After Hours
with Richard Armstrong




“Patricia Clarkson”

By Richard Armstrong


    At first I didn’t register that the lady in the shades at Warden Moores’ garden party in The Green Mile is Patricia Clarkson. Much later wasting away with a brain tumor, she looked too wraithlike to be anyone with a name. But when the movie’s voodoo conceit brought her back from the dead, recognition grew with each moment of Melinda Moores’ resurrection. I was reminded of an exchange of glances a few weeks before…

    We had come to the National Film Theatre to see Dead of Night, and as we followed the crowd up the stairs one of us swore that Patricia Clarkson joined the queue behind us. We humored our friend and, passing through the doors, privately dismissed the notion as romantic illusion. When the lights dimmed inside the auditorium our friend swore that Patricia Clarkson looked at him in a funny way before disappearing in the gloom. We humored our friend, privately dismissed the notion as wishful thinking, and fell prey to a ventriloquist’s dummy.

    Emerging from Dead of Night, we traipsed soporifically up the aisle to the exits. Again came the plaintive whisper and at the sibilants “Patricia Clarkson”, a lady just ahead of me glanced over her shoulder and a smile flickered across her face. Passing through the doors, each privately decided it was a miracle.