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. ...
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A no account outlaw establishes his own particular brand of law and order and builds a town on the edges of civilization in this farcical western. With the aid of an old law text and ... See full summary »
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. While trying to get her help to make a screen test, he also finds the time to meet his former girlfriend Heavenly, the daughter of the local politician Tom 'Boss' Finley, who more or less forced him to leave the town many years ago. Written by
SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH may not rate with such Tennessee Williams masterpieces as A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE and CAT ON THE HOT TIN ROOF, but it's still a top flight piece of entertainment capturing A LOT of great acting. As ne'er-do-well Chance Wayne, Paul Newman creates one of the most memorable of the callous, self-serving characters he would play throughout the '60s. Returning to his hometown as a self-anointed hero, he's pathetic. With fallen movie queen Geralding Page in tow, he sets his sight on the girlfriend he corrupted. As Heavenly Finley, Shirley Knight is heartbreaking. Page and Knight play polar opposites --- Page is a vain, desperate diva while Knight is all inner turmoil...in fact she appears to be trying to turn herself inside out from the shame she feels. Ed Begley plays Knight's father, the ruthless and corrupt "Boss" Finley. Begley had a lot of good roles in his long film career, but this takes the cake. He's rotten to the core. The film is mostly studio bound, but that only enhances the stylish direction by Richard Brooks. The classy supporting cast includes Rip Torn as Boss Finley's degenerate son, Tom Jr., Mildred Dunnock as Newman's unlikely ally and Madeline Sherwood as a vindictive good-time girl.
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