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Month: April 2009

Red Sky at Morning (1971)

Red Sky at Morning (1971)

“Red sky at morning, sailors take warning…”

Red Sky Poster

Synopsis:
During World War Two, a young teenager (Richard Thomas) whose father (Richard Crenna) has enlisted in the Navy cares for his unstable mother (Claire Bloom) and experiences first love in the desert town of Sagrado, Arizona.

Genres:

Review:
This sincere but disappointing adaptation of Richard Bradstone’s classic coming-of-age tale suffers the fate of so many filmed novels: countless subplots given criminally short shrift, and a host of minor characters who ultimately emerge as little more than caricatures. Throughout the course of the movie, Joshua not only cares for his troubled mother (Bloom), manages the household help (Nehemiah Persoff and Alma Beltran), and befriends an eccentric local artist (Harry Guardino), but is introduced to a host of issues — including troubled race-relations, sex, bullying, and more — at his new high school. For instance, the local twin tarts — colorfully named Venery Ann (Lynna Marta) and Velma Mae (Christina Hart) — aggressively pursue Joshua and his friend Steenie (Desi Arnaz Jr.), much to the ire of their unbelievably hicked out, shotgun-toting father (Strother Martin); meanwhile, Joshua is bullied by a couple of demeaningly stereotypical Chicano hoodlums (Mario Aniov and Pepe Serna), the latter of whom is unnaturally protective of his busty yet religiously pious and naive sister (Victoria Racimo), who goes on to meet an awful fate at the hands of psychopathic Aniov, who flees to the hills and is eventually confronted by the town sheriff (Gregory Sierra)… Well, you get the point.

Thomas — who went on to much greater fame the following year as John-Boy in “The Waltons” — tries hard to create a sympathetic protagonist, but his mannerisms (particularly his tendency to break into nervous laughter while talking) soon become irritating. Claire Bloom as Joshua’s mentally unstable mother evinces a fine southern accent, but her character — all pampered melancholy and low affect — never comes to life. Even more enigmatic is John Colicos as Bloom’s dilettante cousin Jim-Bob, a “professional house guest” who is clearly an irritant to everyone except Bloom, but whose background within the family is never explained; when Joshua finally tells him off during a pivotal scene, it’s an empty victory.

The best performances in the film are given by Joshua’s two closest friends, Steenie (Arnaz Jr.) and Marcia (Catherine Burns). Arnaz Jr. is wonderfully vibrant and amusing here; both his famed parents’ influences are clearly felt. Meanwhile, Burns (who co-starred with Thomas in 1969’s Last Summer) shows an impressive range — as in Last Summer, she’s precocious beyond her years, but here she’s refreshingly self-confident, a fine match for any self-possessed young man. Unfortunately, however, neither of these performances are enough to recommend the film as a whole.

P.S. Note that nearly any review you stumble upon of this film (or the novel it’s based upon) will give away a major plot development which doesn’t occur until the final fourth of the film; be forewarned.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Catherine Burns as Marcia
    Red Sky Burns
  • Desi Arnaz Jr. as Steenie
    Red Sky Arnaz

Must See?
No. Listed as a Sleeper and a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.

Links:

Somewhere in Time (1980)

Somewhere in Time (1980)

“Come back to me…”

Synopsis:
Upon seeing a portrait of a beautiful actress (Jane Seymour) from the turn of the century, a playwright (Christopher Reeve) wills himself back in time to romance her.

Genres:

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary is typically blunt in his assessment of this “schmaltzy fantasy-romance”, based on a prize-winning sci-fi novel by Richard Matheson (who scripted numerous cinematic sci-fi classics, including The Incredible Shrinking Man and The Devil Rides Out). He notes that “Reeve and Seymour are an undeniably appealing couple, ideal for a great romance, but the filmmakers should have scuttled the dreary plot…, sent all the other actors home, and just had the two stars make love in every room of the glorious hotel.” (!!!). The film is problematic on numerous levels. Every scene is calculated to yank shamelessly at our heartstrings; as Roger Ebert points out, it fairly “drips with solemnity”. Although it may be a reasonably common occurrence to find oneself falling desperately in love with a portrait from the past (viz. Preminger’s Laura, for example), the problem here is that we’re essentially asked to believe in and care about a romance based purely on “instinct”. Even once Reeve and Seymour meet in person as young lovers, we’re not given any earthly reason to understand why they’ve fallen for one another (though many, I suppose, would argue that this is exactly the point).

