There are three clinching proofs of Peckinpah's genius as dramatist and director, RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY, THE WILD BUNCH and this made for television adaptation of Katherine Ann Porter's tragic novella (with her collaborating with the director on the teleplay). It is, arguably, the most emotionally convulsive short story (along with "Bartleby The Scrivener") ever written by an American and Peckinpah achieves in this TV version something akin to Faulkner's AS I LAY DYING as if directed by Bergman. The ending is unforgettably shattering. This was one of the entries of the unfortunately short-lived ABC omnibus series, 'Stage '67, that ran for exactly one year. This series also included the Sondheim-Anthony Perkins musical whose name escapes me at the moment but more importantly, an absolutely marvelous version of a John Le Carre story entitled DARE I WEEP, DARE I MOURN, starring Jill Bennett and, in the role of the protagonist, James Mason in a performance as cathartic as Jason Robards' is in NOON WINE. I refreshed my memory of both of these highpoints in the history of American television about fifteen years ago at the Museum of Television and Radio in New York City. I believe this is the only way one can see them today which is a dreadful fact in the face of their extraordinary merits. (The copy of NOON WINE was a personal one of Robards donated to the museum posthumously.)
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