Filmsite Movie Review
Beyond the Forest (1949)
Pages: (1) (2)

Plot Synopsis (continued)

An Evening's Dinner with Carol and Moose - Lewis' Description of His Life's Work as a Country Doctor

Later, she was awakened from the porch swing by the arrival of Lewis, Moose, and Carol who had arrived to visit - and Carol realized they had met earlier at the station. Carol (the ideal of womanhood in striking contrast to Rosa) was there to reestablish her relationship with her long-lost father ("We've got a lot of lost time to make up"), who had long since remarried since her childhood. Rosa eagerly volunteered to take Carol's fur coat inside.

The pretentious and haughty Rosa also barked orders to a scowling Jenny [in some ways, a mother/daughter mirror image] who back-talked about the menu for dinner:

Jenny: "Do you want that Chicken a la King business served on toast?"
Rosa: "Well, I showed you the picture in the magazine, didn't I?"
Jenny: "How can I see if there's toast under all that goo?"

During the evening's meal, Lewis described to Carol why he had become a 'General Practitioner' country doctor (or "horse and buggy doctor" in a small town) - so he could really get to know his patients and their personal needs:

Lewis: "One semester, an old Austrian professor came to lecture. I think I remember almost every word he said: 'My children, never despise a General Practitioner. He's like a farmer who takes care of the seed, the soil, and the crops, the food of Man. The specialist is like a horticulturist who nurses hothouse flowers for ladies' corsages.' I decided then and there I was a farmer."
Rosa (interjecting insultingly): "Sure, a hick doctor!"
Carol: "There's a big trend now, back to General Practice. Even in the cities. People seem to feel that the good old family doctor was able to combine Medicine with a bit of Psychiatry."
Lewis: "That's right. You not only know what they get, but why they get it."

Rosa denigrated do-gooder Lewis for not demanding fees for his services from his poorer patients: "Step up, ladies and gents, and listen to Dr. Moline: The people's friend, the town's do-gooder. It's all free." After dinner, Rosa looked longingly at Carol's fur coat, caressed its rich softness with her hand and face, and secretly tried it on.

Rosa's Incensed Demands For Money to Take a Shopping Trip to Chicago:

In the middle of the night, Rosa yelled at her sleeping husband in a twin bed next to her: "Lewis, you forgot to pull down the shade!" Their bedroom window (with only a cheap, malfunctioning pull-down shade) faced the nearby factory's belching fire and smoke. She again demonstrated how much she despised her middle-class way of life:

Rosa: "I don't know how you can sleep with that light in your eyes! I didn't want those cheap old shades anyway! I wanted venetian blinds. All the houses in magazines have venetian blinds!"
Lewis: "Well, maybe next year you can have venetian blinds. This year we're lucky to have the house!"
Rosa: "I don't want them next year. I might be dead next year!"

She begged Lewis to lend her $300 or $400 dollars so that she could "get away for awhile" to Chicago - "to buy some decent clothes and have some fun." When Lewis protested that he didn't have the money, Rosa spitefully mentioned how his patients owed him at least that much: "You have that much owing you from those chiselling patients of yours!" She despised how he let his patients off-the-hook, while bank-mortgages, grocery bills, and mail-order products were always paid first. She became physically sick at the thought of being denied her rightful share:

"Always a stall. Wait, wait, wait. When I think of the things I want, it's like how your stomach feels when it hasn't any food in it!"

Referring back to his metaphoric discussion at dinner, Lewis rationalized his poor accounts-receivable practices for Rosa: "I'm afraid you're not a very good gardener. You seem bent on destroying the flowers and cultivating the weeds!" She agreed to accept $200 for her trip, to fund a shopping trip to buy a new wardrobe. She went through his Accounts-Receivable book and wrote down all his indigent patients who had outstanding bills, and - offscreen - billed them for their owed debts. She exploited her husband's clients so that she could use the money to finance a trip to Chicago to see Latimer. Lewis realized when he was being repeatedly shunned in town by normally-friendly folks that something had changed. He noticed in his office that some of his patients were struggling to pay their bills.

