Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Teen Kanya (1961)
Magnificent, emotionally wrenching early film by the great Satyajit Ray
This film, called TEEN KANYA in Bengali and TWO DAUGHTERS in English, was made six years after Ray's first film, PATHER PANCHALI (1955), which was the first of the famous APU TRILOGY. Having finished that trilogy as well as another of his haunting masterpieces, THE MUSIC ROOM, Ray turned his attention to two wonderful short stories by Rabindranath Tagore, so that this film is therefore a diptych, composed of two separate films of those two stories. The first of them is entitled THE POSTMASTER, and most of it is filmed in and around a small hut inhabited by a young man who has just become a village postmaster. Along with the hut and the job, he has acquired a servant named Ratan who is a 10 year-old orphan girl who never knew her mother and father. The previous postmaster beat her and treated her badly, but the new one is very kind, and she becomes attached to him. This is the first time she has ever allowed herself to feel anything for anyone, in her harsh young life. The story is one of the saddest and most heart-breaking ever filmed. The intensity of the acting by the young girl, played by Chandana Banerjee, is one of the most powerful child screen performances in the history of world cinema. This young girl only made one other film, KAA, in 1966, and after that, nothing is recorded of her life or her fate. She was able to convey so much with her eyes without speaking, that it was like cinematic telepathy. The ending of this film is unforgettable, and will haunt any sensitive person always. The second film is not a sad story but an odd and amusing one. It concerns a girl in her late teens who is a wildly eccentric tomboy. She and her family live in a shack by the river bank, having lost their home and all their possessions in one of the many floods which continually afflict Bengal (the stories are set in Bengal). She likes to run wild and free, swing from the trees, play with the boys, run and hide in the forest, and always goes barefoot. She is brilliantly played by the young actress Aparna Sen, whose first adult part it was (she had appeared in one film previously as a child). She went on to become one of India's most famous serious film actresses, and has appeared in 62 films, including others by Satyajit Ray such as DAYS AND NIGHTS IN THE FOREST (1970) and THE MIDDLEMAN (1976). She also appeared in James Ivory's THE GURU (1969) with Michael York and Rita Tushingham, as well as James Ivory's BOMBAY TALKIE (1970) with Felicity Kendal. In this film, Sen evokes the mystery and the animal energy of the wild young creature in an unforgettable portrayal of a girl in rebellion at becoming a woman and a wife and thus forfeiting her freedom. These days the film should be adopted by feminists as a manifesto statement. Satyajit Ray was notable for making many films sympathetic to women, girls, and children, and he had a rare understanding of the vagaries of feminine psychology. His films are often as much psychology lessons as they are high art. And he had the ability to get his actors and actresses to give of their best, and then more besides. Certainly, Ray's films are some of the most emotionally moving and psychologically profound works of cinema ever made. But in addition to that, they are technical masterpieces as well. For this film, Ray was director, producer, writer, and composer of the music. Ray was certainly one of the three great Bengali geniuses of the 20th century, another being Rabindranath Tagore himself, and the third being unquestionably Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose, the scientist who collaborated with Albert Einstein, and after whom Bose-Einstein Condensates are named. (But if you have never head of Bose-Einstein Condensates, you are forgiven, as they are highly technical, and even most physicists have never heard of them.)
Ziemia obiecana (1975)
A savage attack on corrupt Polish capitalism of the 1880s
This epic film directed by the famous Polish director Andrzej Wajda is not nearly so widely known outside Poland as many of his other films, which have a broader appeal and are less disturbing and savagely ironical. The film is based upon a novel by the classic Polish novelist Ladislaw Reymont (who died 1925). The novel was published in 2 volumes in English in 1928 but is very difficult to find. Reymont is better known in English for his novel THE PEASANTS (CHLOPI), published in four volumes successively entitled Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. It is usually necessary when trying to acquire it to piece the volumes together separately from different booksellers, as I had to do. This story is harrowing in the extreme, and to a certain extent becomes a caricature of 'the evils of capitalists', primarily speculators. Of course, we all know today how dangerous speculators are, and every major bank seems to contains dozens of uncontrolled and uncontrollable 'rogue speculators', or 'casino gamblers' as they are often called nowadays, who keep bringing about disastrous losses and crashes which effect the entire globe. But this film is a historical drama limited to what took place in the Polish city of Lodz during the 1880s. One presumes that it must have a basis in truth of some kind, but being ignorant of the history of Lodz, I must confess I do not know. The film contains a few 'in jokes'. For instance, there is a scene where an uneducated Jewish moneylender is told that Victor Hugo has just died (which happened in 1885). He says, after looking blank at first, 'oh yes, he wrote that book OF FIRE AND SWORD some portions of which my daughter read out to me.' Polish viewers would laugh their heads off at this, as the book referred to is one of the most famous works of Henryk Sienkiewicz and has nothing to do with Victor Hugo. Wajda's rage when making this film was evidently so intense that he could not resist planting such small ironies as those within the dialogue. The film portrays the most vicious, corrupt, callous and inhuman greed and arrogance imaginable. Mill owners are shown saying: 'Let them die' when their workers are injured by the machines in their factories, and refuse to pay their widows a penny in compensation. They go round the factories choosing the young worker girls they want for sex and forcing them into it with the threat of firing them and their whole families so that they will starve if the girls do not agree. Mangled bodies and body parts flying through the air from whirling machines are shown in the factories without sparing our sensitivities. We see people being beaten to death in the street and no one even notices, we see several suicides by financial speculators and moneylenders who have been 'ruined'. Jews are portrayed very harshly as stock characters who are greedy, vengeful and lascivious. With the exception of one very nice and honourable aristocratic girl named Anka, who tries unsuccessfully to 'have concern for human suffering' by aiding a worker whose ribs have been crushed but is ordered not to do so, just about every character in the story is revolting, rotten to the core, and despicable. This is not an edifying film, and is very much a 'downer'. The title is clearly an extremely ironical one, as 'the promised land' dreamed of by one minor character as a Lodz where everybody gets rich and is happy, is in fact the most brutal nightmare and hell on earth. Wajda used his brilliant film making skills to create a highly watchable and rather mesmerising film, but it turns one's stomach. Of course, that is what he wanted to do. His message seems to have been: 'Can you watch this without being disgusted and horrified?' The answer is no. This story was filmed as a silent film in 1927, but I do not know whether that survives. Reymont's THE PEASANTS has been filmed as a feature film three times, in 1922, 1935, and 1973, and as a television mini-series in 1972. The Poles love their classic writers and poets. Even in the midst of the dialogue of this film, the name of the national poet Adam Mickiewicz bursts through in conversation. Especially at that time, it would have been hard to find a Pole who could go an entire day without referring to Mickiewicz, who was not only the national poet but a passionate supporter of Polish independence and freedom, who spent much of his life living on the Rue de Seine (see his plaque) in Paris as a political exile. With the Poles, their national literature is viewed as such an integral part of their national identity that it means more to them than probably any other European nation. To a large extent this can be seen to be due to the struggle which the Poles have had over the centuries in maintaining a national identity at all, what with the Swedish, German, and Russian invasions, not to mention their tiffs with the Lithuanians. In this film, there are many sarcastic references to and portrayals of Germans resident in Lodz at the time, and they come off worse than even the Jews, as the worst villains and scoundrels. This film pulls no punches, but lets rip in every direction like a mad dog that wants to bite everyone all at once.
Ken Hughes directed five feature films and two short films in 1955, and this is one of the features. It is a superior B picture with the female B star, Faith Domergue, she of the big soulful brown eyes. The story and screenplay are by Charles Eric Maine, and he has written a good yarn. Some of the ideas for the technical background are mentioned in passing, and they concern a scientist named Stephen Rayner who works for the Atomic Energy authorities. He has learned how to achieve the alchemical transmutation of elements in order to produce tungsten in the laboratory from cheap materials. This threatens the interests of the United Tungsten Corporation of Argentina, which controls two thirds of the world's tungsten supply, so they have another scientist's face transformed by plastic surgery to replace Rayner, and the film starts with Rayner being shot one night and falling into the Thames. He miraculously survives but is in a coma for some time while everyone is trying to figure out what happened. After he is identified, the police are puzzled because his employers say he is at work in his lab. Something strange has also happened to him because he has undergone a slight forward time-shift of 7.5 seconds due to exposure to radiation, so he answers questions put to him before they are asked. When the police and others finally figure out why his interviews don't make any sense, because the answer to each question is really to one that will be asked next, they then begin to piece together his story. The film is very intriguing and entertaining, despite being low budget. The hints of escaped corrupt Nazis in Argentina who will kill anyone who gets in their way were well understood in 1955, only ten years after the War. The film's original release title was TIMESLIP, and it is under that title that the DVD is now once again available. As another reviewer says, this is not really a sci fi film but is an industrial espionage thriller with some intriguing sci fi background elements which are significantly under-developed. Both the timeslip angle and the tungsten angle could have been much better developed and turned into a much stronger film. As it is, the film is rather mediocre.
The Heavenly Body (1944)
This is such a ridiculous and silly film that I found it impossible to watch all of it, as it was simply too exasperating and irritating. MGM must have realized they had a turkey on their hands because they employed seven screenwriters, including even the British novelist Michael Arlen, and hired a second (uncredited) director, namely Vincente Minelli, to try and save the film. But all failed. William Powell and Hedy Lamarr were the stars, and they did very well. But their valiant efforts and those of the seven screenwriters and two directors, were all for nothing. The fact is that it was a ludicrous project commissioned by idiots. The main theme of the film is that William Powell, an observational astronomer working at a big telescope (clearly mean to be Mount Palomar), has a beautiful but pin-headed wife who takes astrology so seriously that she will not let him touch her on Tuesdays and according to her chart she must leave him for another man she does not know. The irony of having Hedy Lamarr, probably the most intelligent female star in Hollywood, play the stupidest woman in the history of films, is extreme. The film is an absolutely disgusting attempt to make a comedy based upon the premise that women are unspeakably stupid. One does not have to be a feminist to want to throw up.
Jeder stirbt für sich allein (1976)
An intensely harrowing German classic set in 1940-1941
Hans Fallada was one of the most famous German authors of the 20th century. When his novel KLEINER MANN, WAS NUN? (LITTLE MAN, WHAT NOW?) appeared in English in 1933, Fallada achieved fame in the English-speaking world. But after that, his memory faded, though there has been an attempt at revival of some of his works in English in the past few years. LITTLE MAN was filmed in 1934 in Hollywood by Frank Borzage, with Margaret Sullavan, and has been filmed in German in 1933, 1967, and 1973. This story was the last novel which Fallada wrote before he died prematurely in 1947. Its German title, and the original title of this film, are JEDER STIRBT FÜR SICH ALLEIN. Sometimes it is called in English EVERY MAN DIES ALONE, and sometimes EVERYONE DIES ALONE. It was originally filmed in German for television in 1962, then filmed again for German television in 1970. Then finally it was made into a full feature film with a proper budget in 1976, which is the film reviewed here. At the moment, the novel is being filmed in English under the title ALONE IN BERLIN, with Emma Thompson in the lead, directed by the French director Vincent Perez, for release in 2016. This 1976 film is devastatingly effective and brilliantly done. It succeeds largely because of the astonishing bravura performance in the lead role of Anna Quangel by Hildegard Knef. Knef (who died in 2002, aged 76) was very famous in her day. She appeared in 65 films. She commenced her acting career in 1945 as a young beauty. By the 1950s she had caused something of a sensation in America, appearing in such films as DECISION BEFORE DAWN (1951), DIPLOMATIC COURIER (1952, see my review), THE SNOWS OF KILIMANJARO (1952), and Carroll Reed's THE MAN BETWEEN (1953). Americans in those days used to speak of 'Hildegard', not bothering with her surname, and everyone knew whom they meant. In this film, she was 51 years old and very much a middle-aged actress who could not rely upon looks but had to deliver a powerful performance. And that she did! It was one of the finest roles she ever played, full of the most astonishing intensity and anguish. So powerful indeed is her performance that one imagines her having to lie down and recover after each take of several of the more demanding scenes. Emma Thompson certainly has a big challenge ahead of her if she is to come close to equalling Knef's performance as Anna Quangel. This 1976 film is one of the few German classic films to be available in English as well as German. It does not have subtitles, but is dubbed. Knef dubbed herself, which was essential and makes it work. The other dubbing is so carefully done that it is a highly superior job and does not grate on the ear. The Germans have methodically ploughed through their classic authors, filming everything with their trademark Teutonic thoroughness. Often these take the form of television series or miniseries. They rarely bother to make them available with subtitles, and foreigners never buy them and subtitle them, so a vast library of fabulous drama sits in the German vaults and is known only to the Germans themselves. They have produced far more in quantity of classic drama than the BBC, but nobody knows about it except for the Germans themselves. That seems to suit them just fine. After all, they've got their wurst and their sauerkraut, they keep all their best Rhine wines and do not export them, so who needs the rest of the world? Angela Merkel, privately known to all European diplomats as 'die Kaiserin' (female form of Kaiser), controls Europe by wagging her little finger, so the Germans really do not need to worry about the outside world, since alles ist in Ordnung. Their currency is strong, their cars are fast, and they certainly know how to 'chop the mustard', as they eat it every day. Meanwhile, so many amazing novels and stories by Thomas and Heinrich Mann, by Leon Feuchtwanger, by Stefan Zweig, by Jakob Wassermann, by Hermann Hesse, und so wieder, have been filmed with loving care, but we just don't know it (though Hesse's STEPPENWOLF with Max von Sydow has been released in an English version). As Hans Fallada might have said, 'every film is watched by Germans alone'. But back to this one. The story is an astonishing perspective of Nazism as perceived early in the War by the Germans themselves. Knef plays a woman whose son has died in the invasion of France in 1940. Until then she has been a more or less loyal supporter of Hitler, like her husband and all her friends. But then the worm turns. She begins a campaign of writing treasonable messages such as 'Hitler killed my son' on postcards which she leaves to be found in public places, until she has flooded Berlin with 221 of them. The Gestapo are jumping mad and see this as a major threat to the Hitler regime's image of total control. Someone is making monkeys, or should I say lizards, of them. And it has to be stopped at all costs. The tension mounts and mounts and mounts. The investigations intensify, the anxieties rise to a hysterical pitch. The story is a combination of a morality tale, a political satire, and a gruelling human tragedy. The film really is amazing, but you have to be strong to watch it and have nerves that can withstand the pressure. As everything becomes more and more desperate, Hildegard Knef ratchets up her emotional charge to a level where you think all the circuits will blow. Can Emma Thompson possibly equal this? This 1976 film may easily be ordered from German Amazon as a DVD, and in order to switch it to the English language soundtrack, you need to click on 'Einstellungen', which means 'settings'.
While You Were Sleeping (1995)
A perfect romantic comedy
I thought it was time to see this again after all these years, and it is just as fresh and wonderful as it was when it came out, like the smell of bread just taken from the oven. It is an exhilarating and essentially perfect romantic comedy. It comes off so wonderfully because of the central casting of the irresistibly charming Sandra Bullock. Whatever she lacks in Vogue cover beauty, she makes up for in tsunamis of personality. Who could say no to her? All she has to do is just smile or just look at you. Well, Bill Pullman certainly can't resist her in this film. And neither could his family. This film is so famous that most people know the story, which is the ingenious notion that Bullock saves the life of a handsome young man, played by Peter Gallagher, who is mugged and falls unconscious onto an overground subway track in front of an oncoming express train in Chicago. Bullocks leaps down, rolls over with him, and they just make it. She goes with him to the hospital but they won't let her follow him in because she is not a family member, so she pretends to be his fiancée. Then the story takes place while he is sleeping. i.e. in a deep coma, where Gallagher's family accept him as his fiancée and she is in countless comedic situations of having to pretend to know all sorts of things about him. In fact she had been in love with him for a long time, but they had never really met. It is a great idea, and it works to absolute perfection. There are many, many laughs. The film was magnificently directed by Jon Turteltaub (which means 'turtle dove' in German, just in case you wondered), who came from the unlikely background of having previously directed (gasp, gulp) 3 NINJAS (1992). Believe that if you can. This film is the only listed writing credit for Daniel G. Sullivan and Fredric LeBow. What happened to them? Surely they should have gone on writing stuff of this calibre. Did a hole in the earth open up and swallow them? The story and script are absolutely brilliant. Bill Pullman is also perfectly cast as the brother of Gallagher who falls in love with Bullock but nobly refrains from doing anything about it. Jack Warden provides heavyweight backup as family friend 'Uncle' Saul. The dotty family are all marvellous. Everybody is marvellous, everything is marvellous, the film is marvellous. Get the picture?
Some Came Running (1958)
Shirley MacLaine's fantastic performance
This film is based upon a novel by James Jones of the same title. He was the author of FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, filmed five years before this by Fred Zinnemann. Vincente Minelli's attempt here to make a James Jones blockbuster did not have quite the impact of the former film, but Shirley MacLaine's performance is such a masterpiece of pathos that from one end of America to another at the time of this film's release, no one could easily wipe away the tears after seeing her portray Ginnie Moorehead, with her small, struggling brain, but her heart the size of the world. This was the film that revealed Shirley MacLaine as one of the most brilliant young actresses in American cinema, a view amply confirmed a few years later when she appeared in THE APARTMENT (1960). MacLaine's spontaneity, vividness, warmth, and intuitive understanding of her character make this film a classic, whatever else it may have or lack. Martha Hyer also gives a splendid performance of great complexity as a woman who prefers the dreamworld of literature to real life, and when faced with a marriage proposal from an author whose works she adores, obstinately refuses to leave the dream for the reality. Frank Sinatra is the unexpected choice to play Dave Hirsh, a novelist of great talent not only with the pen but with the bottle, lacerated by self-loathing and equally keen to remain in his dream of being a bum and a self-destructive drunk. When Fred Zinnemann rescued Sinatra from the scrap heap and cast him in FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, it electrified everyone, because the washed-up crooner from Hoboken suddenly showed everybody he could act. Nobody had ever expected that of him, as he was thought to be merely a singer who excited the 'bobby-soxers', as teenage girls were then known, of the 1940s and who had passed his sing-by date. And so his second career as a superstar unexpectedly began, hence his casting in this second James Jones film. He does a very good job of acting here too, but at the cost of some subtlety to the story. I have not read the novel, but I doubt that Jones's anti-hero was meant to be quite as coarse as Sinatra naturally was. At the beginning of the film, Sinatra returns to his small town home in Indiana beside the Ohio River (which is seen in great panoramic location shots from hilltops) after four years in the Army, checks into a hotel, and is seen unpacking novels by John Steinbeck, William Faulkner, and Thomas Wolfe. No matter how hard one stretches one's imagination one cannot visualize Frank Sinatra reading any of those! In other words, more subtle casting of the main character would have made for a much better film. The character as portrayed by Sinatra arouses not the slightest hint of sympathy in the viewer, and he is merely a rather disgusting and self-pitying lush and womanizer with the coarse manners of a street urchin. Hence this could never be great cinema, despite all the efforts of MacLaine and Hyer to raise it to the higher level of a genuine tragedy. There is no doubt that Sinatra is watchable, but then Bob Hope playing Hamlet would also be watchable, wouldn't he? If Sinatra had betrayed the slightest hint of human compassion in his role (and it would seem, would it not, that that must be a prerequisite for someone who is supposed to be such a marvellous novelist himself?), then this film could have coalesced into the vision its author must have intended. Oh well, flawed projects litter the highway of the cinema, like wrecked cars. Some of themes of this story became over-familiar through the years. I am referring to the talented writer who 'can't come home again' as Thomas Wolfe put it. They returned to their small towns in the American hinterland and found that they were alienated from those surroundings because their horizons had become too expanded, and they came up against an insuperable barrier, what is often called 'the small town mentality'. Of course, these days there is no such resonance, since American small towns have largely ceased to exist in the sense that they once did. They are no longer self-contained, their Main Streets are deserted and all their former shops, once filled with throngs of locals buying the necessities of life, are now charity shops, all the shopping has moved to the malls, all the townspeople have become obese mountains of wobbling human flesh who cannot get out of their cars to walk down a street because of junk food, and outsiders dash in and out on the interstate highway system, heedless of local traditions and caring nothing for where they are, other than as a temporary convenience before they move to the next town. The small towns are gone, except as skeletons like those of the dinosaurs in the natural history museums, and stories like this are thus historical tales dating from a vanished age when they really mattered. All of the angst suffered by the James Joneses and Thomas Wolfes trying unsuccessfully to return home to their small town origins are as far from contemporary reality as the voyages of Odysseus (Ulysses) as he struggled to return home to Ithaca. It is thus that a lot of the 'zing' has gone out of this film because younger people cannot 'get it'. They no longer know, and if they did, they would no longer care, what the attempt to 'come home again' to the small town once meant for sensitive souls who had outgrown the chrysalis. Now there is no Home anymore, there is only Facebook. And there is never any trouble returning to Facebook, for your 1000 best friends are there waiting to ignore you and will not bite back. In fact, people like Frank Sinatra are welcome, since on the internet you cannot smell whisky on people's breath.
