Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Jane Wyman

I was sorry to hear about the death of Jane Wyman. I think she was a wonderful actress.

One of my favorite movies of hers was the now relatively obscure So Big, based on a novel by Edna Ferber, who wrote several sagas, like Giant and Showboat. I've only seen it once, when I was a kid, and it was on TV. Yet I've never forgotten it.

So Big is about a woman who marries a poor farmer. He dies at a young age, leaving her with a small son, nicknamed "So Big," and a farm that's considered too swampy to ever grow enough to make a living. She discovers it's perfect for asparagus, among other vegetables. She becomes successful, and sends her son to university to be an architect. He meets up with a woman who pretty much takes over his life. She is not impressed with So Big's mother, and lets it show.

I don't remember the end; I'm going to have to get the book from the library, but I'm pretty sure it's sad.

Perhaps this movie stays in my mind because the idea of farming asparagus seemed so unusual to me. My grandfather grew corn and soybeans and kept pigs. But if my memory is correct, it's the way Ms. Wyman manages to convey determination and dignity without a word that made it stand out. She was really, really good at that.

2 comments:

Bonnie Ferguson said...

She was an amazing actress.

CherylStJ said...

My favorite was Johnny Belinda. I was very young when I saw it , but I still remember the impact. I even bought the book when I was a teenager. Bet I don't have it any more.