10 Sad Movie Death Scenes Part 1
The Black Hole (1979). Like many Disney's movies, The Black Hole has hidden depth and is more than just a late seventies Space Opera. The relationship between the anthropomorphic robots Bob and V.I.N.CE.N.T. has an interesting metaphysical subtext. The voice casting of Slim Pickens and Roddy McDowall is sublime and provides the audiences with an immediate connection to the characters. Bob's death scene rises above the contrived as a result of this and has genuine pathos. It is further enhanced by the skill of the animatronics effect work and the subtleties of their physical performances. The way V.I.N.CE.N.T. lowers his eyes when Bob shuts down is wonderful embellishment. The sequence is completed by John Barry's beautiful and dignified music cue.
The Fly 2 (1989). Our emotional connection with our pets has always provided film makers with a rich vein of material to explore or exploit, depending on your point of view. The death of a canine companion has become a established cinematic trope. Consider Mad Max 2, The Beastmaster and Big Jake for example and you'll find exemplars of the "Martyr Dog" concept. In The Fly 2, Martin Brundle (Eric Stoltz) discovers that his childhood pet dog, which he thought had died in a failed teleportation experiment, is still alive and suffering as a result of its horrific transformation. Martin pets the decrepit animal who recognises him and feebly tries to greet him. He finally puts the poor creature out of its misery with chloroform. It can be argued that this is just a Palovian exercise in emotional button pushing but I find that there is an sense of honesty to the scene and the manner in which it is presented.
The Wild Geese (1978). The cultural complexities and hierarchy of the British military are a microcosm of the class distinctions that run through the United Kingdom. This is superbly highlighted in Victor McLaglens's 1978 movie The Wild Geese, which centres around a group of mercenaries and their attempt to rescue a deposed African political leader. Regimental Sergeant Major Sandy Young (Jack Watson) is a very traditional soldier and extremely deferential to his friend and superior, Colonel Alan Faulkner (Richard Burton). In a scene establishing the mutual respect between the two men, Faulkner jokingly quips that RSM Young can call him by his first name if he wishes. Ironically the only time he does this is when he is fatally shot at the movies climax. It's a genuinely moving vignette mainly due to the credibility of Jack Watson's performance.
The Plague Dogs (1982). If you were shocked as a child by the content of Martin Rosen's animated film Watership Down, then prepare yourself for an even more gruelling experience with The Plague Dogs. This is an intelligent but incredibly sad exploration of man's exploitation of animals. Upon it's initial release many people including the distributors were not expecting such a bleak and hard hitting story from an animated feature film. As a result the movie was cut from one hundred and three minutes to eighty two. The story follows two dogs, Snitter (John Hurt) and Rowf (Christopher Benjamin), who escape from a government research laboratory and are pursued by the military. A reoccurring theme throughout the film is that the pair may find safety on a secluded island away from the "whitecoats". After several harrowing adventures The Plague Dogs ends with the dogs on the point of utter exhaustion, swimming towards an island that may not exist. It is never established whether they survive or not.
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969). Often considered the most controversial of all the Bond movies, due to its replacement of Sean Connery and radical change in tone, On Her Majesty's Secret Service has enjoyed a renaissance in popular opinion in recent years. Directors such as Steven Soderbergh consider it to be an underrated classic. I've always enjoyed the movie and its core theme of Bond (George Lazenby) finding meaningful love and fulfilment with Contessa Teresa "Tracy" di Vicenzo (Diana Rigg). Unfortunately a happily married Bond was not exactly what the producers were looking for back in 1969. Therefore there is a rather sad inevitability to the abrupt death of Mrs. Bond just minutes after the pairs wedding. Fans have drawn parallels with 2006 reboot, Casino Royale and the death of Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), although the relationship between the two leads in that instance is not so closely defined.
To be continued.