it’s over. I can’t even fast-forward past it because you can still kinda see it. (I realize, of course, that both these films are based on novels, so maybe I have to leap into the books to save these ladies as well.)

Similarly, I spend much of Random Harvest, which I love but oh my God, screaming at Paula (Greer Garson), pining away for her amnesiac husband (Ronald Colman), “Just tell him!!” Though as my Mom would wisely point out, as with most plot contrivances that drive you insane, “Then it would be a really short movie.” And at least her story ends happily, because we all know that being long-suffering, noble and self-sacrificing is a sure-fire ticket to romantic bliss.

Sad to say there are many, many more, but I’d rather turn the floor over to my movie tribe.

So… what classic movie character do you most want to save from themselves?


  1. Andy Matura

    Ronald Colman (Robert Conway) for letting his dopey brother, George (John Howard), talk him into leaving Shangri-La.

  2. This is a really interesting question. I have to think about it more. I’ve always thought that if Paula told him the truth, he might not have believed her (or maybe I just like the movie too much).

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