'He was not mine' — eulogy for Denys, Out of Africa
Karen Blixen's eulogy for Denys in 'Out of Africa' (Meryl Streep) is a favourite movie speech and one of the popular ones in the Speakola list of great movie speeches. So is 'Stop All the Clocks'.
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On film, eulogies need to be short, punchy, and spectacularly good to enter the pantheon of great movie eulogies. One of the shortest and one of the best is Meryl Streep’s graveside eulogy in Out of Africa, released on this day in 1985:
Now take back the soul of Denys George Finch-Hatton whom you have shared with us. He brought us joy and we loved him well. He was not ours. He was not mine.
It was written by screenwriter Kurt Luedtke, and apart from it’s heartbreaking power, it’s last line is at the heart of the unfulfilled love affair that is at the heart of the film, it’s a great example of rhythmic writing.
Almost every word is single syllable and when you get to the four simple clauses about who Denys was, each is four words long. (dropping a linking ‘and’)
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