|Index||3 reviews in total|
Every once in a while, you catch a gem. I seldom watch TV but happen to catch this performance of Nash's The Rainmaker. The old movie with Katie Hepburn, Cameron Prudhomme, Burt Lancaster, Lloyd Bridges, Wendell Corey and Earl Holliman is a classic. So, I was interested to see how Lonnie Chapman, Tuesday Weld, John Cromwell and the everloving Tommy Lee Jones would do. It was great. Not a weak moment and lots of energy. Tommy Lee had this stick he twirled which together with his gift for banter made him perfect as Starbuck, the conman rainmaker. I especially loved his final scene where he struts in, give his stick a spin and asks for his $100.00. A fine performance of a great play by a strong cast. Lonnie Chapman, a solid actor cast in bit parts from his debut in the Sinatra/Doris Day musical and memorable as the irate father in The Reivers turns in a solid performance as does the consistent Cromwell in one of his pre-Babe roles. William Katt as the hormone-struck younger brother, chaffing under his older brother's control is fine too, as is Tuesday Weld, whom we see little of since her teenie bopper days as a cutie-pie. All in all, a great piece of entertainment.
I love this play and had seen several different stage and film versions, but never quite understood why Lizzie struggled so desperately with the choice of whether to run away with a sleazy con man, likable or not Or stay and marry a wonderful man who obviously adored her, had a good job and could give her a good life -- that is, until I saw Tommy Lee Jones play the part! I wanted to run away with him, too! He mastered that role as no one else has! I agree that Tuesday Weld was not the best choice for Lizzie, but watching Mr. Jones BE the Rainmaker is worth it! Acting students take note!! Tommy Lee Jones made all the same words Burt Lancaster said come out different. Perhaps the kudos go to the director as well, but Finally I found a Starbuck I want to run away with!
I saw this TV production of the classic American play 2 or 3 years after it was made and was struck by one major, inescapable, inexcusable flaw: it contained the single worst piece of casting I had ever seen. Tuesday Weld is simply incapable of playing a spinster. There isn't enough make-up in Hollywood to make that beauty unattractive. The subtle, hidden qualities of feminine beauty that Lizzie is meant to discover slowly as the play progresses are all flagrant and obvious in Weld from the git-go. Her polish and confidence cannot be concealed or denied at any time on any level thus rendering her character unbelievable. Katherine Hepburn had a bony enough face and an odd enough personality to pull it off in the movie version. Weld can't. As a result the plot seemed ludicrous, the theme, the message lost. A sad waste of talent and performances.
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