I hadn't seen The Land Before Time in a long while before last weekend. The funny part is, my daughter was spending the night at her grandmother's, and my girlfriend and I popped the movie in.
Now, we've all seen the movie a few times. I was a teen when it was released, so I wasn't caught up in the blitz like my little sister. She had the pajamas, the pillow case, the lunch box... everything was Petrie this and Ducky that. Anyway, so I knew the plot and the scenes, especially regarding Littlefoot's mother.
What is it about scenes that make us cry? I knew it was coming and I remembered being moved by it before. I thought it couldn't happen again, but sure enough... My throat tightened, my lip quivered, and my eyes welled up. The scene is shot beautifully in its simplicity. We're up close at first, but then it goes to a long shot that slowly backs away, letting us linger on the image and listen to the mother's words. This time, though, I was acutely aware of the secret ingredient, that beautiful, haunting Horner melody. I smiled every time I heard it later in the movie, which wasn't often. It gives me chills. The Diana Ross song evokes it perfectly.
So, a few days later it's still in my mind and I looked it up and found this site. A great review...
One of the reasons it's still haunting me is I learned that Judith Barsi, the child actress who performed Ducky's voice (yep yep yep!) was shot by her own father before the film was released. He shot her, her mother, and himself. I don't know why I didn't know about it before now in 2008, but it made those furtive high notes in the inspiration theme seem all the more haunting. I'll never hear them again without thinking of her. How very sad.