Loosely based on the William Faulkner novel, this movie follows the lives and passions of the Compsons: a once-proud Southern family now just barely scraping by both financially and ... See full summary »
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Lindsay Armstrong Black,
Loosely based on the William Faulkner novel, this movie follows the lives and passions of the Compsons: a once-proud Southern family now just barely scraping by both financially and emotionally. Howard passes the time in a bottle; his brother Bengy is child in a man's body; sister Caddy has come crawling home after years of being kept by a string of "admirers". Only Jason, the cruel, cold-hearted adopted head of the family, and Quentin, who was abandoned at birth by Caddy, have the fire and the fury needed to put the family back on its feet again. Written by
Watching this adaption of William Faulkner's The Sound And The Fury I can only wonder he must have thought of this abortion of his work. This film seems to have been influenced by Harold Robbins more than Faulkner.
For one thing the novel is a far better subject for a mini-series as it takes place over a couple of generations and is written from several points of view, not the straight linear narrative we get here. Secondly the novel was updated to present day meaning 1959 Mississippi. The civil rights era was on in Mississippi in 1959 and the attitudes expressed here would have been lost in 1959. The novel came out in the late Twenties and some of the action went back a generation earlier.
These Compsons are one dissolute bunch and the only one of the family holding them together is Yul Brynner as Jason because heaven forfend he realizes they're not rich any more and that big mansion has gas and electric bills that need paying. He actually works for a living. The hope of the family may be Joanne Woodward as Quentin who is the illegitimate daughter of the most dissolute of all the Compsons Margaret Leighton.
Leighton has been living away from the family and the genteel Mississippi folks she's been brought up with because of her disgrace with Woodward's birth. But she comes back and that sets off a whole chain of events that causes everyone to reevaluate how things are going for the Compsons.
Ethel Waters did her last role in The Sound And The Fury as the family maid. Her family even in the servile position that blacks had in Mississippi in those days is still stronger than the Compsons even Yul Brynner. Too bad no musical number got worked into the script for her.
The cast is a superbly talented one and they do their best with a hard to recognize Faulkner work, but the film as a whole comes up way short.
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