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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was pretty excited to see a collection of live teleplays made for TV
in the 1950s from the Criterion Collection. "A Wind From the South" is
among the least famous of these films. Sadly, however, many of the TV
plays are probably lost-broadcast live and not taped for later viewing.
Julie Harris stars as Shivawn--an odd Irish woman who works at an inn that is run by her brother. Her head seems to be in the clouds, so to speak. When others are working and going about their daily lives, she's in a dreamworld of sorts--finding the beauty in feathers and nature and the like.
One of the residents at the inn is Robert (Donald Woods). Like Shivawn, his head is also in the clouds, of sorts. He's a failed poet and advertising jingle writer. It's very obvious he's taken with her and in the middle of the film it's quite touching when he and Shivawn profess their love for each other. They seem ideal for each other...except that you find that Robert is married. And, weirdly, earlier that night Shivawn went to a dance with Robert's son.
While the plot is very slight and I can see why they never made a Hollywood version of this story, it was very nice viewing because of the lovely characterizations. Julie Harris in particular was wonderful--and very convincing. Plus there were so many good moments in this teleplay--moments filled with emotion and depth. Because of this, it's well worth seeing.
Be way, like many of these teleplays, the sound is only fair. Some of the characters are noticeably louder than others and the print quality is only okay--but very good compared to other TV productions of the time. Also, because this was essentially live theater that someone just happened to tape, the actors occasionally talk over each other or mess up their lines a bit--but a lot less than you might expect considering how quickly and cheaply such productions were made.
This is a very Irish production. In fact there is a sequence of kids
doing Irish Dance in this which is exactly the same as is still done
with kids today. As far as I know, this is the first television
presentation of Irish Dance that I have seen.
The title song was sung live for this show by a young singer named Merv Griffin who would go on to create Wheel of Fortune & do afternoon talk shows. He had a buffet named after him in Atlantic City. While it is a nice song, like the drama presentation it is not real memorable.
The introduction on the Criterion DVD is more interesting than the actual show. Seems that Julie Harris co-star fell in love with her doing the show. He readily admits it even though both of them were married at the time.
Would say if your Irish, this show might have have more interest than a general viewer. Still it is a decent program especially considering the live aspect of the performances.
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