This is another one of those random ones, inspired by two examples that I could think of while I was writing up the list of possibilities. Significant pieces of luggage that have appeared in the films. Just a few.
(Incidentally, this is #29 in a series of 47 posts about movies, with topics selected by my friend, each given to me after the previous one is written. For more information, check out #1 here.)
In spite of the number of suitcases, backpacks, tote bags, garment bags, and large chests that have appeared in the movies over the years, surprisingly few have garnered any significant notice. Consequently, it took me a while to think of a third example. Once I did, I resolved to get writing before I forgot it.
But what is luggage? Is a briefcase luggage? What about a handbag? I investigated those important issues for a couple of moments, a decided that no, they were not. If they were, then Dumb and Dumber and The Importance of Being Earnest might have been mentioned here. But now, they’re not.
However, a carpet bag is luggage. It says so, right on wikipedia. So…
Mary Poppin’s Carpet Bag from Mary Poppins (1964 – directed by Robert Stevenson)
Mary’s Poppins carpet bag is one of the most iconic things about her, with its ability to hold improbably large items, such as a hatstand, mirror, lamp and plant. It’s one of the first indications in to the children Jane and Michael that there is something a bit different about their new nanny, and has led to countless fan theories that Mary Poppins is actually a Time-Lord, and that her carpet bag is her TARDIS.
Del Griffith’s Trunk from Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987 – directed by John Hughes)
Planes, Trains & Automobiles is one of those movies that gets revisited pretty regularly in my household, as both my wife and I find it pretty funny. In it, Steve Martin’s Neal Page is trying to get home for Thansgiving when he runs afoul of the well-meaning but difficult Del Griffith, a traveling salesman (shower curtain rings) who gets in his way again and again. Del is played by John Candy, who is both funny and heart-warming in the part. In addition to being saddled by Del himself, Neal finds himself also burderned by Del’s large footlocker trunk (shown eventually to probably contain all his worldly goods). The trunk trips him up both literally and figuratively on several occasions, but as Neal eventually learns to appreciate Del and to respect the burden he secretly carries (that he is a widower, and basically homeless), the trunk becomes an image of their new friendship: one of the final shots shows the two men carrying it together, as Neal brings Del home for Thanksgiving.
Francis’, Peter’s, and Jack’s father’s monogrammed 11 piece Louis Vuitton luggage set with custom safari print from The Darjeeling Limited (2007 – directed by Wes Anderson)
In this Wes Anderson comedy-drama-adventure, three brothers–played by Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman–come together for a journey across India in search of enlightenment and also their estranged mother. It’s been a year since the death of their father, and they each carry luggage that once belonged to him. Each one of the boys is scarred by the father’s death and their mother’s abandonment, and they are forced to confront these difficult emotions over the course of their journey. Never before has physical baggage been so representative of emotional baggage, as only at the end of the long and emotionally tumultuous trek do the three men freely discard the bags as they race to catch their final train.
It’s an obvious symbol but a highly satisfying one, which makes those bags the best movie luggage ever.