Jane Darwell

January 23, 2009


Jane Darwell is most remembered for two roles, both of which are actually my favorites, too: Ma Joad in The Grapes of Wrath and the woman feeding the birds in Mary Poppins.

This particular sketch represents Darwell in The Grapes of Wrath in one of the most poignant scenes in any movie, ever. Leaving the family farm, she says goodbye to the one real valuable thing she's ever owned: her earrings- this is a picture of her reflection in the mirror as she holds them up to her ears.

The sadness in her eyes just makes your heart ache. Even as she plays the steady, levelheaded matriarch of the family, this moment alone in the dark with her earrings shows that even a tough woman like Ma Joad can be burdened by sadness, regret and hopelessness.

In accordance with the rest of the movie, Darwell is a representation of the desperation and perseverance that personified the era of the Great Depression.

2 comments:

Jim Wynn said...

Great artist however I didn't know ma Joan was played by Clint Howard, Ron Howard's brother.

Unknown said...

You chose, for your sketch, exactly the right role and exactly the right scene. As you noted, it's the most poignant moment in "Grapes" and one of the most poignant in any movie.