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I watched this film recently for the first time in over 30 years and was very pleasantly surprised. I remembered a film that caught the mood and feel of Britain in the mid 1960s without falling into the 'Swinging Britain' clichés that so many other films thought they had to propagate, my memory proved correct. Those who feel that this is like a TV play are not entirely wrong but while Andrea Newman was to become famous for risqué TV drama, this film is more in the tradition of the 'kitchen-sink'films such as 'Saturday Night And Sunday Morning' but with an emphasis on middle-class rather than working-class life. Rod Steiger is excellent as the middle-aged angst-ridden lead, unhappily married to a repressed and apparently barren wife (Claire Bloom). The onset of the 'Technological Revolution' is the the backdrop for the drama in which old values and certainties are challenged. This is the stage for the central character played by Judy Geeson, a role which at the time was a shocking departure from the typical prim behaviour of contemporary heroines. The reversal of roles, with the girl rating her conquests in a little-black-book was a precursor to the Feminist movement and was criticised at the time for promoting promiscuity among young girls. The irony of these criticisms is to be seen in both Claire Bloom's and Peggy Ashcroft's characters who are both acceptingly dissatisfied. Peter Hall made few films and on this evidence that is a great shame. Steiger is exemplary and wholly credible showing why he was so highly regarded
The original cut of this very fine movie may well be lost but if you ever get the chance to see it, you should. It is not dreary or miserable, as other people have said, it is a slice of reality. Rod Steiger and Claire Bloom prove their acting credentials here, both put in great performances. Judy Geeson plays her part to perfection. You have to remember that this movie was made in in 1969 and released in 1970. With that in mind, it is easy to understand where this movie is coming from. So far as I know there is no video or DVD release plannned fo this classic. Write to Universal and demand a DVD release.
I saw this film back in the early 70's and I was mesmerised by Judy
Geeson. For me it captured the clandestine nature of Rod Steigers
irrepressible obsession with the young and extremely sexy hitch hiker,
played by Geeson.
You couldn't help feel a little sorry for the wife, played brilliantly by Claire Bloom. I was really disappointed to see that the original cut may have been lost and there is little chance of it being released on DVD.
I defy anyone who saw the film, and it's strong message not to be equally absorbed by the three main character performances, and I would have loved to have seen it again, if nothing else for a purely nostalgic reason.
Going back in time, some 35 years.
A real classic.
Perhaps because "Three Into Two Won't Go" was written by a woman (Edna O'Brien), based upon Andrea Newman's novel, it has a distinctly (and cuttingly) female point of view on the after-effects of an extra-marital affair. 43-year-old advertising executive in England is unhappily married to a former teacher; she's anxious over the pricey new home they've bought, and unhappy that she and her husband can't have children (and that he isn't enthusiastic about adoption). He picks up a comely hitchhiker one morning and unassumingly checks into a hotel room with her, but after a second tryst the young woman shows up on his doorstep and befriends the Mrs. Complex character-study begins with some frisky interplay, yet in the second-half becomes a sobering drama of tangled lives. Rod Steiger is so engaging when he's playing a randy sort that it's a bit of a let-down to see the scenario turn into an elongated marital complication (with the scheming hitchhiker pregnant/not pregnant). Still, Rod is wonderful trying to sort out the prickly emotions and feelings of both his wife and his mistress, and both women are intriguing, three-dimensional characters. For those expecting a sexy comedy, the pointed shift toward melodrama won't be a satisfying turn. However, this change in tone does allow for several truths about marriage (and in-laws) to come to the fore, and the final confrontation is downbeat but extremely well-considered. A smart, adult movie about decent people making questionable choices, and how those decisions touch everyone else. **1/2 from ****
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw this film twice in the few months following its release in 1969,
when I was 16. I haven't seen it since, therefore this review is based
on my long term memory which I'm glad to say is pretty good where it
The storyline of married man Steve Howard getting caught up in an affair with a younger girl was convincing and is more so now given my greater life experience. The results on Howard's marriage are pretty profound.
The dilemma faced by Howard and his wife goes to the root of a relationship and is one that many adults will easily identify with and for me that is why this film should be re-released. It is an 'everyman' movie with themes and messages that are as relevant today, more than 40 years after release, as they were then.
Rod Steiger's performance was brilliant, playing the part of a man in a tired childless relationship caught out by a young woman who fuels his ego and self esteem. This leads to a brief but ultimately devastating affair. The clincher is Steiger's ability to play a complex character with such understated conviction. Claire Bloom's character was overshadowed a bit by Judy Geeson's flighty but powerful and manipulative role. But the mix was great, well cast and successful, evidenced by the fact I have never forgotten the film and the emotions it raised in me then and many times since.
If anyone knows where I can get a copy on videotape or better still on DVD, I'd love to hear from them.
Many accuse Rod Steiger of overacting, and anyone who has seen the
Amityville Horror and the 'fly' section would struggle to say
otherwise. That said, he's brilliant in this.
It's never on TV, you can't buy it on DVD (legitimately). In 1988, when Channel 4 still had a prescription for innovation, they showed this amongst a small amalgam of 60s films, Privilege etc - and I remember an essentially theatrical experience, transposed well to film. The great thing about theatre is it's enclosed - how do you make it available and interesting on screen? PH just about pulls it off. Because this sort of film is never even on cable or Sky TV anywhere it's hard to get a debate going, but for anyone out there who has seen it or can remember, my memories are of a forthright, almost strident performance by Sally Geeson 'thats all taken care of' (which eschews the almost diffident general performances of her and her sibling in many early 70s offerings) she says ref conception. There are several of these - key lines you remember years, decades on. That's the power of a film like this.
PS I just saw it again and its just as good. One day, TV too will be enlightened.
This was a film I saw when it first came out. I have to be honest that
after so many.... many years a great deal of the film is lost from my
memory. I am sure though, that this was the film in which the use of a
camera circling about two subjects was the best I have ever seen. My
friend and I looked at each other at the end and nodded that we had to
see the scene again so we stayed and watched.
The dialogue must have been so clever to match how the camera moved slowly around the two actors, drawing the viewer from one characters thoughts to the other. Generally now, this technique is just a technique without any real purpose. It was moving imaginative, questioning...I became a psychiatric nurse! It should be seen by everyone interested in great writing, directing, acting and camera work. Brilliant.
As a single mother in the 60's, this film has me hurtling back into
that era...it is beautifully portrayed and Judy G. plays the cool
wanton girl wonderfully.
It exudes an ambiance and is one of the few films I want to watch several times. Every time I feel nostalgic I dip into the video shelf and slip into those powerful wonderful 60's days!
Claire Bloom plays the suffering wife and childless woman so well, we feel the hollow in her own life. She is also trying to juggle her mother's demands with her own disillusionment regarding her marriage. The new 60's style home seems to emphasize the emptiness of her relationship with her husband. The freedom of Judy's character and the carelessness of her regard for "the baby" is in direct contrast to the hopes of Claire, in this regard.
It's so seventies. I can even smell it like before the rain. A silent cold war that brought back all my life before my eyes again. And in the end everything goes up in flames like a volcano. It's real, because I watched it before and it was no movie. Brilliant, exceptional performance. And Claire Bloom. There I must stop. I am too small for such a great show. She does not need to talk even. Her eyes are saying a thousand words. Absolutely wonderful. This is the fifteenth film where I had the privilege of watching her performance. This is the fifteenth time where she is a completely different person. Even her voice is changed. Terry, Lady Anne, Barsine, Theodora ... and down on earth again with such pain, kindness and anger. Claire Bloom ...
This drama is OK, nothing more, but it features a rather depressing
storyline. Married man meets, beds, and impregnates a drifter, and we see
the impact on his marriage.
Added note: Try to rent the video. When NBC showed the movie on commercial television, the network added additional scenes featuring a social worker looking for the drifter, and the man's co-workers. These scenes are not outtakes from the original movie that NBC restored, but new scenes that NBC filmed and added to make clearer the backgrounds of the characters. They are unnecessary and rather insulting to the audience that the network felt they needed to "improve" the movie.
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