A handsome and successful young doctor returns to his home town in New England to see his dying friend for one last time. However, his friend wants to die because he is suffering so much ...
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A handsome and successful young doctor returns to his home town in New England to see his dying friend for one last time. However, his friend wants to die because he is suffering so much from his illness, and he manages to convince the doctor to commit euthanasia (a mercy killing) on him. Haunted by what he has done, and troubled further still by other dark secrets from his past, the doctor seeks comfort in the arms of several of the town's lustful women. This leads to even more complications in his life... Written by
Jonathon Dabell <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The "Peyton Place" effect: Richard Burton lost among the brambles
"The Bramble Bush", a melodramatic adaptation of Charles Mergendahl's equally melodramatic novel, begins with a classy credits sequence highlighted by Leonard Rosenman's sexy-menacing score--and then the troubles begin. We get a pretty aerial view of the New England town the story takes place in, but the minute Richard Burton steps off the bus (telling the driver, "Check my bag, I'll pick it up later"), we can see it's the same Warner Bros. backlot from a hundred other movies. Burton visits his parents' graves in the tiny cemetery, with headstones so chintzy I half-expected them to bend in the breeze. Burton plays a "big city doctor," begrudgingly returning to his hometown where his doctor-father was so beloved they named the hospital after him! Burton's presence opens old wounds, has female hearts fluttering, and gets him in hot water with the father of his childhood friend, slowly dying and wanting to be put out of his misery. The phony sets and backdrops aside, the main problem with "The Bramble Bush" is Burton; enunciating as if this were a Shakespearean tragedy, the miscast star is painfully earnest, robotic and virtually expressionless throughout. The other cast members don't fare much better, although Angie Dickinson has a moment or two as a smitten nurse who begs Burton to love her. Director Daniel Petrie's rhythm is thrown off by the editing, which leaves scenes either chopped short or overextended (exposing the actors in the process, Burton in particular). The film is simply Warners' attempt to cash-in on the "Peyton Place" trend: plush potboilers featuring well-heeled mannequins suffering in their estates. But the public knew a stinker when it saw one, and "The Bramble Bush" was a justifiable failure. *1/2 from ****
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