Empire (UK) - - REVIEW -

DAVID GOR­DON GREEN: “My favourite scene in any movie is the din­ner ta­ble scene at the very end of De­liv­er­ance. It’s one of the four movie posters on my wall. Ev­ery­one knows the “squeal like a pig” scene and, “This is the week­end they didn’t play golf,” but very rarely is this ref­er­enced — the af­ter­math of such an emo­tional jour­ney in the sim­plic­ity of a din­ner ta­ble scene, and the aw­ful, awk­ward, un­com­fort­able qual­i­ties of these char­ac­ters around each other, fam­ily and food. It’s got a strange sim­plic­ity; a mun­dane se­quence af­ter an ex­tra­or­di­nary jour­ney al­ways has this eerie, beau­ti­ful qual­ity to me. That’s why that scene stands out. It’s burned into my mem­ory.”


Af­ter coming out of hospi­tal at the end of their long or­deal on the Cahu­lawassee River, dur­ing which their friend Drew (Ronny Cox) died and Lewis (Burt Reynolds) broke his leg, Ed (Jon Voight) has been driven back by am­bu­lance to the lodge where he and Bobby (Ned Beatty) are stay­ing. Ed walks up the steps, and we hear chat­ter. He walks up to the door and peers in. At the din­ner ta­ble, Bobby is tuck­ing into food. He is joined by a group of other peo­ple: guests and Mrs Biddiford (Louise Col­dren), who owns the ho­tel.


Ed en­ters the room. Mrs Biddiford emerges from the kitchen, car­ry­ing a bowl, and no­tices him.

MRS BIDDIFORD: Oh, hello. Come on in.

Bobby stands up upon see­ing Ed.

MRS BIDDIFORD: We saved you a seat.

Ed sits down. So does Bobby.

MRS BIDDIFORD: Do you feel like eat­ing some­thing?

ED: Please.

The guest to his left of­fers a bowl to him.

GUEST: Some corn?

Ed ac­cepts. Mrs Biddiford pours him a glass of milk.

ED: Thank you.

Bobby watches his friend, des­per­ate to say some­thing, but not know­ing quite what. Mrs Biddiford passes Ed some bis­cuits. He takes one.

ED: Thank you.

MRS BIDDIFORD: Would you like some peas?

Peas are passed down the ta­ble. Ed takes some. And, as he looks up, he’s sud­denly choked with tears, but com­poses him­self quickly.

BOBBY: [to the man to his left] This corn is spe­cial, isn’t it?

MAN: I love good corn.

That’s the sig­nal for the con­ver­sa­tion to flow again. A woman, sit­ting at the end of the ta­ble, in­ter­jects.

WOMAN: We need that big cu­cum­ber I got out of our gar­den last night. You know how long it was?

BOBBY: Tell me.

WOMAN: Twelve-and-a-half inches long. May and I mea­sured it around, and it’s ten-and-a-half around. That’s the darnedest-lookin’ cu­cum­ber you ever seen.

Ev­ery­one laughs. Bobby looks at Ed, who smiles. But the smile doesn’t quite reach his eyes.

WOMAN: I’ll send it over and let you see it, if you doubt it.

BOBBY: That cu­cum­ber’s a cham­pion.

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