At home, Lewis angrily confronted Rosa and threw a bag with money at her - the money she had extracted from his patients - "Here's the money you went begging for. If you take it, don't come back!" He ordered her that after her visit to Chicago, she should never return home.

Rosa's Disastrous Venture to Chicago to See Latimer:

The trip to Chicago resulted in a series of delays and mishaps for Rosa, after she took the train and booked a room at the downtown Lakewater Hotel:

  • she wore a baggy, unbecoming and unflattering hand-made suit that made her look out of place
  • she could only reach Mr. Latimer's secretary, and had to wait many hours for a return call that never came
  • when she couldn't get through on the phone, she visited Latimer Enterprise's busy office and was kept waiting without an appointment, and then was told that Mr. Latimer had gone for the day (leaving through a private entrance)
  • dejected, she returned to her hotel's coffee shop, thinking to herself: "He can't be that busy, it's just a stall!" "He's harder to see than the President!" "Private Entrance!" "He's got to see me. I'm sick of life pushing me around." "I'm not just a small-town girl. I'm Rosa Moline!"; completely wrapped up in her own head and entering a trance-like state, she missed an echoing announcement that she had a phone call ("Calling Rosa Moline") and was unable to get to the phone before the caller hung up
  • a while later, he called her back in her room and she expressed how she felt miffed: "I began to think you were trying to avoid me"; he claimed he was writing her a letter, but then agreed to see her in person and pick her up at 7:30 pm
  • Latimer's chauffeured limousine picked up Rosa (wearing a sexually-provocative tight black dress) in the rain in front of her hotel; he broke the news slowly to her that he had fallen in love and was recently engaged to a pretty and young society woman: "I suppose I've always seemed a pretty tough customer. But there comes a time in a man's life when he sees things a bit differently....I worked hard all my life, Rosa. I've worked for everything I've got. Not always clean fighting either, but I got there. But it's not enough. I've missed things along the line, important things. I've got a chance now to go back and pick some of them up. We've never pulled any punches, have we?...Okay, I'm gonna lay it right on the line. I've met a girl. I'm going to marry her....Because I've fallen in love....It's the truth! I didn't know girls like that existed. She's like a book with all the pages uncut"
  • Rosa was completely disconsolate, distraught and hopeless when rejected: "You're sorry? What good does that do me? I've left Lewis for good...(They kissed) I can't go back, Neil! If you turn me down, I got nothing left, nothing!"; he offered her money (which she rejected) and then explained how he had always been upfront with her: "When it comes right down to it, I didn't owe you any explanation at all. The time we spent together, I wasn't double-crossing anyone. And I didn't break up your home or break up your marriage, so don't pin that on me"
  • after Latimer broke off his relationship with Rosa, she demanded to be let out of the car (a foreshadowing): "If you don't stop this car, I'll jump out!"; as she exited the car, she expressed how she wasn't good enough for him: "I came here, dragged myself on my hands and knees, with no pride. Me, Rosa Moline! And you don't want me, I'm not good enough! You taught me my place, all right. I told him all right! I walked out on him! Him and his millions! Any other woman would have taken the money! But I'm not just any woman, I'm Rosa Moline!"
  • in a nightmarish succession of events for a single woman, Rosa was thrown out of a bar for soliciting: "You can't stay here without an escort"; out on the street in the heavy rain, she was again recognized as a loose woman and propositioned by an elderly passerby: "Buy you a beer, sister? Come on, I've got a couple of bucks"; she was startled by a policeman, shouted at by a demanding newspaper seller to buy a paper ("Paper, lady?!"), laughed at by a crazy woman above her on a fire escape, and hassled by a bearded drunk before running in her ankle-strapped shoes to catch a cab

Rosa's Dejected Return to Loyalton - and Her Unexpected Pregnancy:

Rosa was forced to return home, thoroughly discouraged and downtrodden by her dashed hopes to escape. Her husband accepted her back, and kissed her when she asked politely. In the woods one day with Lewis as Rosa mused about death (she watched gloomily as trees were being marked for death by the lumberjacks), she unexpectedly broke the news to him: "I'm going to have a baby." Rosa discovered she was pregnant by her husband and had an ambiguous reaction ("Not glad and not not glad") - her husband was happy and confident that the baby would help solidify their marriage and turn her into a really fulfilled woman: ("I should think a baby would make you happy...It ought to. Why should you be different from any other woman?").

