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It's the early 1960s. Nuclear engineer Hank Marshall is a major in the US Army, he who works on top secret nuclear testing projects. Trouble follows him from posting to posting largely because of his mentally unstable wife, Carly Marshall, who is bipolar. During her manic phases, her already overt sexuality, which she models after such sex symbols as Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot, is ratcheted up a notch, that partying behavior which is mixed with less frequent phases of physically destructive behavior. Regardless, Hank and Carly love each other, Hank who would admit to himself that he enjoys the fact that other men find Carly attractive, which is partly why he allows her to act the way she does in public. They, in turn, mutually love their now two teenaged daughters, Alex and Becky. Reassigned from their two year posting in Hawaii largely due to the ruckus Carly has caused there, they are next sent to Alabama, the base under the command of Vince Johnson, his wife, Vera Johnson, ... Written by
Peter Rainer in 'The Los Angeles Times' described actress 'Jessica Lange''s Carly Marshal character as "a sort of cross between a Tennessee Williams hothouse violet--a deranged, damaged maiden--and a late '50s/early '60s glamorpuss in the Marilyn Monroe style". Moreover, Caryn James in 'The New York Times' said "She models her behavior as well as her clothes (a series of tight strapless dresses) on that of movie stars like Marilyn Monroe". See more »
Near the end of the film, Vince Johnson (Powers Boothe) is watching an in-color news broadcast on a color television. Color television sets weren't widely in use until the mid-60's, and news broadcasts were virtually all in black-and-white until that time. See more »
There is an old Calypso ditty that states "If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, never take a pretty woman to be your wife." If you want to have a career in the Army, you might also want to avoid bi-polar women.
Tommy Lee Jones (The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada) was an Army Major, a nuclear engineer working on atomic tests, that had a gorgeous wife who was a little crazy. Jessica Lange (Broken Flowers) was awesome as his wife and won every award that year for her performance. She deserved every win in a movie that was a testament to love. No matter how crazy, Major Marshall (Jones) was there for her because of his love. And her love brought her out of her disorder long enough to save him.
This was director Tony Richardson's last film and he made it a winner all the way.
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