There was a film that I watched when I was probably too young to watch it. I saw it again when I was much older, but it still had the same effect on me. After I finished The Long Weekend, I realised that both The Long Weekend and the film shared a similar theme. In both, children were trying to escape the clutches of a remorseless predator hell-bent on killing them. In the film, Robert Mitchum plays the role of the predator. The film was – The Night of the Hunter.
There was one particular line spoken by one of the characters that I knew would be perfect to open The Long Weekend with:
“When you’re little, you have more endurance than God is ever to grant you again.”
Rachel Cooper – Night of the Hunter: with Robert Mitchum and Shelley Winters, 1955, MGM
I found the book, The Night of the Hunter, and this is the original scene with Rachel Cooper:-
“When morning shot its golden shafts into the mists of the trees in the yard Rachel stole softly into the kitchen to the stairway for a moment and stared in at the children on the steps, filled suddenly with the wonder that each of us must feel at least once in his life: the knowing that children are man at his strongest, that they are possessed, in those few short seasons of the little years, of more strength and endurance than God is ever to grant them again.”
Night of the Hunter by Davis Grubb
First published 1953
The words strike such a chord with me because I think they have been true for me, and probably for many other children. A child’s innocence may be destroyed, but a child is not so easily destroyed. Ultimately The Long Weekend is a story not just of our times. It’s an ongoing story in which only the circumstances change from century to century, continent to continent.