Valentine "Snakeskin" Xavier, a trouble-prone drifter trying to go straight, wanders into a small Mississippi town looking for a simple and honest life but finds himself embroiled with problem-filled women.
During a slave revolt in 1844, a British mercenary aids an Antilles island-colony gain its independence from Portugal but years later he returns there to manhunt a local rebel army leader and former friend.
U.S. Army Major Weldon Penderton (Marlon Brando) is stationed on a base in the American south. He and his wife Leonora Penderton (Dame Elizabeth Taylor) are in an unsatisfying marriage. Weldon is generally a solitary man who in his time alone tries to bolster his self image as he feels less than adequate as a man and a Major. He does not want to viewed like Captain Murray Weincheck (Irvin Dugan), who has been bypassed for promotion time and time again solely because he is seen as being too sensitive. Self absorbed Leonora, when not focused on her passion of horses and riding, tries to maintain the façade of being what she sees an officer's wife should be while she carries on an affair with their next door neighbor, married Lieutenant Colonel Morris Langdon (Brian Keith). Morris' wife, Alison Langdon (Julie Harris), suffered a nervous breakdown three years ago after miscarrying her child, she is still with that nervous constitution. Alison is generally drawn toward sensitive types, ...Written by
In the version of the film released in Brazil's cinemas in the late 1960s, it was Anacleto who announced that Mrs. Alison had cut off her nipples with the garden shears. But in the later VHS version, it is Leonora who makes the remark to Lt. Col. Langdon while they are playing cards. See more »
This Southern erotic drama casts Taylor, Brando and Julie Harris, three actors of unrelated background to create perfectly cast roles. Harris had worked in a previous McCullers adaptation and had been nominated for an Oscar. Brando had his well known background and Taylor had just started her track into decline after a decade in the limelight. A number of factors derailed the intended result: Brando replaced other considered actors as Richard Burton and Montgomery Clift (who died just before filming began). On one side it is good that We were spared another Burton-Taylor pairing in the form of protagonists, although I think Burton would make a great love interest of Taylors in the role of her extramarital affair in this movie. Furthermore, Brando had been plagued by failures in the '60s and was not the hot billing he was back in the mid fifties though he is of course quite satisfactory here! The sepia tone and a general state of hypnotism and summer laziness are evident in the film and I think this makes it a little unbearable to watch uninterruptedly.
Also, the depiction of the locations of the events in the film do not provide much evident imagery that the film indeed unfolds in the South. It cold be anywhere in the warm states of the US. If I remember right, the novel was written not before World War II so it is almost contemporary to the film. No mentions or depictions of blacks, of the social routine in the South or the boiling discontent is depicted, much less is shown about segregation and racism. Of course I believe that, though unspecified, the exact place in the South that the film takes place is somewhere outside the Deep South. THat is supported by the film itself. Virginia, NC, Tennessee, Kentucky would be ideal for the setting of the film but not e.g. Mississippi. The setting is well restricted and confined. Finally, it is one of the cases I think a team of directors would do a better job than a single director. John Huston would be perfectly matched with a theatrical director to improve direction.
To add a further positiv point, it is a film that really pushed the boundaries of erotic scenes and depictions. This is evident as there are scenes which you cannot believed were shot with the specific actors(!!!), especially a particular scene with Taylor that surprised me. Violence, sexual repression and a general atmosphere of desire boil into the film not always explosively but the film nonetheles deserves the characterisation of an erotic drama, in my opinion.
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