Film adaptation of Anton Chekhov's story of life in rural Russia during the latter part of the 19th century. An aging actress Arkidana pays summer visits to her brother Sorin and son ... See full summary »
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Spanning nearly 40 years from 1925 to 1964, two Texas farm boys; straight-arrow Gid and laid-back Johnny fight over the affections of the beautiful and headstrong Molly Taylor, who ... See full summary »
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Michel Legrand composed the first score for this film, but it was rejected in favor of a score by John Barry, aided by Don Walker. When it was first aired on U.S. television, the CBS network had Barry and Walker's score replaced with a completely new score by Stu Phillips. Only the music by Barry and Walker is heard on the film today. See more »
Anyone familiar with Sidney Lumet's best work (Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Network, etc.) will know of his meticulous attention to character depth and plot detail. The Appointment has none of this. Rather than tell a story, Lumet instead takes his shot at making a stylish Europeanish sort of art film complete with sullen close-ups, high-angle shots and carefully constructed compositions- perhaps just to see if he could do it. Some of it comes off rather well- I liked the longshot of Omar Sharif trudging dutifully away down a hospital corridor while two nuns hurry in the other direction, and a sequence at a fashion show that features a cluster of models dashing in and out in various costume changes and hair styles including one in the flapping and swaying of butterflies is almost worthy of Fellini. Almost. On the other hand, a shot of the two lovers in a field pulled back and upward into the high distance until the couple is drowned out by the island they're on goes on too long and is less effective. I wonder what Lumet is trying to accomplish there by obscuring the lovers and placing the entirety of the island squarely within the picture frame.
There is very little dialogue in the film; everything is inferred and gently disturbing. I think Sharif and Anouk Aimee are fine in their roles, but what is a little off-putting is the coldness and sterility of the affair and their movements, even during passionate scenes. When the tragic moment occured toward the end, I felt nothing. I give Lumet an A for effort and I must admit I was fascinated by the whole thing but fascination doesn't neccessarily equal enjoyment. This movie puts me in mind of Woody Allen's Interiors for all its emotional distance. And as Woody himself once said about Interiors, "it's an interesting failure."
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