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Alan J. Pakula
Since childhood, spinster Alma Winemiller has loved handsome young Dr. John Buchanan, Jr.. But John has fallen hard for Rosa Zacharias, the town's sultry vamp, and descends into a seamy nightlife while ignoring Alma's dreams of romance and possible marriage. Written by
SUMMER AND SMOKE has long been one of my favorite films, as I love Tennessee Williams, and loved Geraldine Page after seeing her in this brilliant, Oscar-nominated performance.Page captures all the poignancy and need of longing and loneliness, and Williams spells it out in lyricism. Page's monologue near the end will tear your heart out, and the final fade-out will give you chills. Tennessee Wlliams is as much of a poet as he is a dramatist, and the screenplay captures some of his best bon mots. For example,in a conversation between John Buchanan and Alma in the movie, John (Laurence Harvey) describes her heart as "that little red fist that keeps knocking, knocking at the big, black door." Or, Alma's mad, kleptomaniac mother (Una Merkel)can't put a jigsaw puzzle together, and , in a panic, cries, "The pieces don't fit! The pieces don't fit!" Also made in 1961 was another Williams work, THE ROMAN SPRING OF MRS STONE, starring Vivien Leigh which I recommend highly.I certainly wish SUMMER AND SMOKE would be released on DVD!
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