Ralph and Annabell Willart are a feuding couple who are constantly bickering over their worthless, good-for nothing son Berry-Berry. When Berry-Berry begins yet another meaningless love ... See full summary »
Eva Marie Saint,
Harry is a married writer who has an affair with a woman whose husband knows that she is unfaithful. As a result of his work, Harry has trouble distinguishing between fantasy and reality ... See full summary »
Lt. Commander Finchhaven, a ghostly relic from the First World War, he had fallen down dead drunk on his first assignment and been consigned from the great beyond to sail the seas until a ... See full summary »
In the poor, desolate northern provinces of the mountainous feudal Sunni kingdom of Afghanistan (before the Soviet-engineered republican revolutions), the status of the proud men and their ... See full summary »
On a 4th of July weekend, three barnstorming skydivers arrive to perform in a small Kansas town. They are hosted by the youngest member Webson's aunt, the unhappily married Elizabeth. While Browdy one-nights with a topless dancer, a doomed romance flares up between Elizabeth and Rettig. Tension builds, and explodes with a spectacular skydiving show. Written by
The skydiving equipment the Gypsy Moths use in the film was sport parachuting state-of-the-art for the late 1960's. The three jumpers' personal gear consisted of Para-Commander main parachutes in "Piggyback" containers and harnesses made by the Pioneer Parachute Company, Pioneer jumpsuits, Bell helmets, Altimaster wrist altimeters, and French-designed and manufactured "Paraboots". The goggles they wore were a commercially-available type identical to the Polaroid M-1944 military goggle, their light gloves a commonly-available work or trucker's driving glove. See more »
During the parachute jump that opens the film, the Gypsy Moths jump from the exact same plane flown by the same pilot they meet and hire - supposedly for the first time - in another town several days later. See more »
John Frankenheimer's drama of itinerant skydivers intersecting with small town doldrums is heavy on atmosphere but frustratingly ambiguous in its storytelling.
Not having read James Drought's source novel, it's hard to say just what went wrong here. Perhaps in an attempt to avoid conventional melodramatics, adapter William Hanley's script was kept as low-key and naturalistic as possible, to the extent that all of the silences and unspoken words end up conveying practically nothing of the characters' motivations beyond a kind of inchoate yearning. Usually I'm all for scripts that don't shout and scream, that rather rely on subtlety and restraint, but this one is so elliptical that its own best intentions are undermined. The ending seems flat and pointless. Yes, a death has occurred, but has anyone in the story really changed?
It's particularly frustrating given the talent involved. Stars Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr, with support from younger players like Scott Wilson, Gene Hackman, and Bonnie Bedelia, give strong and convincing portrayals. Add to that some remarkable aerial photography of skydiving derring-do -- plus a love scene which features the beautiful Ms. Kerr's bare breasts -- and you probably won't feel you've wasted 2 hours. But if only there were more.
Not a 'lost treasure' of Frankenheimer's, Lancaster's and Kerr's careers, but an intriguing, minor footnote.
14 of 19 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this