Horton Foote, Rest in Peace

One of the greatest of modern American writers, Horton Foote, died yesterday after a long and lovely life. Foote may be most famous for his screenplay adaptation of "To Kill a Mockingbird," among many other great works, but many of his fans like best of all his story of a spiritual journey an old woman takes back home to the town of her youth, "The Trip to Bountiful." I can think of no other story about an old person in America which can compare, even though Foote wrote it as a young man.

Robert Duvall in the LA Times called Foote "an American Chekhov." I wouldn't go that far — Foote doesn't have Chekhov's range, his hilarity, for one. But what he does have is a deep and abiding understanding of the struggle for decency that so many writers never see among ordinary people, which is what gives his work its timelessness and its beauty. As he said in an interview in l986:

“I believe
very deeply in the human spirit and I have a sense of awe about it
because I don’t know how people carry on.” He added: “I’ve known people
that the world has thrown everything at to discourage them, to kill
them, to break their spirit. And yet something about them retains a
dignity. They face life and they don’t ask quarters.”

Here's Geraldine Page in "The Trip to Bountiful," for which she won an Academy Award.


Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

3 thoughts on “Horton Foote, Rest in Peace

  1. I think you mean “Geraldine Page.” Isn’t it a bitch having to do all one’s own proofing? And I’m glad you’ve put up Geraldine’s picture so we don’t have to look at that frightening Face in the Crowd demagogue anymore.


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