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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tess of the D'Urbervilles

A scene from the movie Tess of the D'Urbervilles popped into my mind the other day. I don't know why, it's been a long time since I've seen the movie, but this one scene, only a few seconds long, has stayed with me.

It is the scene with the threshing machine. Tess is working away, feeding wheat to the machine and it is getting dark. She has a small kerosene lantern sitting nearby, and I am thinking this is a disaster waiting to happen. A container of flammable fuel, a flame, and more straw than you can shake a stick at. All we need is one careless moment and the whole thing is going to go up in flames. If you saw the movie you may remember it as a series of small scale disasters. One thing after another goes wrong, so I was fully expecting the lamp to get knocked over and set the whole place ablaze. I was relieved when that didn't happen.

This was, of course, typical of the way things were done in the days before OSHA. Dangers were everywhere and you had to careful if you wanted to go home at the end of the day. So kudos to the movie makers for this bit of authenticity.

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