In another unforgettable and poignant sequence Ben is unceremoniously awakened by Bull in the middle of the night on his eighteenth birthday for the purpose of giving the young man the gift of the marine’s World War II army jacket.
Bull attempts to move Ben with stories of the day he was born, and of remembering his wife as “prettier than I’ve ever seen her.” The next day father convinces the initially reluctant son to accompany him to the officer’s club, where Ben is liquored up to extreme intoxication.
Other themes in Bernstein’s score are alternately rhapsodic, pastoral and infused with friendship and hope, while evoking the heartfelt essence of familial love.
In the film’s more harrowing passages, the composer uses minimalist sounds to evoke danger and foreboding, and then finally to denote grief.
Conroy purposely focused some of his attention on the racial problems of the south that were all around him in his formative years, and of how injustice was an outgrowth of sustained hate and prejudice.
The friendship with Toomer, and the tragic event are all part of the coming-age process that script writer and director Carlino transcribes from Conroy’s autobiographical work.The irresistible theme is initiated by the violin and harp, expands in full orchestral splendor as Ben re-reads the letter near the river, and then subsiding to an arresting coda.It’s one of the most breathtakingly sublime moments in the cinema.NEW YORK — In his new memoir, The Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and His Son, Pat Conroy confesses, "I hated my father long before I knew there was a word for hate."Donald Conroy, a highly decorated Marine pilot who fought in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, lived by a warrior's code. I miss how, despite everything, he could make me laugh."Conroy's dad nicknamed himself after joining the Marines after Pearl Harbor and learning to fly.His son says, "Dad's job description was to kill our nation's enemies, and nothing in his job hinted at any obligation to be a good father or husband."Now, 15 years after his father's death, Conroy, who turns 68 on Saturday, is asked if he misses him."A great deal," he says with a crooked smile. One day, after practicing aerial acrobatics over Lake Michigan, he announced to his squadron, "I was better than the Great Santini today."The nickname, borrowed from a death-defying trapeze artist he had seen as a boy, stuck.” Bull’s response is to bolt away, declaring ‘Jesus H. The diners who were unaware of the scam were revolted and left in disgust.While was greeted to mostly excellent reviews when released, a small minority took issue with the film’s racial sub-plot that involves the stuttering son of the Meechum maid Arabelle Smalls.This results in tragedy when Red returns to kill Toomer’s dogs.He kills one, but a second bullet goes astray mortally wounding Toomer, who then opens the gate letting the remaining dogs maul Red to his own death.When Bull arrives at the scene to reprimand his son for getting involved in the racial skirmishes by moving to aid Toomer, he finds the young black man lying dead in the front seat of Ben’s car, and must break the news to a stricken Arabelle.The Pettus family, who represent the uneducated poor white families who propagate racism to feel higher on the pecking order, recalls the Ewells, the white trash family responsible for the tragic death of Tom Robinson in Harper Lee’s and the Robert Mulligan film based on it.