|MacNeill's dashing entrance scene MacNeill's arrival to treat Miss Quimby is the first scene we have with the doctor and Christy together. MacNeill makes quite the heroic entrance in this film, galloping to the mission house almost like a knight in shining armor after being summoned to treat the injured aviatrix. He is all charm and full of banter in this scene and mostly we notice the interaction between him and the lovely but bold Miss Quimby although when told by the aviatrix that Christy has complete faith in him, he smiles charmingly at Christy and responds in that case he had better do his best work. This scene is notable in the amount of flirting that is going on between Harriet and the doctor. And this development does not seem to catch Christy's notice as she appears more interested in Harriet the progressive woman pilot as a symbol for Christy's modernization campaign than she does in Harriet as an attractive woman about to give Christy a run for her money with one of her fellows. If Christy had noticed the flirting going on and had indicated to Harriet at this point that MacNeill was hands off, so much aggravation for the young school teacher could have been avoided, but then that would have required Christy acknowledging her true feelings for MacNeill which seems to be something Christy is uncomfortable doing at this juncture in their relationship. Another interesting little tidbit in this sequence comes from the voice over narrative from the elder Christy when she states: "In a few hours time, Harriet had become a distraction for every man she met." We will hear the word "distraction" used again much later in this movie as quite an understatement describing Christy's physical and emotional longings for a certain doctor.|
Having a word in the stable This quiet little scene between MacNeill and Christy is a well-placed reminder that these two are very close but have not opened up completely to the other yet about their true feelings. It also points out the differences in approach that Christy uses on the two men in her life...earlier with David she came right out and said she had a favor to ask of him...here with MacNeill she starts more subtly, casually leading into her request by inquiring about Zach as his assistant. By her leading conversation with him, he recognizes instantly that she is leading up to something with her words so he calls her on it. Then she opens up and asks him outright. As is typical MacNeill, he is more than eager to help her out once he hears that David Grantland has turned her down. MacNeill cannot resist the plaintive request of the woman he loves when he realizes it means so much to her and that he will score big points by helping out. I loved the beautiful, warm smiles exchanged between the two at the end of this scene. Here are two people deeply involved in the other's life, very much attracted to each other and yet somehow still apart, and it is an important element to keep in mind as we try to reconcile what happens between Christy, MacNeill and Harriet Quimby.
The exchange on the stairs Christy's faith and MacNeill's challenge to her belief is brought out in this brief exchange that takes place on the interior staircase of the mission house. MacNeill has just exited Miss Alice's room where he has been attending her after she was attacked by the poachers and thrown from her horse. Christy anxiously meets him on the staircase and inquires about Miss Alice and what happened. The young school teacher emphatically states that the Lord was watching over Miss Alice while MacNeill counters that more than likely it was that the poachers bungled the job and luck that prevented much worse from happening.
Yet for their opposing viewpoints here, neither appears eager to argue or antagonize the other and the two part with a friendly word or two as MacNeill tells Christy he will walk Zach home and work with him and his studies a bit, much to her delight. She teasingly tells him to be sure to stick to science and leave the theology to someone else. This seems minor but in itself shows how far their relationship has evolved into mutual respect for the other's beliefs and tolerance of their known differences. Compare this to one of their earlier altercations such as his questioning of her belief's in the episode "Lost and Found," and we see that during the time that has passed she has better learned to stand her own against him and also not become as annoyed at him for his differing viewpoint. He also has acquired a great deal of respect for her and her beliefs as well. This scene is beautifully lit and one of my favorite visual moments in the movie. Not only is the lighting sublime, but it resonates symbolically as the ambiance is used to great effect to reflect the idea of faith and the belief in God being a movement toward a spiritual enlightenment. Note that as Christy addresses MacNeill and expresses her beliefs, she moves up the stairs toward the light (which indicates the direction toward Miss Alice, who represents strength of faith, the idea of an Inner Light) while he moves down the stairs and toward the darkness as he express his doubts. A very notable scene both visually and thematically. MORE->>