The morning of a small town Labor Day picnic, a drifter (Hal Carter) blows into town to visit an old fraternity buddy (Alan Benson) who also happens to be the son of the richest man in town. Hal is an egocentric braggart - all potential and no accomplishment. He meets up with Madge Owens, the town beauty queen and girlfriend of Alan Benson. Written by
Erik L. Ellis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
William Holden didn't want to do the dance sequence with Kim Novak, fearing it would make him look foolish. He told co-star Cliff Robertson, "I just don't know how to dance." Hoping to persuade the studio to cut the dance scene, Holden insisted on being paid an $8,000 "stuntman premium." To his surprise, the studio paid up and Holden was forced to do the dance scene, although he was allowed to do it under the influence of alcohol. In that scene, he is actually intoxicated, and it still remains one of only four movies that he ever danced in (the others being Sabrina (1954), Dear Ruth (1947) and Sunset Blvd. (1950)), and one of the most memorable scenes in the movie. See more »
Holden's hairstyle changes during the pondside confession scene with Novak. See more »
If she loses her chance when she's young, she might as well throw all her prettiness away.
I'm only 19.
And next summer you'll be 20, and then 21, and then 40.
You don't have to be morbid.
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I like the surface simplicity of this movie, beneath which lie important questions: Can we be free of our ancestors' demons? Can love between two emotionally crippled people be healthy?
Madge and Hal are -- probably tragically - made for each other. Each is a product of a broken home. Each wants to create a life worth living, despite family history, circumstances, and friends who expect little of them. My heart goes out to both of them. (The sad truth is that Madge's mother's warning will probably come true.)
I love the ambiguity of the movie's ending. I read that William Inge (or was it the screenwriter?) had originally had Madge return to her five and dime deadend job. I much prefer the ending that Mr. Logan chose.
Alcohol ought to be listed in the cast credits. It plays a big role at the picnic, and the effects of parental alcoholism pervade Hal's and Madge's lives.
Roz Russell the town schoolmarm and Howard the shopkeeper provide delightfully lighthearted counterpoints.
No car crashes, no karate. Just a simple story, simple setting, and timeless questions.
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