The Silent Scream

10 11 2007

Interesting that the three greatest screams of cinematic history should all be silent:

• The scream of Judy Dench, who played Hecuba weeping over Priam in Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet;
• The scream of Karl Urban, who played Eomer weeping over Eowyn in Peter Jackson’s The Return of the King;
• The scream of Al Pacino, who played Don Michael Corleone weeping over Mary Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather III.

And the greatest scream in literary history? Possibly also silent:

Then she turned, and her face was shown in the clear burst of moonlight and by the lamp, which now had no quiver from Van Helsing’s iron nerves. Never did I see such baffled malice on a face; and never, I trust, shall such ever be seen again by mortal eyes. The beautiful colour became livid, the eyes seemed to throw out sparks of hell-fire, the brows were wrinkled as though the folds of the flesh were the coils of Medusa’s snakes, and the lovely, blood-stained mouth grew to an open square, as in the passion masks of the Greeks and Japanese. If a face ever meant death – if looks could kill – we saw it at that moment.

– Bram Stoker, Dracula (Penguin Classics: London, 2003), 226.

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3 responses

14 11 2007
Kathy

What about the painting by Edvard Munch entitled “The Scream”. I emailed you the image….I couldn’t work out how to add it to this comment.

14 11 2007
Simon Holloway

Oh, nice example! I’d not considered the representation of despair in visual art, but Munch’s The Scream strikes me as an example of the silent scream as well. Aside from the fact that no noise is, obviously, emitted from the painting, there is that quality to it that may suggest the absence of noise even within the reality that it represents.

12 12 2010
emma

i love this paiting but i wonder when it is painted. I want to know this because it is a project for my studies!

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