In this version of Henry James' novella "Daisy Miller", a young, bright and bubbly 19th Century American girl on her Grand Tour of Europe meets a fellow American, Frederick Winterbourne. Winterbourne is shocked by Daisy's modern behavior toward life, and spends his time with her trying to figure out if she's having innocent fun or on the path to becoming a fallen woman. Along the way, Winterbourne's judgment is helped and hindered by the other people in Daisy's life. Is Daisy really naive or naughty? Written by
Rebecca J. Burke
Director Peter Bogdanovich initially planned on playing the role of Winterbourne himself opposite his then-girlfriend Shepard, with Orson Welles taking on the duties of director. However, when Welles declined, Bogdanovich decided to direct the picture instead. See more »
Annie P. 'Daisy' Miller:
I'm a terrible, frightful flirt. Did you ever hear of a nice girl that wasn't? But now I guess you'll tell me I'm not a nice girl.
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Daisy Miller became a sabotage job by the very inclusion and insistence of Cybil Shepard as Daisy. As maybe the choice of Cloris Leachman as her mother proves to be eccentric if not slightly erroneous, there is nothing more damning to what could have been a wonderful literary adaptation. Peter Bogdonavich often does not know how to do his job, that is direct. I offer the example of Cher's repeated refusal and head butting against his, to turn her tour-de-force as Rocky Denis' mother in "Mask", to a simpering, gutless wonder. Man was he wrong then as he was wrong with this picture in particular. The religious adherence to accuracy hampers the actors and the film's own creativity and prevents any beefing up where it would have greatly paid to do so. I ,in instance, refer to the brilliantly talented actor Barry Brown as Winterbourne. He's the romantic male lead but is practically made a eunuch in this film, no doubt because Pete was serenading the starlet with his camera all for himself, that no amount of screen ability could have facilitated Barry to have cut into what was obviously a three's a crowd. His scenes with REAL ACTRESSES, Eileen Brennan and Mildred Natwick, display different sides to his character's character and he does this beautifully; the sharp fine line of snobbery, dutiful nephew, and feckless Continental anti-hero. He is all the while completely believable and damned likable, practically the only heart in the whole cadre of performances. Eileen Brennan is wonderful as cold but not without caring as she fusses over Daisy's refusals at propriety and of course, Mildred Natwick is a feast to watch, as one flicker of her face is meant to speak volumes. I watch it for Barry who deserved a thousand times better than this and Ms. Brennan and Ms. Natwick and ignore Cybil as best I can. I recommend for anyone to do the same.
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