A day or two ago New York magazine film critic David Edelstein became the latest big-name cineaste to launch a blog. He’s calling it “The Projectionist.” Today’s riff, in honor of Peter Fonda‘s endurance of bullet excavating in 3:10 to Yuma and Javier Bardem‘s oozy leg-surgery work in No Country for Old Men, asks readers to name their favorite scene in which a wounded character self-performs or receives some kind of crude medical procedure.
My favorite is Walter Slezak slicing off half of William Bendix‘s leg with a jackknife in Alfred Hitchcock‘s Lifeboat. Bendix doesn’t scream (he’s passed out from having chugged a half-bottle of brandy) but fellow lifeboat passengers Tallulah Bankhead and Hume Cronyn (or am I thinking of Henry Hull?) can’t look at what’s happening after 15 or 20 seconds’ worth. And then someone tosses Bendix’s left boot (i.e., the one he won’t need any more) and it goes thoomp on the hull of the boat.