The Departed (2009)

Left Us Video Clip 2009

Every year around this time TCM creates a clip, a tribute

to the professionals who have died in the movie business during the year.

And every year I watch these and find to my amazement that so-and-so had died and I didn’t know about it.  This years clip seems especially poignant to me.  Not the major stars, but the character actors that gave so much enjoyment: Henry Gibson, Dom Deluise. This years musical track brings tears to my eyes.  Steve Earle’s recording of  “To Live is to Fly” is incredible.  It feels like a perfect song.

As I see these figures flit by, usually in clips from their most famous films, it just strikes me again – the idea that they will be around forever.  And maybe in a way they are.  The clips are almost always from their most famous roles, which are usually when they were young.  For my generation, Karl Malden was the priest in On the Waterfront.  For the next generation he was the cop in Streets of San Francisco; and then for the following generation a spokesman – Don’t Leave Home Without It.

It wasn’t the age at which they died that anchored them to a certain time of our lives; it was the roles we remember them for.

It just seems such a shame that those who provided so many moments of laughter and sadness must die like anyone else.  That does seem like a waste in the greater scheme of things, but that’s the way it is.  This particular clip gave me goosebumps.

Getting older, I find it easier to cry then when I was in my 30’s.  I’ve read that this is common with men, as the hormone production decrease, they become more feminine as they get older; and the reverse is said to be true for women; so that by the time they both reach the end, they’ve become very alike.   It seems to be true, as I found it impossible to feel this sort of sadness when I was a young man; and now any good sad song can do it.

Well, okay – just thought I’d pass the link on as worth a look.


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My name is Dave Beckerman. I am a fine art photographer working in New York City.

3 thoughts on “The Departed (2009)”

  1. Beautiful tribute. I don’t think it’s just age-related hormone depletion that makes a video like this so poignant. It’s the fact that we grew up with these actors. Many were from our parents’ generation and some were from our own generation, which touches us evenly more deeply. We are witnessing our own begin to vanish.

    As to the music, Steve Earle is one of my favorites. I just saw him perform last week at the Ethical Culture concert hall. He did a tribute for Townes Van Zandt, another great unsung folksinger of our era. Steve Earl has the kind of genuine pain and sadness in his voice that comes only from a life lived to the extreme. He has also written a song that I think is one of the greatest ever, “Jerusalem.” It’s an antidote to all the foulness that taints the world after people try to justify killing on religious grounds.

  2. It seems brutally ironic to me that the older we get, the larger our collection of memories becomes, and the more often we are ‘held hostage’ by them, submersed in a seemingly endles sea of what was and what could have been, “if only”. The lesson: there is an intrinsic value to being able to recall places, events, people, etc. and the impact they’ve had on our lives, but beware of becoming lost in the relatively insignificant details about them that really no longer exist, or even matter, as you don’t actually have the time left (not that you ever did). It’s later than you think, so be here now.

  3. Well put. This is the time of year that I feel down in the dumps. It’s pretty common. A lot of thinking ’bout the past, and wondering ’bout the future. Usually the passes when the holidays are over.

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