Meanwhile, Reeve (in a role he handpicked after his extraordinary success in Superman) simply doesn’t have the chops necessary to make us believe in his character; it’s painful to watch him so clearly acting at every moment. Seymour is luminous and lovely to look at, but can’t really do much to resurrect her underdeveloped role. Christopher Plummer (as Seymour’s controlling manager) is reduced to a few scenes of red-faced rage, while Teresa Wright (in a tiny role as the elderly Elise’s caretaker) is essentially wasted. Amazingly enough, however, the film has an enormous — or at least a powerful, visible, and long-lasting — following. It became a cult classic after airing on cable television in the 1980s, and in 1990 a fan club called the International Network of Somewhere in Time Enthusiasts, or INSITE, was founded; members meet every year on Mackinac Island in Michigan (where the movie was filmed) to screen it. On the fan club’s impressively obsessive website, one can purchase any number of “SIT” memorabilia items, take a quiz, sign up to receive a quarterly newsletter, and learn more than you ever thought you wanted to know about Seymour and Reeve. INSITE was apparently responsible for ensuring that these two actors both received stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and lobbied for a special edition 20th anniversary DVD release of the film. This movie clearly means something more to a bunch of folks than I can even begin to imagine…

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Fine cinematography, sets, and costumes

Must See?
Yes — but only for its cult status.

Categories

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Raggedy Ann and Andy: A Musical Adventure (1977)

Raggedy Ann and Andy: A Musical Adventure (1977)

“I’m just a little rag doll with a candy heart…”

Raggedy Ann Poster

Synopsis:
When Raggedy Ann (Didi Conn) and her brother Andy (Mark Baker) set forth from their playroom in search of a French doll (Niki Flacks) kidnapped by a pirate (George S. Irving), they encounter a series of malcontented creatures — including a homesick camel (Fred Stuthman), an eternally hungry blob named The Greedy (Joe Silver), and a stature-sensitive king (Alan Sues) in search of “the last laugh”.

Genres:

Review:
A critical and box-office failure upon its release, this animated musical — a clear thematic precursor to Pixar’s phenomenally successful Toy Story franchise — is undone by a roster of forgettable tunes and insipid lyrics (“All of us live in the nursery/All of us different as we can be”), sung by actors who struggle to carry a tune (though to her credit, Didi Conn had laryngitis during taping, and was apparently unhappy with the way her songs turned out). The animation — while inspired at times, particularly when The Greedy is on-screen (I was reminded of Miyazaki’s amorphous beheaded god in Princess Mononoke) — is mostly uneven, and often reminiscent of the quality of weekend television shows. Neither the cloyingly sweet Ann nor her brother Andy ever emerges as a fully developed character, and it’s hard to feel much motivation for Babette’s rescue, given that she’s clearly a spoiled diva and not really worthy of our sympathies.

With that said, adult viewers may be amused by the rather substantial undercurrent of “mature” themes hidden in the story and its characters — including the Pirate’s face-reddening and mustache erection whenever he thinks about Babette; Ann and Andy’s overly “friendly” sister-brother relationship (“Candy hearts and paper flowers/Will always keep me close to you”); Andy’s insistence that he’s “no girl’s toy”; and the Camel’s hilariously drug-like hallucinations. Indeed, many on IMDb’s message board for the movie have commented that it gave them nightmares as kids.

Note that you’re likely to either be completely annoyed or morbidly fascinated by the obnoxious “Penny” twins (Margery Gray and Lynne Stuart), who pop up as a freaky Greek Chorus every five minutes or so during the first portion of the film, but mercifully disappear once Ann and Andy are off on their adventure.

P.S. Though it’s not yet out on DVD, Raggedy Ann and Andy can be watched in installments on Google Video.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Cool animation of the Greedy
    Raggedy Ann Greedy
  • Some bizarrely campy sequences – including the Camel’s hallucinations
    Raggedy Ann Camel

Must See?
No; despite its cult status, this one isn’t must-see viewing (though it’s worth a look).

Links:

Brainstorm (1983)

Brainstorm (1983)

“Don’t take my project. This is MY project!”

