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US Army Major Weldon Penderton is stationed on a base in the American south. He and his wife Leonora Penderton are in an unsatisfying marriage. Weldon is generally a solitary man who in his time alone tries to bolster his self image as he feels less than adequate as a man and a major. He does not want to viewed like Captain Murray Weincheck, who has been bypassed for promotion time and time again solely because he is seen as being too sensitive. Self absorbed Leonora, when not focused on her passion of horses and riding, tries to maintain the facade of being what she sees an officer's wife should be while she carries on an affair with their next door neighbor, married Colonel Morris Langdon. Morris' wife, Alison Langdon, suffered a nervous breakdown three years ago after miscarrying, she still with that nervous constitution. Alison is generally drawn toward sensitive types, such as Captain Weincheck and their faithful flamboyant Filipino houseboy, Anacleto. Peripheral to the ... Written by
The role of Major Penderton was extremely physically demanding, and the insurance company underwriting the production required proof that star Montgomery Clift was fit enough for the role, after his years of illness. Clift's long-time friend Elizabeth Taylor committed her large salary as insurance in order to secure Clift for the role. Clift subsequently died of a heart attack before filming began, and the role went to Marlon Brando. See more »
Although movie is set in 1940s, all of Elizabeth Taylor's hairstyles, makeup and wardrobe are right out of mid-Sixties. See more »
A Murder Was Committed on an Army Post in the Deep South..........
Reflections in a Golden Eye came out at an interesting transitional period for gay people. The Code that had dominated what could and could not be shown on the screen was just being lifted. That Code had succeeded in making gay people all but invisible by Hollywood standards. But it was two years before the Stonewall Rebellion which gave the gay rights movement a political voice.
Originally Montgomery Clift was scheduled to do this film with three time screen partner Elizabeth Taylor, but Clift died before the film started shooting. Marlon Brando took his place and in my opinion gave a very underrated performance as the repressed latent homosexual Major married to Elizabeth Taylor.
Brando and Taylor dusted off a couple of southern accents previously used in films, Brando from Sayonara and Taylor from Raintree County. But the characters here are vastly different from the characters portrayed in both of those other films.
Although certainly given Clift's background he was eminently qualified to play a repressed gay man, I'm not sure he would have been the type to have played an authority figure like Major Penderton here. Brando was far more the type. The part of the wife was Taylor made for Liz and she went to town with it.
I wonder what those people who want to keep gays out of the military would say about Brando. Brando's burgeoning homosexuality is finding an outlet in a raging crush on a handsome private played by Robert Forster. Forster during his off hours likes to walk and ride horses in the buff and sneaks into Brando's house to play with Liz Taylor's lingerie. Liz is having an affair with Brando's immediate superior Brian Keith who has an invalid and mentally disturbed wife in Julie Harris. And Harris spends most of her time with her very effeminate Filipino houseboy, Zorro David.
Of course this is a recipe for tragedy and tragedy does come. Author Carson McCullers, herself a lesbian, created some unforgettable characters here.
Reflections in a Golden Eye was way before its time. Today the film and Director John Huston would have gotten far better reviews than the film did in 1967.
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