Blake Pellarin is on the campaign trail to become governor of the state of Missouri. While making a stop in St. Louis, a chance encounter brings his past back to haunt him. Will the truth ... See full summary »
A period film, set around an English country house whose owners want to arrange a marriage of convenience between their elder daughter and an aristocratic heir of a hard-up noble family. ... See full summary »
John came to Hollywood to get that one big break in life. Years have passed since and all he has to show for are a menial job, unpaid bills and airhead friends and he's getting sick of it all. Is there a way out of this downward spiral?
Philip Van Horn, who left his small town a long time ago to become a Hollywood actor and hasn't had any success at that, returns to the town for a visit. There he is uniformally met like ... See full summary »
Trevor St. John
In 1986, David Whitman came home, contaminated his wife and child, and watched them die. Years later, he leads a hazmat team investigating an industrial accident near Budapest. One ... See full summary »
Blake Pellarin is on the campaign trail to become governor of the state of Missouri. While making a stop in St. Louis, a chance encounter brings his past back to haunt him. Will the truth ruin his chances for office or will he land the "Big Brass Ring"? Written by
The "big brass ring" of the title is a reference to the high brass rings found in old fashioned gyms and swimming pools, which one was supposed to jump up to and grab. As such it is a metaphor for that which is difficult to attain or at least hard to keep hold of. See more »
Despite both gubernatorial candidates apparently being from Missouri, they sport deep south accents. This is never explained. See more »
Abraham Lincoln said it best: it is common enough that we triumph under adversity, but if you truly wish to test a man's character, give him power.
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This may be a flawed masterpiece or perhaps a mediocre movie with a lot to recommend it. I enjoyed it and would like to see it again, partly to make sure the plot worked and partly to catch some nuances that I missed. And also because, as my esteemed colleague, flickjunkie, notes below, the audio is atrocious and my ears are not as sharp as they once were. But life is short and the entire opus of film is long...but maybe I can edit with the fast forward!
Okay, let's look at the evidence. Script by Orson Welles: somewhat amazing since he died in 1985. His last work. That alone may make this worth watching. William Hurt plays a southern pol, Blake Pellarin, running for governor of Missouri. Miranda Richardson plays his rich, alcoholic wife, and she is very good. Nigel Hawthorne is Kim Mennaker, Blake's one time mentor, a shadowy, behind the scenes political figure, a cynical character who is writing a 27,000-page memoir, which no doubt includes much about his love for the Pellarin boys. Irène Jacob plays Cela Brandini, a TV reporter fascinated with Blake. The one-time protégé of French-Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski is not shown to advantage here. I'm not sure why, but there is little subtlety in the way she plays the part. To really appreciate what she can do, see her in La Double vie de Véronique (1991) or Trois Couleurs: Rouge (1994), both directed by Kieslowski. She is very beautiful and very winning.
William Hurt, contrary to some opinion, was excellent. His characteristic laid-back, almost languid style works strangely well for a southern pol. He is certainly different, but believable, although I don't think his style would have worked had his character been running for president, as in Welles's original script. (Incidentally, they really wanted Louisiana, not Missouri, for the locale.) Hurt's performance reminds me in some ways of his work in the outstanding but now somewhat neglected, Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985), for which he won an academy award.
The Big Brass Ring never had a theatrical release, and it is not hard to see why. The print is too dark and the story too murky and hard to follow. It appears that the brothers changed identities when young and never bothered to change back. Apparently Blake's brother and not Blake was the subject of the homosexual photo, but I'm not sure. To make this movie work for a mass audience, the true status of the boys then, and during the time of the action, must be made clear.
(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)
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