The weekends on All Things Considered series Movies I’ve Seen A Million Times features filmmakers, actors, writers and directors talking about the movies that they never get tired of watching.
For actor-writer-director Ed Burns, whose credits include The Brothers McMullen, Saving Private Ryan and the new film The Fitzgerald Family Christmas, which is available for download and opens in theaters Dec. 7, the movie he could watch a million times is Tender Mercies.
On what Tender Mercies is about
“It takes a look at Robert Duvall’s character and his road to redemption as he gives up booze and tries to get a second chance in life. A second chance as not only a singer-songwriter, a second chance at love and marriage with Tess Harper, and a second chance at fatherhood.”
On his favorite scene in the film
“Probably my favorite scene in the film involves Robert Duvall and Ellen Barkin’s character. They have a very awkward conversation and as she’s leaving the room, she asks Duvall if he remembers a lullaby that he used to sing to her when she would go to bed. And Duvall says no, he has no recollection of that lullaby. And Barkin’s a little disappointed, and she walks out and she gets into the car and takes off. And then Duvall turns away from camera, walks to the window, it’s a beautiful gorgeous shot, and he then sings that lullaby to himself.”
On why he loves that scene
“It is, for me, hands down the most heartbreaking moment in cinema. I’ve watched it hundreds of times and it’s a big part of why I wanted to make movies. I mean, I still get chills when I describe the scene but I remember what it was like to sit there alone, you know, watching this VHS tape on an 18-inch color TV and what happened on that small screen, it was the kind of emotional reaction that I only hope that one day I can sort of evoke out of an audience.”