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|Index||18 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"A Rage to Live" had beautiful, haunting theme music which crept in at
just the right moments. The story of Grace Caldwell, a beautiful young
girl with a "problem," not unlike most men, everywhere, she loved sex
and had no control over her actions. She was a nympho.
Women like Grace are scorned and hated by other women, because men are so drawn to her type -- women who crave sex just like men. There wasn't a lot of "dating and cat and mouse" with a girl like Grace. A brief look into her eyes and the next stop was the bedroom.
Personally, I felt sorry for Grace after her marriage to Bradford Dillman and the birth of her child. She seemed truly happy. Into her life walks Ben Gazzara, with a bulging crotch and sexy Italian bravado. Much too much for Grace to resist, especially when he tells her that he has the hots for her. Obviously, Grace is not getting the KIND of sex she craves: cheap, tawdry, motel sex with strange men. Well, that's what she got with Ben, but he was mentally "off" and easily fell in love with Caldwell. Trying to break off the affair with Gazarra, she tells him, "You knew what this was. I have a husband and child that I love." His response, of course, is to call her a "dirty slut" and a "rotten, filthy whore!"
Ben is not the only man that is after Grace. Every man she comes across "knows" her and "her kind." Unfortunately, it's difficult for her to say "no." Even on a vacation with her mother, who has a bad heart, Grace sneaks out in the middle of the night to have tawdry sex with a hotel worker. She copulates with a college buddy of her brother's, plus, it was insinuated that she had "entertained" other men.
The ending is sad, especially because her husband deserts her after a drunken, jealous wife accuses Grace of "sleeping" with her husband (Peter Graves.) After calling Grace a "tramp," the woman breaks down in tears and tells Bradford that her husband "admitted it!!!"
Susanne Pleshette was wonderful. Her performance was as good as any other actress's in 1965, certainly better than Liz Taylor's in 1960's "Butterfield 8." Perhaps if Grace had been a prostitute, the role would have been more appealing to the Academy. They just LOVE giving Oscars to actresses who play ladies of the evening. Nymphomania, obviously, is too strong for their coffee.
Too bad Susanne didn't become a major movie star -- she certainly had the looks and the talent.
I'd love to have this on DVD. And, that THEME music was lovely.
I really love this movie. Grace Caldwell is the ultimate bad girl, tries to turn her life around, but is crushed in the end. Nothing like the book, A Rage To Live was considered racy for the 60's. Suzanne Pleshette acted her heart out. I've been waiting for years for this to come out on video; in fact, I haven't even seen it on TV for several years.
This is an attempt to duplicate the success of BUTTERFIELD 8, another O'Hara novel adaptation about nymphomania which starred Elizabeth Taylor in an Oscar-winning performance. Here Suzanne Pleshette struggles mightily with her compulsion. She loves men and she loves sex with men. Despite her honesty about her inability to control her compulsion, all around her are so willing to denounce her and call her "slut", but no one is willing to understand her or truly love her, despite her problem. This tried to be a morality film but we wind up hating the society around her with its jealousy, its smugness and its hypocrisy, and we care about Grace (well played by Pleshette) and her happiness. So its purpose sort of backfires with modern audiences. The Costume Design was nominated for an Oscar - we don't know why - the contemporary clothing of the women is attractive but never outstanding. It DID deserve Oscar noms (but did not get them) for excellent black and white Panavision cinematography and an equally excellent dramatic score by Nelson Riddle. An aborning drama with a surprise twist at the end - sort of a take on the boy who cried wolf. Worth a look.
A Rage to Live (1965)
A fabulous movie, well written, beautifully filmed and acted, intense and fast and beautiful, a real dramatic drama. And Suzanne Pleshette as the star is an astonishment, subtle and sharp and exactly what her part demands as the rich and sexually charged girl in a sleepy Pennsylvania town. Her two main men, played by Ben Gazzara and Bradford Dillman, are right on as well, and throw in Peter Graves as a third man in her life, and you get the range of characters and a sense of the plot. Yes, she's pulled by a handsome guy whether it's her husband or not.
And yet she never comes off to me as the "tramp" that some call her. She's warm and generous and seems to just be living her life as a nice person, even regretting her slipping off the straight and narrow now and then. The town's reaction is startling and believable. A really fabulous situation, a soap opera of sorts, but given a wonderful sense of form and pace and eventually high drama.
Director Walter Grauman is not a household name of course, and he directed mainly television, but he makes this a very slick and powerful production. The second half, especially, where Gazzara and Pleshette have a lot of screen time together, develops emotionally. Yes, the turns and conflicts are not total surprises, but they're well placed. Gazzara might be familiar to some for his role in "Anatomy of a Murder" across from Jimmy Stewart. Pleshette had a career with few great movies, but she did appear (second to Tippy Hedron) in "The Birds."
