Spleen and Ideal

BETSY: I looked at those great, glowing stars.

I felt the warm wind on my cheek. I breathed deep and every bit of me inside myself said, "How beautiful!"

PAUL: Everything seems beautiful because you don't understand.

Those flying fish -- they're not leaping for joy. They're jumping in terror. Bigger fish want to eat them. That luminous water -- it takes its gleam from millions of tiny dead bodies. The glitter of putrescence. There's no beauty here. Only death and decay.

BETSY: You can't really believe that.

(A falling stars passes by)

PAUL: Everything good dies here -- even the stars...

The dialogue, above, is from "I walked with a Zombie" (1943):
The movie was partially inspired by Jane Eyre and is not a "zombie movie" in the common sense of the term. Ambiguity is at the core of the film and it is never established for certain if Jessica is a zombie or not, or that Voodoo magic is really effective:
I Walked with a Zombie ... presents a complex picture of human relations and offers multiple explanations for events portrayed without definitively endorsing any of them. Frequently it is not even clear whether something is real or imaginary, or whose version of events should be accepted. Even the film’s conclusion, although satisfying, leaves room for interpretation about what really happened and why.
---Sarah Boslaugh, Not coming to a theater near you


  1. A truly lovely offering Jeremiah, thank you. I think I remember that dialogue but your setting of it reveals its wonderful texture.

    I've seen the film a few times, always hoping for something more, something else I'm afraid. It might be a terrific candidate for a remake.

    Maltin's reviewer (3 1/2 stars) advises, "Read small-print disclaimer in opening credits carefully." Hmmm, anyone know what it says?

  2. It says:

    "Any similarities to actual persons, living, dead, or possessed, is purely coincidental."