“It’s the same story everywhere I go; I spoil everything.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary’s complaints are rather broad and difficult to challenge. However, knowing the history of the film — that it was made with a number of non-actors (Walters, Breen, Radha), funded by an L.A. florist, and filmed on location in India for the first time (for a Hollywood movie) — adds to its unique stamp in world cinema; it’s especially noteworthy that Satyajit Ray was Renoir’s Assistant Director.
It seems that Godden’s intent (unnecessarily reinforced through an earnest voiceover) is simply to show a coming-of-age tale with all its emotional complexities and uncertainties, and to that extent it’s reasonably successful.
Meanwhile, there are numerous beautifully filmed sequences showing daily life in India, which must surely have been revelationary for viewers at the time. Indeed, Martin Scorsese’s 12-minute discussion of seeing the film as a child and the enormous impact it had on him is quite touching and worth seeking out, either on the DVD or on YouTube.
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments: