Film screenwriter Jake Armitage and his wife Jo Armitage live in London with six of Jo's eight children, with the two eldest boys at boarding school. The children are spread over Jo's three... See full summary »
Film screenwriter Jake Armitage and his wife Jo Armitage live in London with six of Jo's eight children, with the two eldest boys at boarding school. The children are spread over Jo's three marriages, with only the youngest being Jake's biological child, although he treats them all as his own. Jo left her second husband Giles after meeting Giles' friend Jake, the two who were immediately attracted to each other. Their upper middle class life is much different than Giles and Jo's, who lived in a barn in the English countryside. But Jo is ruminating about her strained marriage to Jake, with issues on both sides. Jo suspects Jake of chronic infidelity, she only confronting him with her suspicions whenever evidence presents itself. And Jo's psychiatrist believes that Jo uses childbirth as a rationale for sex, which he believes she finds vulgar. These issues in combination have placed Jo in a fragile mental state. They both state that they love the other, but neither really seems to like ... Written by
Patricia Neal was offered the lead, but it was not 100% confirmed she would get the role. She then opted, to her later regret, to make Psyche 59 instead, since it was an official offer. See more »
The long tracking shot near end of film (in which camera begins on Jo smoking in bed, then winds through closeups of mementos in her living room) was shot backward; at beginning of shot smoke is going into her cigarette, not out of it. See more »
There are scenes from this movie that have been burned into my memory for years-- Anne Bancroft being accosted a crazed and lonely housewife while in a beauty parlor, her nervous breakdown in the middle of Harrod's in London, James Mason revealing her husband's infidelity to her cruelly while having tea at the zoo-- The Pumpkin Eater is one of my favorite movies. Anne Bancroft never gave a better performance-- she is startlingly good-- plus the excellent Harold Pinter screenplay and the brilliant direction of Jack Clayton-- this film is an eloquent essay on isolation and emptiness among other things. I recommend this film to all serious students of acting, writing, and directing.
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