The venomous and amoral wife of a wealthy architect tries, any way she can, to break up the blossoming romance between her husband and his new mistress; a good-natured young widow who holds a dark past.
Brian G. Hutton
Twenty-something Laura Reynolds is a free spirit who questions social conventions, laws and regulations. A struggling artist, she lives in a secluded beach-side cabin in Big Sur with her nine year old illegitimate son, Danny, on who she has instilled her values. Because of this questioning of convention, Laura has decided to home school Danny. Also because of this questioning of the law, Danny runs into some legal problems, and as such is court ordered to be sent to San Simeon, a Christian school in Monterey. This order is against Laura's wishes. The school's headmaster is Dr. Rev. Edward Hewitt, who tries to convince Laura that San Simeon is not the prison she probably believes it to be. Married for twenty-one years to his faithful wife Claire, Edward has become more a fund-raiser at all cost (for a new chapel) rather than an educator or priest. Despite their differences, Laura and Edward begin to fall for each other. Both but especially Edward have to reconcile their feelings for ...Written by
The film was satirized by artist Mort Drucker and writer Larry Siegel in the March 1966 issue of "Mad" magazine #101 under the title "The Sinpiper." See more »
The tie of the judge, as he stands talking to Laura, is straight inside his jacket. As the camera angle changes, the bottom of his tie is shown crumpled and protruding outside his jacket. See more »
Dr. Edward Hewitt:
I've learned that total adjustment to society is quite as bad as total maladjustment, that principled disobedience of unjust law is more Christian, more truly law abiding than unprincipled respect.
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Hilariously misguided tripe; a must for bad movie-lovers
For their third film together (and their first as a newly-married couple), the Burtons chose one of the most infamous bad movies of all-time, the hilariously misguided effort THE SANDPIPER (1965). The film had a great pedigree starting with director Vincent Minnelli (who helmed such classics as 1944's MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, 1958's GIGI, and even 1970's criminally underrated ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER), and great supporting cast featuring Eva Marie Saint, Charles Bronson, Robert Webber, and James Edwards. Unfortunately, the film misses the mark on almost every occasion, undermining a potentially interesting love story with poorly-developed characters and cornball dialogue. I won't spend the time discussing the film's clumsy attempts as addressing such complex issues as theology, which are handled even worse than the central love triangle.
In all fairness, Burton has the right degree of sullenness to play the conflicted reverend, but the script gives him little else to do other than appear solemn. Burton is unarguably one of the greatest acting talents of his time, but this character is so one-note that even he cannot save it. Unfortunately, Taylor fares even worse although she does display a believable rebelliousness that is necessary for her role of the free-spirited, agnostic artist, she is simply out of her element amongst the mid-sixties beatnik scene. No matter how hard she tries, it simply impossible believe a glamour queen like Taylor as a shack-living, bra-burning hippie, and the characterization only becomes less convincing and more ridiculous as the movie goes on.
In the supporting cast, only Robert Webber's villainous Ward makes much of an impression, as Eva Marie Saint is completely wasted as Burton's wronged wife and Charles Bronson is as miscast as Taylor as a sexually ambiguous sculptor. Even with its terrible dialogue, leaden plotting, and unconvincing performances, The Sandpiper is still certainly watchable. The location footage of the Big Sur is sometimes breathtaking and the Oscar-winning theme song "The Shadow of Your Smile" is memorable, but these attributes alone cannot lift the movie out the realm of being a "bad movie classic." Despite it's dubious quality and unanimously bad reviews from critics (or maybe because of them), THE SANDPIPER was yet another significant hit at the box office for the Burtons.
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