Remember My Name (1978)

Remember My Name (1978)

“I didn’t cry when you disappeared.”

An ex-con (Geraldine Chaplin) stalks a construction worker (Anthony Perkins) and his wife (Berry Berenson).

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Alan Rudolph Films
  • Anthony Perkins Films
  • Ex-Cons
  • Geraldine Chaplin Films
  • Jeff Goldblum Films

Like his debut, Welcome to L.A. (1977), Alan Rudolph’s second feature received mostly negative reviews upon its release, but remains an interesting failure. It’s essentially a slow-motion “fatal attraction” thriller, with Chaplin’s ex-con making her presence only gradually known to Perkins and Berenson: she tears up flowers in their garden, lurks behind corners, and skulkily follows them around in her beat-up car; we’re kept in suspense about why she’s so intent on making life miserable for this particular couple. Meanwhile, we witness her sparking an uneasy romance with a black handyman (Moses Gunn) in her apartment, and getting a job as a cashier in a grocery store, where she must contend with the suspicious nature of both her boss (Jeff Goldblum) and her co-worker (Alfre Woodard). The overall effect — thanks largely to Chaplin’s focused, sympathetic performance — is mostly absorbing, despite an occasional tendency towards pretension (as when broadcasts about an Eastern European earthquake are shown endlessly on television, for no apparent reason). And it’s nice to see wiry Perkins — performing with his real-life wife, Berry Berenson — cast somewhat against type as the object of Chaplin’s vengeance; given his inevitable association with “Norman Bates”, we’re never quite sure exactly how violent or psychotic he may turn out to be. Unfortunately, despite all these positive elements, the film’s ending doesn’t make much sense, and peters out just when we expect to see things resolved; this is a rare film that should have gone on longer than its 94 minutes, simply to wrap up the loose threads that suddenly emerge. With that said, it’s still worth a look, primarily for Chaplin’s stand-out performance.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Geraldine Chaplin as Emily
  • Anthony Perkins as Neil
  • Fine supporting performances
  • Tak Fujimoto’s cinematography
  • Alberta Hunter’s blues score

Must See?
No, but it’s worth a look for both Chaplin and Perkins.


One thought on “Remember My Name (1978)

  1. Not a must. Another in Rudolph’s series of dull movies. Long on enigmatic mood, short on just about everything else.

    Chaplin says and does a whole lot of uninteresting things in equally uninteresting ways. She’s unsympathetic, bonkers and – as the main person we’re following – annoying. (Partly in her defense, it’s a badly written role.)

    Perkins is a normal hetero this time out and manages some good moments. His real-life wife Berenson gets to act and is so-so.

    Gunn, Goldblum (esp.) and Woodard come off best – tho they have little to do.

    The Hunter songs pretty much all sound alike.

    Almost at the moment ‘RMN’ finally takes a solid turn, it falls completely apart. Boo. Me no like.

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