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Honest and hard-working Texas rancher Homer Bannon has a conflict with his unscrupulous, selfish, arrogant and egotistical son Hud, who sank into alcoholism after accidentally killing his brother in a car crash.
Drifter Chance Wayne returns to his hometown after many years of trying to make it in the movies. Arriving with him is a faded film star he picked up along the way, Alexandra Del Lago. ... See full summary »
Sixty-one year old widower Will Varner, in ill health, owns many businesses and property in Frenchman's Bend, Mississippi, including a plantation. To him, his children are a disappointment, they who he sees as not being able to carry on the Varner name in the style to which he has built around it. Son Jody Varner has no ambition and does not work, spending much of his time fooling around with his seductive wife, Eula. Twenty-three year old daughter Clara Varner he finds clever, but he feels she also wastes her time on more contemplative pursuits. While most of her contemporaries are married, Clara has been dating Alan Stewart, a genteel mama's boy, for six years. Will would not mind Alan so much if he too thought Alan had a bit of a forceful man in him, which he could demonstrate by actually asking Clara to marry him. Conversely, Jody laments that nothing he does is ever good enough for his father, while Clara plain does not like the way he treats them. Into their lives comes Ben ... Written by
This is one of the great guilty pleasure movies. Orson Welles, Paul Newman, and Joanne Woodward are all wonderful, and the supporting cast is just fine. The plot is delightfully incoherent, and everyone gets a chance to chew on the scenery. As a big fan of Faulkner, I find the way the screenwriters have jumbled together characters, themes and episodes from various books especially entertaining (although the sensibilities of the characters are more Tennessee Williams, or Tennessee Tuxedo even, than Faulkner, which just adds to the pleasure).
The producer was Jerry Wald, and this has the look and feel that is (at least to me) characteristic of his movies.
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