A vastly underrated movie, coming just a year or so before the big shift in styles and "New Hollywood." It's widescreen black and white, quite a treat to watch on every level. I guarantee it'll rise in value over the next decade.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
***SPOILERS*** The movie "A Rage to Live" is based on a John O'Hara
novel about a young socialite Grace Cardwell, Suzanne Pleshette,who
just can't stay away from men to the point where she's practically
ostracized from her high society circles by an outraged group of
parents who's sons she's accused of "corrupting". Grace's widowed mom
Emily Cardwell, Carmen Mathews, tries to deal with her daughters
problems and after a very emotionally packed exchange that ended with
Grace telling her mom that she'll always be with her and try to make
her proud of being her daughter her mom collapses in the living room
from a stroke. Trying to live a normal life with sex only when she's
married for Grace wasn't easy but for her mom's sake she tried as hard
as she could.
One night when they were both on vacation Grace snuck out of their hotel room and has a tryst with one of the busboys. When she came back later that night she found, to her great shock, her mom dead on the floor from a heart attack. Grace holding herself responsible for her mom's death. Even though her mothers doctor Dr. O'Brien, James Gregory, told her that her mom had a very weak heart and that her night out with the busboy had nothing to do with her death. Later she finally found the man of her dreams Sidney Tate, Bradford Dillman, a stock turned real estate broker from San Francisco. Telling him the truth about herself, her wild life-style that she long ago abandoned, only impressed Sidney even more because of her honesty and married her and had a child, a boy, with him.
Everything was going swell until contractor Roger Bannon, Ben Gazzara, came over to the house to fix the barn. Roger had a crush on Grace ever since he met her some five years ago and now out of the army and working for himself wanted her to light the torch that he held for her all those years. Forcing himself on Grace she gave in and had an affair with him but later tried to break it off which led Roger to go insane. One night he get very drunk with a hooker at a motel and almost killed her. Screaming Grace's name and what a tramp she is, Roger thought that Grace left him for handsome news editor Jack Hollister, Peter Graves, he runs out of the motel and drives his truck into a tree killing himself. Hollister who tried to have an affair with Grace but was kindly rebuffed by her feels guilty about the whole mess and it makes his wife Amy, Bethel Leslie, suspect that he's having an affair with Grace and that drives her to drink and almost kill herself.
All this leads to where Grace's husband Sidney finds out about her affair with Roger in the newspaper and leaves her. Sidney later changes his mind when Grace tells him that the affair with Roger was only a more or less one night stand and that was the only time that she cheated on him. The movie ends at a social gathering with an almost unbearable confrontation with Amy and Grace where she accuses Grace of stealing her husband Jack. Grace's stunned husband Sidney present at the scene took away the gun that Amy pulled out and tried to shoot herself with then walking away from Grace, with their baby boy, and from out of her life forever. Grace in the end is left a broken and crying women who lost everything that she loved in the world. I found the film "A Rage to Live" not sleazy at all even though it's subject matter was highly explosive in the sleaze department. The writing directing and acting, especially that of young Miss. Pleshette, made the movie both touching and interesting without the sensationalism that you would have expected from a movie like the movie that it was.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A rather sordid topic is given a mostly tasteful, if daring for its time, treatment in this adaptation of a John O'Hara novel. Pleshette plays a young girl who, whether purposeful or not, attracts men to her like bees to honey and decides it's something she likes. Her post adolescence is spent canoodling with boys in the backseats of cars or on family room sofas, much to the concern of her faint-hearted mother Matthews. She starts to skirt scandal when boy-toy Goddard's mother Somers catches them making out, but is redeemed by the love of optimistic and caring college man Dillman. After a rough start, they make a go of things until a) hirsute engineer Gazzara sets his sights on her and b) dignified, but badly-married Graves starts to fancy her as well. Plenty of complications ensue until the melodramatic and ironic ending comes about. Pleshette, while preposterous as a high school student in the early sequences, gives a passionate and sensitive performance, achieving the near impossible which is eliciting sympathy for a reckless nymphomaniac. She looks terrific in her (Oscar-nominated) Howard Shoup gowns and the black and white cinematography loves her eyes. She deftly portrays the sensational fact that her character has a sexual disorder and finds it hard to resist the liaisons. Dillman is also very good, aptly conveying the sensitive and disgusted colors of his role. His hair is lighter than usual (perhaps to contrast with the raven-tressed leading lady?) Gazzara is convincingly obsessive and brutish, not to mention seductive. Graves