Brainstorm Poster

Synopsis:
Two idealistic scientists (Louise Fletcher and Christopher Walken) who have created a headpiece allowing users to experience someone else’s reality must fight to maintain the integrity of their invention when their boss (Cliff Robertson) sells their work to the military.

Genres:

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary is rather unenthusiastic in his assessment of this infamous final feature of both Natalie Wood (she died before filming was complete) and special-effects guru-turned-director Douglas Trumbull, whose insistence on finishing the film despite Wood’s death soured him against Hollywood producers more interested in collecting insurance money than releasing the movie. While Peary acknowledges that the film’s “much ballyhooed visuals (shot in 70mm) are truly impressive”, he unjustly claims that Trumbull elicited “atrocious performances” from Walken and Robertson (both are actually fine in their respective roles), and that his use of “chain-smoking as Fletcher’s dominant personality trait is really lackadaisical” — in truth, her smoking seems to fit her nerve-wracked personality to a tee, and actually helps to substantiate the legitimacy of her fatal heart-attack midway through the film.

Peary claims that the film “has enormous gaps” but, for the most part, I disagree. I’m impressed by how screenwriters Bruce Joel Rubin and Robert Stitzel smartly explore the various ethical ramifications of a virtual reality device which we have yet to experience, but whose arrival surely can’t be that far away. The device’s potential for “good” is made abundantly clear throughout the first half hour of the film: in addition to the obvious money-making application of allowing people to experience a world of visceral thrills (roller coaster rides, sweeping views of majestic mountains) without ever leaving their chairs, it miraculously helps bring Walken and his estranged wife (Wood) back together by allowing them to relive the glory days of their early romance. The U.S. military, of course, has much more nefarious plans for the headset (torture, anyone?), but the screenwriters draw an appropriately sticky line between these two extremes, as demonstrated in the scene in which a naive employee (Joe Dorsey) decides to splice a strategic section of a sex tape and run it continuously, only to become mildly brain damaged as a result.

The most exciting sequence in the movie is undoubtedly Fletcher’s dramatic heart attack, which — scientist that she is until the very end — she struggles to record so that others can study the experience of dying. It’s the natural extension of this crucial plot element (in which Walken “plays” the tape and sees visions of heaven and hell) which most reviewers take issue with — and it’s certainly easy to agree that the cheesy special effects don’t “do justice” to the experience. Yet I would counter, what could? How can any of us “know” what this ultimate experience might look and feel like — and then transfer this effectively to a two-dimensional screen?

Where the film does begin to lose steam for me, ironically, is during its final climactic half-hour, as Walken and Wood valiantly fight against the Powers That Be to rescue the tape and destroy the military’s mass-operations facility. While it’s somewhat amusing to hear the couple voicing banalities to each other over the phone as a cover-up (it works — nobody pays them any attention), the action sequences — including machines going haywire and suds spilling out across the floor — come across as both juvenile and out-of-place. Despite this flaw, however, Brainstorm remains undeniably provocative sci-fi viewing, and should be seen once by all film fanatics.

P.S. Trumbull only helmed one other film — 1972’s equally flawed but engaging Silent Running

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Louise Fletcher as Dr. Reynolds
    Brainstorm Fletcher
  • Natalie Wood — who, as Peary notes, is “lively and lovely in her last role”
    Brainstorm Wood
  • Christopher Walken as Michael Brace
    Brainstorm Walken
  • Impressive visual effects
    Brainstorm Effects
  • A fascinating premise

Must See?
Yes, as a smart sci-fi film with a provocative premise. Film fanatics will likely also be curious to see Wood’s final performance.

Categories

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Two of Us, The (1967)

Two of Us, The (1967)

“Who could I talk to without you? Who could I confide in?”

Two of Us Poster

Synopsis:
During World War II, a young Jewish boy (Alain Cohen) is sent by his concerned parents (Charles Denner and Zorica Lozic) to live undercover as a Catholic in the countryside with a kind but anti-semitic old man (Michel Simon) and his wife (Luce Fabiole).

