Blanche: You wouldn’t be able to do these awful things to me if I weren’t still in this chair.
Jane: But you are, Blanche! You are in that chair!
The wheelchair isn’t a mobility device in films it’s a plot device. Until recently it was the foreshadowing of the person in it to be pushed over a cliff, down a flight of stairs. Or the person was in it as the result of someone else’s careless actions but they seek to forgive not punish that person.
Thanks to the recent fictionalizing re-hash of the Bette David vs Joan Crawford ‘relationship’ in Feud one of the most notorious uses of the wheelchair has been brought back into the public eye. I didn’t need that refresher though. I recall the movie vividly & in particular the scene I quote above. I’ve also seen that scene re-enacted by drag queens – Jane & Blanch were at one time were in every drag make-up kit.
In viewing the Baby Jane movie recently, & thanks to Andrew Gurza having increased my awareness, I paid more attention to how Blanche’s disability was portrayed. She has the right mechanisms for getting herself in and out of her bed, into her chair & can hold herself in standing position at the window. Even in the novel she is relatively ‘spry.’ I never quite understood why her room was on the 2nd floor of a house with no elevator except as a plot point to keep her helpless. Her emotion response isn’t self-indulgent pathos but the plot does turn on her helplessness & her determined struggle to survive. Her disability drives the plot.
I recently watched an early 40’s sudser “A Life Of Her Own” that featured Lana Turner & Ray Milland. Lana gets involved with married Ray whose wife, Margaret Philips, is unable to gratify him after an accident that leaves her wheelchair bound. The wife is accepting & is willing to grant him a divorce. Lana meets the wife who turns out to be gentle, loving & her condition is the result of Ray’s drunk driving but the wife forgives him & wants to set him free of the terrible burden of looking after her. Lana says bye to both of them. If the wife had been a bitter vengeful shrew would Lana have said ‘bitch, he’s mine now.’ Disability is a plot device that underlines how heinous unmarried women are in their desperate need to land a man, any man, to complete themselves as humans.
Names Have Been Change To Protect The Idiots
it didn’t work out with
Rob he had two lovers already
Alex he lived with his mother
Paul he died
Barry I wasn’t fat enough
Yves I had a life of my own
Charlie I chipped a tooth on his PA
Allan thought I was only into him because he was black
Leroy I couldn’t stand American Idol
Gary I made him feel stupid
Peter wanted to move in after 3 weeks
Hank I wasn’t needy enough
Zak I didn’t party all night
Neil I was too available
John I wasn’t grateful enough
Phil his meds kicked in at all the wrong times
Reg he was never on time
Greg I couldn’t read his mind
Bruce I didn’t know enough about Judy
Anton I didn’t want to get tied up
Marv he was a lawyer
QMaxx I wasn’t trendy
Don I had so little body hair
Keith I wasn’t uncut
Stan wanted me to swallow even though he didn’t
Dave had to work two jobs to make his support payments
Craig preferred cam2cam to man2man
Darren was a compulsive liar – so maybe we are still together
Sebastian I wasn’t The One
Janet I’m not really into women
Lance there was nothing outside the bedroom
Chris preferred cologne to soap
Brad was only gay when he’d had a few
Trevor I was as old as his Dad and that was way too creepy
Brian thought I was a slut for some reason
Daniel he didn’t get this poetry thing
HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam
April 03 – every Tuesday
June 8-9 – Capturing Fire 2018 – Washington D.C. (flight & hotel already booked)