“What they are is their own business; but it becomes a lot more when children are concerned!”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
… and James Garner cast as Karen’s loyal fiance, Dr. Joe Cardin (originally performed by Joel McCrea).
Unfortunately, this updated version was made at a time when homosexuality was still largely considered as “awful” as the characters all proclaim it to be. As MacLaine stated in an interview she gave for the documentary The Celluloid Closet (1995):
Indeed, one waits… and waits… to hear any of the characters questioning the fact that an implied lesbian relationship would merit such shock and scandal — but this never emerges; instead, we’re asked to simply believe that an entire school would be shut down within a few days given rumors about its owners’ sexual preferences. While this may be realistic, it’s jarring to see it accepted without question: the only consideration is whether Balkin’s rumor — substantiated by her bullied classmate (Veronica Cartwright) — is true, not whether it merits a response of any kind. Speaking of Balkin, she’s much less “enjoyable” as a Bad Seed than Bonita Granville was in the original:
Bainter, on the other hand — giving her final screen performance — is nuanced and note-perfect in a villainous role that she manages to imbue with humanity:
… and Franz Planer’s cinematography is gorgeous throughout.
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments: