A dramatization of the shocking Barbara Daly Baekeland murder case, which happened in a posh London flat on Friday 17 November 1972. The bloody crime caused a stir on both sides of the Atlantic and remains one of the most memorable American Tragedies...
The true story of the beautiful and charismatic but mentally unstable Barbara Daly, who married above her class to Brooks Baekeland, heir to the Bakelite plastics fortune. Their only child is a failure in his father's eyes, and as he matures and becomes increasingly close to his alienated mother, the seeds for tragedy are sown. Written by
Ain't Nobody Home
Written by Jerry Ragovoy
Performed by Howard Tate
Published by Chappell & Co. (ASCAP)
Courtesy of The Island Def Jam Music Group under license from Universal Music Enterprises See more »
true story that could have been much more compelling
Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Stephen Dillane, and Hugh Dancy star in "Savage Grace," a 2007 film directed by Tom Kalin. It is the true story of the Baekland horror show that took place in 1972.
Julianne Moore is the beautiful socialite Barbara Baekland, who married into the Bakelite fortune and gave birth to a son, Tony (Redmayne). As the years pass, Brooks Baekland (Dillane) leaves Barbara and takes up with Tony's girlfriend, and Barbara travels, bored wherever she goes. Tony is gay or bisexual, though I don't think in the film he is portrayed as bisexual, and takes up with various lovers. At one point, he is a threesome with his mother and the art dealer Sam Green (Dancy).
All of this boredom and unhappiness leads to tragedy in 1972.
Since this is a story about the bored rich, it's a difficult one to keep moving, and it doesn't. The film is slow but beautifully photographed, but there is not enough back story to make the characters more accessible to the viewer.
We see Barbara as somewhat depraved and capable of horrible temper outbursts. Julianne Moore does a wonderful job, portraying both coldness and sexuality. She is stunning, particularly in an early scene where she wears a purple gown. This may have been the gown Karl Lagerfeld designed for Moore when he learned that she was doing the film.
Eddie Redmayne is inspired casting, not only for his acting ability but his resemblance to Moore in his coloring. Baekeland tried to "fix" Tony by hiring prostitutes to have sex with him. When that failed, she apparently tried to have sex with him herself.
Antony displayed increasingly signs of schizophrenia with paranoid tendencies; he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. His father initially refused to allow him to be treated by psychiatrists because he thought them "amoral."
The deeply-disturbed Tony is a victim of his mother's depravity and wanderlust, and he spends time trying to reunite her with his father to no avail. Her victimization of him leads Tony to suppress his anger, and when it emerges, it's explosive.
This movie is not to everyone's taste, but knowing the story, I did like it. But I was always aware it could have been stronger with a better script that didn't hop around so much, omitting parts of the story. It was too choppy.
I knew Sam Green personally, and he wasn't bisexual; he was straight. He also never thought Barbara slept with her son, and he said the threesome never took place. At the time of his death, he was suing the filmmakers. His character appears in another film, Factory Girl, due to his friendship and art dealings with Andy Warhol. He also purchased paintings on behalf of John & Yoko and was a close friend of Greta Garbo and Diana Vreeland.
All that high society and high living didn't seem to make anyone in the story particularly happy, something stories about the rich always try to tell us.
I think this film shows that what gets them is that sometimes, like Barbara, they have little purpose in life. It's the south of France in one season, Palm Beach in another, New York in another, always seeing the same people and always doing the same things - drinking, lying in the sun, having affairs, and gambling. Truthfully it doesn't sound all that bad.
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