Genres:

Review:
Claude Berri’s feature debut — based on his own experiences as a boy in the French countryside during World War II — offers an unabashedly sentimental perspective on the danger of Jews in hiding. Rather than hinging his narrative on if or when naughty Claude (Cohen) will slip up and give away his religious identity, Berri focuses instead on the “May-December” friendship which develops between Simon and Cohen; indeed, the original title of the film (inexplicably changed for American audiences) is “Le Vieil Homme et l’Enfant”, or The Old Man and the Boy. Eventually, however, The Two of Us turns into a gentle fable about the absurdity of prejudice as well.

Simon, with his craggy, life-worn face, is surprisingly appealing as the bigoted “Grampa”, whose ill-founded preconceptions about “others” (Jews, Blacks, gypsies) belies his soft-hearted nature; much is made, for instance, of the fact that he’s a vegetarian who strongly opposes his wife killing rabbits for dinner, and tries to convince Claude from abstaining as well. Most of the film’s rather unexpected humor comes as we listen to Simon explaining how Jews can be spotted (or smelled!), and why they’re so “undesirable” — and then hear Claude innocently questioning his inane assertions, pointing out, for instance, the enormity of Simon’s own nose. Meanwhile, Claude — once so coddled that his mother literally spoon-fed him his dinner — gradually becomes more independent, literally blossoming in the fresh country air. If only all young European Jews during the war were as lucky as Berri…

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Michel Simon as “Grampa”
    Two of Us Simon
  • Alain Cohen as Claude
    Two of Us Cohen
  • A touching story of cross-generational friendship
    Two of Us Friendship
  • Beautiful b&w cinematography (by Jean Penzer)
    Two of Us Cinematography

Must See?
Yes, as a classic of foreign cinema, and for Simon’s late-life performance.

Categories

Links:

Raggedy Man (1981)

Raggedy Man (1981)

“I can’t quit this job; I’m frozen here.”

Synopsis:
During World War II, the divorced mother (Sissy Spacek) of two young boys (Henry Thomas and Carey Hollis, Jr.) takes up with a sailor (Eric Roberts), which arouses the envy of two local hoodlums (William Sanderson and Tracey Walter).

Genres:

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary is an enormous fan of Sissy Spacek’s performance as Nita Longley in this character-driven romantic fable; he refers to Nita as “her most mature, capable, and, I think, appealing character”, and gives Spacek an Alternate Oscar as Best Actress of the year. He notes that Spacek is finally allowed to “create a character through nuance rather than speech” and that she “reveals exciting parts of her that she’d always kept hidden”. Spacek’s performance here is indeed lovely — as is that of Eric Roberts in one of his better supporting roles (Peary notes that he gives a “splendid performance”, and correctly asserts in his Alternate Oscars book that he deserved a Supporting Actor nomination). Their brief romance together is truly touching, and “tastefully handled”. Peary also rightly points out that “you’ll feel transported back through time” by the authenticity of the “small Texas town” (thanks to the “impeccable” sets and photography), and that you’ll doubtless enjoy the “smart dialogue” and the wonderful “interaction of characters, including adults and children”.

Unfortunately, however, Raggedy Man — which starts out as the “most lyrical and romantic of films”” — is irredeemably marred by its “horror-movie ending”, a deeply “regrettable sequence” which, despite some heavy-handed foreshadowing, seems to come out of nowhere, and seriously disrupts the timbre of prior events. While we can’t help but guess that Sanderson and Walter (giving appropriately creepy performances) will exact revenge for Spacek’s gentle rejection of their advances, the way in which this plays out seems more fitting for Spacek’s breakthrough movie Carrie; and the allegorical importance of the film’s title character (Sam Shepard in facial makeup) comes too late to feel authentic. Film fanatics are sure to feel torn in their feelings about Raggedy Man, which would likely be must-see if it weren’t for the film’s unfortunate denouement.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Sissy Spacek as Nita
  • Eric Roberts as Teddy
  • Fine attention to period detail

Must See?
No, but it’s recommended for the strong central performances and authentic recreation of 1940s Texas.

Links:

Annie (1982)

Annie (1982)

[Note: The following review is of a non-Guide for the Film Fanatic title; click here to read more.]

“Why any kid would want to be an orphan is beyond me…”

[Note: The following review is of a non-Peary title; click here to read more.]

