Walking The Green Mile
Feb 05, 2014 | 2277 views | 3 3 comments | 41 41 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Those who have read the 1996 book by Stephen King or seen the excellent 1999 film starring Tom Hanks know The Green Mile to which I refer. It was the centerpiece of the book and film The Green Mile. I have watched the film many times. It never fails to touch my heart in so many ways.

While the film's premise may be too fantastic to take as possible, the themes it covers so well are not. It is a film about self sacrifice, about inherent goodness, about making judgments and finding them misplaced. It is about forgiving ourselves and forgiving others. It is about friendship, about shared gains and losses.

I have thought of writing about The Green Mile many times the past eight years, but I have never been sure what to say about it. Those who have read the book or seen the film know what it is about. They require no apprising or convincing. But what to tell those who have not read the book or seen the film? My suggestion is to see the film.

At its core, the story suggests strongly that a central character - John Coffey - was a gift from God, a man without anger, hatred, or animosity toward anyone. He was a man possessed of a unique ability that defies our logic or knowledge. Simply put, he could take away the pain, injury or illness of others by taking it unto himself. Played masterfully by late actor Michael Clarke Duncan, a hulking mountain of a man, this hero is one who can bring tears to your eyes. His size and strength belie his tender, childlike heart and spirit.

In my mind, John Coffey appeals to the inherent goodness in all of us. We find him as a man on death row in Depression Era Louisiana, found guilty of a heinous crime. As events unfold, we learn that he was guiltless of the crime, but that evidence reasonably pointed to him as the guilty party.

Tom Hanks plays the lead prison guard for the unit called "the Green Mile," and heads up a cast of fellow actors who all shine in their roles. The shooting of the film was surely a labor of love for actors David Morse, James Cromwell, Barry Pepper, and Jeffrey Demunn, who collectively are good guys doing a hard job.

I prefer not to give too much away of the story. If you have not seen it, consider it as a possibility. It is fiction. It does not have to be true, or even possible. The themes it discusses are important, however.

If you watch it, you may prefer to see it on cable or broadcast television. It has some segments that are somewhat disturbing, and editing for cable or broadcast tends to make those parts better.

A host of excellent actors, including Harry Dean Stanton, Sam Rockwell and Graham Greene, play prisoners. I generally do not care for films about prisons or prisoners, but this one is something special, because it is really about life and the good things possible to find in it. If you watch it, you will forever love the Irving Berlin song sung by Fred Astaire "I'm in Heaven," also known as "Cheek to Cheek."

© 2014, Jim “Pappy” Moore,

All Rights Reserved.

Jim “Pappy” Moore is a native son of East Texas who still makes the piney woods his home. oaktreefm58@juno.com
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Jim "Pappy" Moore
February 02, 2014
Lou, I like The Shawshank Redemption as well. A distinctly different kind of film from The Green Mile, it also has important lessons.

I am somewhat hesitant to applaud a story which so thoroughly castigates prison administrators and guards, however, because in the modern era such folks often find themselves abused by the prisoners they tend, rather than the reverse.

But as you say, it is a good story and worthy of coverage. Maybe I could contrast the good people I know in the administration of prisons with the ogres in that film, however.
Lou Sytsma
February 02, 2014
The Green Mile is an excellent film.

My all time favorite is The Shawshank Redemption. Another prison - and somewhat fantastical but it do covers important themes.

And it is also a Stephen King/Frank Darabont production.

This is another film you should write about Mr. Moore.
Karen Blazing sky
February 02, 2014
I want to watch this movie again as I recenlty had a green mile experience. A friend was helping me and slipped down some icy stairs from top to bottom he hit every one. I felt incredible guilt at his injury as it was at my behest that he was there and otherwise would not have been there to hurt himself. He complained of a sore buttock and possibly cracked ribs. Well, I guess I "took it". It was one week ago today and I am still in pain (from watching, not falling) while he tells me he is completely healed and the sore ribs went away that day. The chiropractor verified two dislocated ribs from the head and bruising. I DID NOT FALL!