We Miss You Brooks of The Shawshank Redemption

In The Shawshank Redemption (available on Blu-ray DVD), Brooks Hatlen, played by James Whitmore, is an old con who gets paroled after serving 50 years. He’s a very likable character, has a pet bird, and runs the prison library. I mean, so what if he committed a crime 50 years before?

But once he hits the streets, it’s clear that Brooks is out of his element, and life is no longer worth living.

The Brooks plot plays second fiddle to the main story of Shawshank, but it’s a story we all tear up to while watching.

An aside: To put a damper on an otherwise moving scene, there’s something inconsistent about it for those who are watching carefully. He climbs on a chair, then onto a table and easily carves the phrase “Brooks Was Here” on the beam. Below the beam there’s a railing where he ties the noose. Notice that his head is well above the railing and that the railing stops just below his shoulders. Remember, his feet are flat on the table. The very next scene shows Brooks feet planted squarely on the table. He then rocks the table a couple of times until it falls out from under him. Based on the distance of Brooks’ neck to the railing and the noose that is now tied to it, he should have dropped at least two feet. However, his feet remain at about the same place the table was. The next shot is a pull back shot of Brooks, hanging a good two feet below the beam where he carved “Brooks Was Here.”

Brooks Was Here Theme

This music, composed by Thomas Newman, is some of the best in the film. Give it a listen:

51FsCB2+CzL. SL500 AA300 75x75The Shawshank Redemption: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, by Thomas Newman, is available on Amazon.com.

Here’s someone playing it on the piano, very well.