Sunday, June 6, 2021

The Ugly Girl Who Wasn't Ugly

A filmmaker sometimes demands that the viewer relinquish his critical thinking skills.  This is something commonly known as suspension of disbelief.  You cannot engage with the story unless you believe exactly what the filmmaker tells you to believe.  Forget the plot holes, the miscast actors, and the poor effects.  

An unusual plea for the viewer to suspend disbelief can be found in M-G-M's The Secret Garden (1949).  For the purposes of the story, we must accept that a young girl is ugly even though our own eyes tell us differently.  The young girl is played by adorable child actor Margaret O'Brien.  

O'Brien wasn't given a single makeup adornment to make her look any different than she usually looked.  Makeup supervisor Jack Dawn didn't give the actress a prosthetic nose, thick-rimmed eyeglasses, a frizzy wig, or belly padding.  Yet, we are informed through the dialogue of various characters that she is ugly.  

I found myself unable to go along with a pretense as absurd as this one.  This was, for me, a bridge too far.   

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