Latimer's Return and Change of Heart:

Together, they attended a square-dancing birthday and dinner party for Moose (hosted by his daughter Carol) at the Latimer Lodge. Latimer arrived in the middle of the celebration - opening the door with a dramatic gust of wind that extinguished the cake's candles. In the dark upstairs gun room, he privately told Rosa that he had broken off his engagement and wanted her to come with him to Chicago and marry him - it was a stunning turn of events:

"I'm not going to get married. I'll called it off, washed it up. It's you and me now, Rosa. That's the way it's gonna be. I must have been crazy that time in Chicago. But I know where I stand now. I want you to marry me. And that's what you always wanted, isn't it? How soon can you get away?"

Excited by the possibility of moving to the big city, Rosa agreed to his request immediately ("Right now!"). Latimer explained why he had changed his mind: "I'm crazy about you! You had my number all along. You're what I do need: Someone I can always be myself with. Not putting on an act. A society act like that dame I was soft in the head about." He promised her riches:

"I'll show them. I'll doll you up, Rosa! Hang diamonds on you like a Christmas tree, and then I'm gonna trot you out and say, 'Look! This is the kind of a woman I want! A woman with guts!' And you can wipe your feet on them all."

And then he suggested a quick Mexican divorce for Rosa from her husband.

The Hunting Party - Moose's Death:

The next day as the group set off for an early-morning hunting party, Latimer whispered to Rosa that she should prepare to leave with him in about an hour to fly back to Chicago. But then Moose (who knew about Rosa's ongoing affair with Latimer) threatened to tell Latimer of her pregnancy if she left her husband. Of course, that would mean that Latimer would again reject her:

Moose: "You're not going to get away with it. I'm on to you and Latimer....You're something for the birds, Rosa. Something for the birds!...It won't work."
Rosa: "You bet it'll work! I'll leave you and Lewis and everything in this town behind me!"
Moose: "What about the baby? I don't think Latimer will be quite so interested when he finds out....You're not going to get away with it."
Rosa: "What makes you think you can play God?"
Moose: "I'm not playing God exactly. But I'm on his side."
Rosa: "You wouldn't dare."
Moose: "Oh yes I would! You tell Latimer or I will."

Fred Fisher's 1922 tune "Chicago, Chicago" played in Rosa's head (in the background on the soundtrack) as she devised a plan in her head to thwart Moose's threat. Shortly later after sighting Moose with her binoculars, Rosa shot him dead to silence him forever - in order to further her plan to escape.


Rosa's Murder Inquest: An Acquittal

In the town's murder inquest months later, Rosa claimed the shooting death was accidental, and was found not guilty of manslaughter (because there was no evidence to the contrary). After the town's funeral for Moose, Latimer proposed that their plan needed to be postponed for at least a month or two - from the current month of November until after Christmas: "We better change our plans. Wait a little while till all of this dies down....I don't want any dirt hanging to us." The impatient Rosa couldn't wait a few more months - since she would be showing her pregnancy bump more clearly by then.

Rosa's Two Damaging Confessions to Her Husband:

Still desperate to get married to Latimer and move to Chicago as soon as possible, Rosa confessed to her husband two damaging admissions about herself - in order to convince him to end her pregnancy: ("I can't go through with it! I can't! I just can't!...I've killed a man. It'll be on my mind all these months to come. No telling what it'll do to the child! It wouldn't be right, it wouldn't be fair!"):

  • her long ongoing affair with Latimer
    ("After I've told you a few things, you may not want me or my child. I've known Latimer for over a year now! He's crazy about me...Well, he thought he was going to marry someone else. But he changed his mind! Why did you think he turned up at the lodge that night? Just to see me! Just to tell me he wanted to marry me! You thought you could keep me tied to this town, didn't you? Make another Mildred Sorren out of me with 8 kids.")
  • her premeditated, non-accidental murder of Moose
    ("Wait till you hear what else I've got to say! I've got more brains in my little finger than you've got in that whole stupid head of yours. More brains than anyone in this town! And that goes for all the hicks that sat on the inquest. An accident! And you believed it too!...I've been hunting all my life. Did you ever know me to miss? Did you ever see me when I didn't hit what I aimed at? Did you ever know me to mistake a man for a deer? I killed Moose, I couldn't help it!")

