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Legendary director John Ford's final film involving seven dedicated missionary women in China circa 1935 trying to protect themselves from the advances of a Mongolian barbaric warlord and his cut-throat gang of warriors.
Lilith is a about a mysterious young woman in an elite sanitarium in New England, who seems to weave a magical spell all around her. A restless, but sincere young man with an equally obscure past is seemingly drawn into her web. As time passes, their relationship deepens and intensifies, and the differences between them begin to blur, leading to a shocking, but oddly logical conclusion. Written by
Rhea Worrell <email@example.com>
When the staff and patients are loading up to go on their picnic, one of the cars is a 1959 Ford station wagon. When they arrive at their destination, the car has changed into a 1960 Ford wagon. See more »
How wonderful I feel when I'm happy. Do you think that insanity could be so simple a thing as unhappiness?
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The mental institution in this film, called "Poplar Lodge" I believe, is modeled on Chestnut Lodge, a Bethesda, Maryland institution famed for early attempts to establish interpersonal relationships with (rich) psychotic patients. This fits the institutional style depicted in this film. Hopwever, the main characters do not seem to be mentally ill so much as metaphores for the madness es in our society. The perception that sexual expression represents evil or crazy behavior, not changed all that much from the time this film was made, frequent wars, and the way sensitive people are brushed aside as others hustle toward dubious goals, are all personified as forms of madness. Okay so far.
But the film does not quite work. The character played by Anne Meacham, seething with barely suppressed sexuality, works, but Lilith, played as a golden haired all American, girl next door beauty, doing and saying odd things, making up her own language, seeing herself as an outside observer of our society, is a character which doesn't hit home. She seems more quirky than mad. That she drives men into destructive actions seems somehow unlikely. At the most, she may be a catalyst for their weaknesses to be expressed.
Jean Seberg doesn't personify madness. She seems just bemused. Warren Beatty conveys a lack of inner direction, a developing depression, and strange longings by looking blank, seeming inarticulate, and acting as if he has no idea of the direction his next step will take. All of this slows this film down to a very languid pace, frequently accompanied by a relaxed bop-along jazz score. Thus, the film is too slow, a long windup for a soft pitch. It is hard to feel much tension, even though it is clear that there is supposed to be a lot of tension. Nice try, but no cigar.
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