last night, in between writing chapters, i watched part of the 1944 film Laura.
it's the kind of old film i love, filled with cliched characters: the brooding masculine detective, the beautiful and somewhat mysterious female lead, her charismatic yet immature fiance, and the older man-of-the-world who not so secretly loves her.
gene tierney plays the title role, and she is quite beautiful and alluring. i didn't know much about her as an actress, so i did some googling. i skimmed over the basics, like where she was born and how she began her career. what did catch my eye, however, was that she contracted rubella while pregnant at her only appearance at the hollywood canteen. as a result her daughter was born prematurely - deaf, partially blind and severely mentally retarded. years later at a tennis party a woman approached gene tierney and confessed that although sick with rubella, she'd snuck out of quarantine against her doctor's orders just so she could meet her favorite actress at the hollywood canteen.
i can only imagine the flurry of emotions running through gene tierney at that moment. i'm sure a part of her wanted to kill that woman who claimed to be her fan. a part of her must have felt relief that her daughter's condition was not her fault. there must have been a part that mourned for the normal life her daughter almost had.
my heart broke for her when i thought of her in that moment, facing the woman who had unknowingly changed two lives forever.
agatha christie used this incident in her mystery The Mirror Crack'd, and i can't blame her for using this story because it's so dramatic it almost seems like something out of a greek tragedy. but i don't know if i'd ever have skin thick enough to weave someone's true pain into a work of fiction.
and for the bit of comedy: did any of you read about this? just goes to show that spellcheck alone isn't always enough. wonder where the copy editor was on this one.