“Listen, little girl, you don’t know nothing ’bout the Candy Man — he’ll have you crawling on all fours and howling like a dog!”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Since I’ve neither read the novel nor seen the previous film, I can’t make any comparisons; on its own, however, Richardson’s version (scripted by Ruth Ford and James Poe) seems to suffer from the same fate befalling so many cinematic translations of literary works — namely, an egregious lapse in motivational logic. The crux of the narrative — Temple’s radical change of heart, post-rape — simply doesn’t ring true, and no time is spent trying to explain it. As noted in the New York Times original review, this transformation “makes for purple melodrama but not much psychological sense”.
This is too bad, given that beautiful Lee Remick turns in a sympathetic performance in the lead role — it’s not her fault that her character is so poorly written.
Also effective is blues singer Odetta in a pivotal role as the woman who first tries to warn Temple against the bootlegger (renamed Candy); one wishes she’d been given more screen time.
Yves Montand as Candy gives the worst performance in the film — he seems to be walking through his scenes, and is badly cast.
Once again, however, we know so little about his character that it’s hard to get a sense of what makes him tick. By the end of the film, we feel like we’ve only been given a glimpse of a much bigger, potentially intriguing world.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments: