One of the nicest dreams ever offered by Hollywood is that death frees you. Not just from having to grapple in a tough, cruel world but, if you pass in your 80s or 90s, from a body that’s been sinking into physical decline. Death means you can be a kid again. This, at least, is a fantasy I considered when my father went a couple of years ago, and it’s what I’m thinking now that Titanic star Gloria Stuart has passed at age 100.
Jim Cameron was obviously charmed by the youth-regression idea — he used it for the finale of Titanic. The Four Poster, a 1952 romantic film with Rex Harrison and Lili Palmer, also went there. I haven’t seen it since the late ’70s, but Harrison and Palmer escape their wrinkled and withered bodies when they push off, and are free to be young lovers again.