Annie Poster

Synopsis:
During the Great Depression, a plucky orphan named Annie (Aileen Quinn) is rescued from the clutches of her evil caretaker (Carol Burnett) by the secretary (Ann Reinking) of a crusty billionaire (Albert Finney), who agrees to help her find her long-lost parents — but Annie’s life is put in danger when a pair of con-artists (Tim Curry and Bernadette Peters) collude with Miss Hannigan (Burnett) to nab the $50,000 award offered by Daddy Warbucks (Finney).

Genres:

  • Albert Finney Films
  • Carol Burnett Films
  • Con-Artists
  • Depression Era
  • John Huston Films
  • Millionaires
  • Musicals
  • Orphans

Review:
John Huston’s mega-million-dollar film adaptation of the long-running Broadway musical Annie received decidedly mixed reviews upon its release, with Vincent Canby of the NY Times calling it “a nearly perfect Music Hall picture — big, colorful, slightly vulgar, occasionally boring and full of talent not always used to its limits”, and Roger Ebert noting that “in the abstract, [it’s] fun… but in the particular, it has all sorts of problems”. Even those who adored Annie as children (and can break into any one of its catchy tunes without missing a beat) generally concede that it’s a flawed picture; it’s currently rated at only 36 points on Metacritic, and director John Huston — this was his one and only foray into musicals — was nominated for a Razzie! Perhaps not surprisingly, Annie is missing from Peary’s book — but I’m reviewing it here simply because it’s achieved such a cult status over the years.

Unknown (then and now) Aileen Quinn was selected among thousands of applicants for the lead role, and does a memorable job; her voice is strong and clear, and while she’s no great actress, she projects just the right amount of spunk and vitality. (Note, however, that she won a Razzie as worst supporting actress of the year.) Film fanatics will likely enjoy seeing both bald-pated Albert Finney as the crusty yet malleable Daddy Warbucks, and Carol Burnett’s hilariously over-the-top performance as Miss Hannigan (my favorite moment: Hannigan drunkenly takes a sip of water from a vase full of flowers). And the story itself remains undeniably seductive: what kid — orphan or not — wouldn’t want to be adopted by the wealthiest person in the world?

P.S. Among those considered for the key roles in Annie were Bette Midler as Miss Hannigan, Jack Nicholson as Daddy Warbucks, and Drew Barrymore as Annie herself. Interestingly, any one of these possibilities seems like a plausible choice.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Albert Finney as Daddy Warbucks
    Annie Finney
  • Carol Burnett as Miss Hannigan
    Annie Burnett
  • A catchy roster of tunes

Must See?
Yes, simply as a cult favorite.

Categories

Links:

Haunted Palace, The (1963)

Haunted Palace, The (1963)

“I’ll not have my fill of revenge until this village is a graveyard!”

Haunted Palace Poster

Synopsis:
In the late 1700s, warlock Joseph Curwen (Vincent Price) is burned at the stake by the villagers of Arkham, and vows revenge. More than 100 years later, his great-grandson (also Price) arrives in Arkham with his new wife (Debra Paget), and becomes possessed by a painting of Curwen. With the help of his loyal servant (Lon Chaney), Curwen attempts to raise his mistress (Cathie Merchant) from the dead, and to kill off his murderers’ descendants.

Genres:

  • Debra Paget Films
  • Elisha Cook Jr. Films
  • Horror
  • Lon Chaney, Jr. Films
  • Possession
  • Revenge
  • Roger Corman Films
  • Vincent Price Films
  • Witches, Wizards, and Magicians

Review:
Made as part of AIP’s cycle of “Poe” pictures (but actually based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft ), this Corman-directed flick is a compelling treat for fans of gothic horror. With its opulent sets, fog-drenched cinematography, and brass-heavy score, The Haunted Palace has atmosphere to spare; and Corman-favorite Vincent Price is at his hammy best in dual roles as both Ward and Curwen, effortlessly shifting from hapless husband to malevolent warlock with a simple arch of his eyebrows. Because Curwen is treated so viciously by his neighbors in the opening sequence of the film — his dying screams as he’s burned at the stake are bloodcurdling — we can actually sympathize with his desire for revenge; the snively residents of Arkham (many of whom are mutants) almost seem to deserve their fate. Paget is fine as Ward’s unfairly put-upon wife, and Chaney (in ghoulish-green facial makeup) is appropriately creepy as Curwen’s eternally loyal servant — but this is Price’s show all the way.

