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Occasional ramblings by an anesthesiologist/mother (and sometimes her husband).

Thursday, March 23, 2006

"Abyssinia, Henry"

It still amazes me the way movies and television shows can trigger such deep emotions. There are still certain movies and TV shows that can make me cry, no matter how many times I see them. Return to Me is one movie. The Patriot is another. When I watch those movies, I know to have tissues nearby because I know I'm going to need them.

I just saw one of those TV episodes. It's an episode of M*A*S*H . The title is the same as my post's title. This episode is the final appearance of McLean Stevenson, who played Col. Henry Blake. Since this episode aired over 30 years ago and is periodically shown on TV I have no problem with a spoiler. Henry was to be discharged and the episode is one long goodbye to him. It is the last scene that gets me every time. Radar walks into the OR and announces that Henry's plan was shot down and there were no survivors. There is just something about the way it was filmed, the looks on the actors' faces. I still cry every time. I think one of the things that makes this so touching is a bit of trivia. With the exception of Alan Alda, no one in the cast knew that Stevenson's character was going to die - the idea being to capture actual shock and surprise. It worked, even if they did have to film the scene a second time.

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