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Ethel Barrymore, and more...

It's Ethel Barrymore night on TCM.  I've watched two of the films.

She does such a wonderful, practical, believable job playing the part of an older woman aware of her mortality.  In Pinky, when the doctor declares she'll be up and about soon, she only needs a short glance to convey just how full of it she knows he is.

So did she regularly play that part, or did I just catch the right movies to give that impression?  I'll have to watch more and see, I guess.

And, what must it be like to play such a part, when one is starting to feel that end approaching in real life?  She was 65 or older for all but one of tonight's movies, and died at age 80.  65 isn't all that old - at least for some - but it's old enough to know what the weight of years feels like.  Based on my extremely small sample size, she took that understanding and extrapolated from it for the parts she played.  Impressive.

And based on that limited sample size, I might hope to be like her (or at least her characters) when I grow up. 
Well, some combination of her, and Lillian Gish in The Night of the Hunter...that's a woman who knows how to use a shotgun.  

Speaking of which, Robert Mitchum really knows how to creep a person out.

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