hasn't got a whole lot to do and doesn't do a whole lot with it. He would soon move on to the career-defining role of Mr. Phelps on "Mission: Impossible." Leslie, as his wife, exhibits unexpected levels of despair, though she comes more than close to unintentional comedy at times. Matthews (who, coincidentally, played Dina Merrill's mom in the film of O'Hara's "BUtterfield 8") is appropriately weary and worried. Gregory pops up as the family doctor, dispensing some interesting and amusing advice when it comes to teen love. Goddard is adorably sniveling. Like Graves, he too would soon be performing his most iconic role on TV's "Lost in Space." Furth, a Broadway fixture, has a small role as Dillman's pal. Christine, as Matthews' maid, was the well-known Folger's coffee spokeswoman in the 70's and Somers, of course, became a staple panelist on "Match Game" several years after this. One can't help feeling that this is a cousin to the earlier "BUtterfield 8", but it's different enough to retain its own level of interest. If this had been filmed in color, it may be better known than it is as many black and white films fell out of favor when it came to TV airings as color TV became prominent in the late 60's. However, the already dicey subject matter may have come across as lurid (by the day's standards) in color. The opening credits feature a striking instrumental title number by Ferrante & Teicher as the names are displayed amongst various rural settings (politely placing the black print against white items like barns or covered bridges or sky, etc ) It's no earth-shaking piece of cinema, but it's interesting for its period approach to sex and captivating thanks to its name cast and the stalwart performance of its leading actress.
I thought that "A Rage To Live" was a fine -yet tragic- portrayal of a nymphomaniac (Suzanne Pleshette) struggling to find personal identity outside of the bedroom, auto backseat, etc. Also, the meaning & outer realms of "love" and how it factors into a one-sided, non-monogamous marriage. Ben Gazzara's character is very dark; a hard-working Irishman who desires material wealth as well as the flesh. There are several story lines that branch from Pleshette's infidelities, one of which brings a psychologically tragic aspect to the film. A feminist approach to this film might suggest that all of the other women in the film were overly (yet appropriately for the times) supportive of their husbands alone, living or deceased. Pleshette's character felt the need to find her true self with the help of emotional love, given to her for the first time by her husband. She constantly admits to having a "problem that she is embarrassed about", however she seeks no real counsel or help. Pleshette almost appears too aware of her faults yet acts baffled when she is caught. Her character is too assuming of others' forgiveness, using the age-old "I said I was sorry" routine almost every time. The "encounters" are subtle and portrayed very tactfully as well, I suppose because it was still the 1960's; I would hate for this film to be remade because I'm sure that some of the scenes would have overblown sexual situations.
This is soap opera pure and simple about a woman who in more enlightened times would have been viewed as a person with a crippling disorder that would require treatment but for our purposes here is a wanton slut. Suzanne Pleshette was a superior actress so she is able within the confines of the script to present her character as someone who is ruled by urges she can not control. There are minor attempts at some insight into her problem but they are quickly tossed away in favor of sensationalism. Good supporting cast including in a small role a rare on screen role for Brett Somers Klugman from Match Game. For those who enjoy trashy cinema with quality actors enacting silly situations with earnest professionalism.
Grace Caldwell differs from the usual "bad girl" in that she's not trading sex for money, social advancement, etc. Nor is she detached from a "normal" life of home and family. Rather she is an intelligent wife & mother who has a fling on the side just because she's horny, in the manner expected of men. A good film with strong performances by Suzanne Pleshette as Grace & Ben Gazarra as her lover.
I caught "A Rage to Live" on the fly while switching channels. The film
was not very good. I thought it was a lower-grade version of the lush,
trashy, morality tales like Butterfield 8. (Both movies were based on
novels by John O'Hara.) Suzanne Pleshette does her best as the
nymphomaniac who tries to overcome her insatiable appetite towards men.
What got to me while watching this movie was how many of these actors appeared in other TV programs. Starting with Ms. Pleshette (The Bob Newhart Show) Bradford Dillman, who plays Pleshette's husband (according to IMDb, he's appeared in over 90 TV programs), Ben Gazzara (Run for Your Life), Peter Graves (Mission: Impossible), Mark Goddard (Lost In Space), James Gregory (Barney Miller), Virginia Christie (Mrs. Olsen in the Folger's Crystals coffee commercials of the 60s and 70s), and, in an uncredited role, Brett Somers (Match Game, The Odd Couple). Even director Walter Grauman is known in television as a workhorse. He's credited with directing over 200 television movies and shows.
In the end, I did not have much fun watching this turgid drama but it was lot of fun playing TV trivia.
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