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Millicent Wetherby is a middle-aged woman whose life is devoid of love and affection. Millicent's solitary existence changes when she encounters Burt Hansen a charismatic younger man. As Burt successfully woos her and wins her hand in marriage, rumors begin to surface that Millicent's newfound beau is in fact a deranged maniac. Things grow even more complicated for Millicent when a woman claiming to be Hansen's first wife shows up. As Burt begins to lose control of himself, Millicent ponders the most radical of actions against her husband.Written by
As the opening credits of "Autumn Leaves" are benignly rolling by, the viewer is treated to listening to the golden, mellow voice of Nat "King" Cole as he effortlessly sings this melodrama's title song.
And even though there were no autumn leaves anywhere to be found in "Autumn Leaves", this song and its lulling effect played (surprising enough) a somewhat significant part when it came to setting the pace and mood of this film's stormy plot-line.
Many years following this picture's 1956 release, Joan Crawford stated, in an interview, that of her later films, "Autumn Leaves" was, indeed, her #1 favourite.
I think that that was kind of a funny thing for Crawford to say, since, from my perspective, I clearly found her to be miscast in her role as Millie Wetherby, the longing, lonely, middle-aged typing-dynamo who finally finds her man (who's half her age) only to discover that an unbalanced mind lurks behind those twinkling, baby-blue eyes of his.
From my point of view, even though "Autumn Leaves" had all the makings of being a fairly intriguing picture and its subject matter was certainly handled in a mature fashion, I found that a lot of the story (especially the ending) just didn't ring true.
Like I said earlier, Joan Crawford just wasn't well-suited for her role as a woman who would allow a man (regardless of how cute he was) to slap her around and brutalize her. And, then, after all was said and done, actually come crawling back for more. (Oh? Yeah!?)
Yes. "Autumn Leaves" was a decidedly flawed affair and its dead-serious dramatics contained some unintentionally humorous moments, but, all the same, I think that this 1950's Chick Flick was certainly well-worth a view just to see how mental illness was looked upon in the realm of Hollywood movies nearly 60 years ago.
Filmed in b&w, "Autumn Leaves" was directed by Robert Aldrich whose other notable films included - Kiss Me Deadly, Whatever Happened To Baby Jane and The Dirty Dozen.
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