Quai d'Orsay (2013)
Merriment without laughter, wit without guffaws
It is odd how the French talent for satire can sometimes give rise to no actual laughter. This film is one of those strange examples. The original French title is QUAI D'ORSAY, and for those who are unfamiliar with the meaning of that, it does not refer to the Musée d'Orsay so dear to all art lovers (which is inside a converted former railway station on the Quai d'Orsay beside the Seine) but to the French Foreign Ministry. Because of its address, the Foreign Ministry has throughout the whole of modern times been referred to by the French as well as all foreign diplomats simply as the 'Quai d'Orsay'. This film is a wildly satirical spoof on the lunacy that the French imagine (and who can say they are wrong?) takes place inside their Foreign Ministry. The Foreign Minister is played with rampant satirical flair and panache by Thierry Lhermitte. He portrays the Foreign Minister as a charming lunatic who constantly contradicts himself, and never, never, never stops talking. He is constantly quoting the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus (whose work survives only in fragments, many of which make great quotes), but rarely with relevance. The comedy is enhanced by the film containing many inserted full screen cards giving spoof quotations from Heraclitus which are, of course, nonsensical. If only this film showed the subtlety of satire at which the British excel, but it is too 'in your face' and slapstick. They are just trying too hard to be funny, and although they certainly succeed at being most amusing, I did not laugh once, whereas at a British film of that type I would undoubtedly have laughed often. (As for the Americans, they have never heard of subtlety in satire, and true satire is largely unknown to Hollywood, and is better found in a performance by the Second City group, who have never made it to the screen and remain firmly onstage as satirists.) The finest performance in this film is certainly by the wonderful Niels Arestrup, who despite his Danish name (his father was from Denmark) is as French as they come. He calmly runs the Foreign Ministry and deals with the continually recurring international emergencies amidst all the chaos around him, while his incompetent minister and the other hopeless staff run around in circles like mad dogs. No one ever notices that he is doing this. Let us hope that there is at least one Niels Arestrup in every French Government ministry, for otherwise the country could collapse under the weight of its collective political idiocy. And speaking of idiots, lest we forget the current President Hollande, his girl friend Julie Gayet appears in this film as one of the Foreign Ministry staff, though she makes no big impression. But then perhaps that is because I do not have a motor bike and have never learned her finer points. (Now that is subtle satire for you!) The omnipresent Jane Birkin has a good cameo in this film as a Nobel Prize-winning authoress whom the Minister wishes to meet and takes to lunch but talks so much himself that she does not get a word in. And for Jane not to get a word in is something! Hardly likely in real life. The director of this confection is the distinguished and well known Bertrand Tavernier. I wonder whether the French themselves laughed out loud at this film, and that my own laughless and wholly silent appreciation of it was merely a cultural artefact. Do I lack a Gallic organ? Such thoughts haunt me at nights.
Better than usual British B mystery of the early fifties
There are lots of interesting location shots in this film showing early fifties London, with the scars of bombing still apparent. 'Flannelfoot' is the name given to a jewel thief because he makes no sound with his feet as he slips in and out stealing priceless gems. No one knows who he is, except that he is 'one of us', i.e. of the smart set. There are lots of red herrings, some darker red than others, swimming around in this story, where we are kept guessing until the last. My goodness, the manners and mores of yesteryear! There is one hilarious shot where four men in white dress scarves and black overcoats, clearly men of fashion out on the town for an evening, say 'We had better not call attention to ourselves,' as they seek to investigate the mystery incognito and mix with ordinary folk. Calling Michael Arlen! But this film is amusing and worth watching for those interested in old British movies and what things were like back then.
Female on the Beach (1955)
Steamy stuff, and way over the top
Well here goes Joan Crawford being passionate, and wearing high-heeled shoes as she walks along a California beach, with each step stabbing the sand with intensity, just to let us know how much her relationship with romantic hunk of the time, Jeff Chandler, really means to her. In the fifties, when the producers wanted melodrama, they really laid it on thick, and the audiences loved it, because they did not yet have television soaps to get stuck into. In this film, Joan Crawford is genuinely hard to get, but when she falls, she really falls. Jeff Chandler does a very good job of acting in this film where he plays a scheming toy boy who marries older women for their money, and has accomplices who facilitate and fund his predations. Usually, Chandler got less demanding roles in films, and had less chance to show acting skills other than being manly. Joan Crawford is truly in her element here and plays it for all it is worth, and more. Jan Sterling is very good playing a hard-bitten real estate agent who is more than she seems, and whose crush on Chandler has, like the storyline, gone way over the top. Everybody must have had a lot of fun making this kitsch picture. And Chandler seems to have survived repeatedly kissing Joan Crawford without having his tongue bitten off. I suppose her mind was really on her swishy skirts. Joseph Pevney directed, immediately after directing Jeff Chandler opposite Jane Russell in FOXFIRE, an interesting film which made a much bigger hit with the public in 1955 than this one did. Two years later, Pevney would direct perhaps his biggest hit of all, the now-forgotten but then dearly loved TAMMY AND THE BACHELOR (1957), starring Debbie Reynolds.