P.S. Watch for the final compelling shot of the movie, which takes one by surprise.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Vincent Price as Curwen and Ward
    Haunted Palace Price
  • Daniel Haller’s baroque production design
    haunted-palace-production
  • Atmospheric cinematography (by Floyd Crosby) and direction (by Corman)
    Haunted Palace Fog
  • Ronald Stein’s instantly hummable score

Must See?
Yes, for Price’s performance, and as a most enjoyable “Poe” adaptation by Corman.

Categories

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Treasure Island (1950)

Treasure Island (1950)

“Them that die’ll be the lucky ones!”

Synopsis:
In 18th century England, a young boy (Bobby Driscoll) is given a treasure map and sets sail on a ship with a mutinous crew, led by the one-legged pirate Long John Silver (Robert Newton).

Genres:

Review:
Disney’s first live-action film remains the most famous version among many (including the Peary-recommended 1934 version, starring Wallace Beery) made from Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic 1883 adventure novel Treasure Island. Unfortunately, it takes too long for the action to get started, with half-an-hour passing before the ship even sets sail; but once it does, director Byron Haskin keeps things moving at an energetic clip, with plenty of exciting action sequences and life-threatening encounters. Disney veteran Bobby Driscoll (star of 1946’s Song of the South) is appropriately mature as young Jim Lively (who gets to experience a coming-of-age adventure most boys only dream of!), and he’s surrounded by a cast of colorful supporting actors — most notably Robert Newton as Long John Silver (nominated by Peary as one of the Best Actors of the Year in his Alternate Oscars).

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Robert Newton as Long John Silver

Must See?
Yes, simply to see Newton in perhaps his most iconic role.

Categories

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What’s the Matter With Helen? (1971)

What’s the Matter With Helen? (1971)

“Helen, you do act like a killjoy sometimes.”

WTMWH Poster

Synopsis:
When the mothers (Debbie Reynolds and Shelley Winters) of two convicted murderers receive threatening phone calls, they flee to Hollywood, where they establish a song-and-dance studio for aspiring kid stars. Reynolds finds happiness by dating a wealthy admirer (Dennis Weaver), but Winters’ increasingly unstable mental state puts both their lives at risk.

Genres:

Review:
What’s the Matter With Helen? was written by Henry Farrell, best known for penning the Grand Guignol classic Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) and its successor, 1964’s Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (based on his short story “Whatever Happened to Cousin Charlotte?”). Farrell was clearly interested in milking the theme of “things happening” to middle-aged women with troublesome pasts — yet unlike in either Jane or Charlotte, it’s obvious from the beginning of Helen which of the two female leads will eventually show evidence of having a few too many screws loose.

While …Helen? offers some enjoyment in its recreation of 1930s Hollywood — complete with eerie Shirley Temple- and Mae West-wannabes dancing their hearts out for hypothetical talent scouts in the audience — it ultimately fails to generate the same type of twisted energy as its cinematic predecessors, due primarily to the rather tame central relationship between Winters and Reynolds. Ironically, 40-year-old Debbie Reynolds’ uber-trim, youthful appearance (she looks not a day over 30) works to her detriment here, given that she never comes across as either middle-aged or pathetic — and her friendship with Winters, based purely on the circumstance of their sons’ hideous crime, lacks the emotional gravity of the contentious familial relationships grounding both Jane and Charlotte.

As a result, Winters’ gradual descent into madness exists in a weird parallel universe to the somewhat mundane path taken by Reynolds (who seems to want to be in a romantic musical — note her two impressive dance scenes). There’s some tension to be had in the underlying question of who’s been making threatening calls to the two ladies, and whether or not Reynolds’ convenient new love interest (nicely played by Dennis Weaver) will care about her grown son’s infamous record — but a potential subplot about Winters’ obsession with a charismatic female evangelist (Agnes Moorehead in a criminally small cameo) sadly fails to go anywhere, and the climactic ending, while shocking, feels like a bit of an emotional cheat.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Effective 1930s set designs and (Oscar-nominated) costumes
    WTMWH Set Design
  • The surreal “kiddy revue”
    WTMWH Revue
  • Dennis Weaver as “Linc”
    WTMWH Weaver

Must See?
No, though it’s worth a look once.

Links: