Cold Wind in August, A (1961)

Cold Wind in August, A (1961)

“I keep forgetting I’m robbing the cradle.”

A lonely stripper (Lola Albright) seduces a teenager (Scott Marlowe) in her apartment building, then finds herself unexpectedly falling in love.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Coming-of-Age
  • May-December Romance
  • New York City
  • Strippers

Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, “Lola Albright… had her one strong movie role in this erotic, honest little sleeper”, playing a “past-her-prime stripper who, to show herself she still has what it takes, seduces a seventeen year-old”, and “is surprised to discover that he provides her with the love and sex that have been missing from her life”. Most effective is the way Burton Wohl’s screenplay (based upon his own novel) presents us with two characters in flux: Albright’s Iris is finally learning what it’s like to be in love, while Marlowe’s Vito is simply responding to his awakening sexual urges. It’s inevitable that such a pairing won’t last, but it’s still painful to watch Vito pulling away, and Iris suffering as a result. Made six years before The Graduate (1967), Cold Wind is the superior film simply in terms of showing the “older woman’s” perspective.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Lola Albright’s mature, natural performance as Iris (Peary nominates her for an Alternate Oscar)
  • The rapport between Vito and his understanding father (Joe De Santis)
  • Unusual camera angles and editing
  • Striking graphics in the opening titles
  • Smart dialogue

Must See?
No, but it’s highly recommended for Albright’s wonderful performance.


One thought on “Cold Wind in August, A (1961)

  1. First viewing. As much as I enjoy ‘Cold Wind’, Peary’s decision to include it in his reviewed section seems merely subjective – like it just struck a chord in him for some reason. In a way, it’s a frustrating film because it has potential and can make one want it to be better than it is. Certain sections (particularly Albright putting Bernardi in his place near film’s end) are so strong, you might wonder why the rest of the film seems a little under-developed. And tame (or so it looks now): when Marlowe’s buddy tells him Albright has been seen ‘performing’ in a club and he goes to see for himself, it’s tempting to see his outraged face and respond a la MST3K: ‘Oh my God, my girlfriend is doing a G-rated strip act!’ That said, it is a curious little item, intriguing enough (esp. the performances by Albright and Marlowe) to make it worth checking out – just wouldn’t put it on a ‘must see’ list.

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