He adamantly refused to accede to her wishes - he angrily told Rosa that she could be free only after the baby was born - and it was important for her to carry her baby to term: "I don't want to hear any more! All I care about is my baby and you're going to go through with it....You can go where you please and you can do what you like! After you've had the baby!" Behind the stairway railing looking imprisoned, she vowed: "I'll kill myself first!"

More Devious Scheming by Rosa to End Her Pregnancy:

Persistent in efforts to rid herself of her pregnancy, Rosa borrowed Jenny's clothes (including a plaid shirt and bluejeans) to masquerade as her maid and took a bus to the neighboring town of Ashwood. (Lewis happened to see her boarding the local bus from his office window.) The shingle outside a building read: "HERBERT McWILLIAMS - ATTORNEY AT LAW."

[Note: The Production Code censored Rosa's visit to see about aborting her baby, and non-sensically converted the 'medical doctor' character to a lawyer.]

Lewis followed her there and intercepted her in the attorney's office, to drive her home. As they approached Loyalton, in a memorable sequence, Rosa asked for Lewis to stop the car to get a warm blanket from the trunk. She took the opportunity to throw herself down a hillside into a ravine to cause an injury and a miscarriage (a self-induced abortion), to kill her unwanted and unborn baby. The baby was lost, and Rosa's recovery was extremely slow. She was impatient (about leaving for Chicago) and accused her good-hearted husband Lewis of causing her serious illness and a high fever - evidence of blood poisoning (or peritonitis), in order to delay her departure:

"You did this to me, I know you did! You want me to die, don't you? You're trying to punish me for all the things I've done. I'm gonna fool you, I'm gonna live!...There's nothing wrong with me that a good doctor couldn't cure. Why should I lie here in this dump when I could have the best of everything, the best that money could buy, everything deluxe! All this is just a stall to keep me here! You really hate me, don't you? You finally got the guts to hate me! Well congratulations, it'll make a new man of you!"

She deliberately broke her medicine bottle, forcing Lewis to drive to the hospital in Ashwood to obtain more medicine for her.

Rosa's Memorable Death:

The feverish Rosa dragged herself from her bed, and in a half-crazed, fever-induced madness, she frantically and hysterically attempted to escape from her environment - to "move on" - by dressing herself up. As Jenny showed real compassion and helped her to put on her ankle-strapped shoes, Rosa spoke about her ultimate goal and sang to herself: "Excitement. Ever hear of excitement, Jenny? It's like fire running through you! Chicago, Chicago - the toddling town, the toddling town. Chicago, Chicago." She muttered to herself a complaint: "That mill sucks all the juice out of this town!" As she struggled to dress herself, she again mocked and insulted Jenny: "Do you have to stand there like a cigar store Indian? Can't you help me? The zipper's jammed! You clumsy fool! You want me to miss that train. Get out of here! Get out!"

Before her bedroom mirror, she smeared herself with lipstick and mascara - and viewed her grotesque image in a mirror - before adjusting her disheveled clothing, mentioning her future name ("Mrs. Neil K. Latimer"), feebly descending the stairs, and leaving the house. She painfully made her way toward the train station to catch the 10 o'clock train - as she heard the refrain "CHICAGO, CHICAGO" again pounding in her head.

In her memorable death scene, the Chicago train slowly pulled away, revealing that Rosa had fallen and collapsed, and died in the roadway as she neared the boarding platform of the train station. Lewis (who had been alerted by a phone call from Jenny) arrived to find her deceased body in his car's headlights - as the camera pulled up and away. She was justly paid and compensated for her selfishness and her sinful ways.

Previous Page