Movie version of playwright Tennessee Williams' "The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore" involves very wealthy Flora "Sissy" Goforth (Dame Elizabeth Taylor), supposedly dying, and living in a large mansion on a secluded island with her servants and nurses. Into her life comes a mysterious man, Christopher Flanders, a.k.a. "Angelo Del Morte" (Richard) and The Witch of Capri (Noël Coward). The mysterious man may or may not be "The Angel of Death".Written by
In the original play, the character of "The Witch Of Capri" is an elderly woman. When this movie was being prepared, the part was initially offered to Katharine Hepburn, who turned it down with (according to director Joseph Losey) considerable indignation. It was then decided to turn the character into a man, and Noël Coward took the part for a fee of $75,000. His two weeks on this movie were marked by strong antagonism between him and Michael Dunn, who played Flora "Sissy" Goforth's (Dame Elizabeth Taylor's) bodyguard. See more »
All of Chris' belongings are in a couple of duffel bags thrown into ocean, yet when the bags are unpacked upon arriving at island, there is no water damage to either his address book or a book of poetry. See more »
This is a film about the super-idle superrich and the people who participate in their deathwatch. The film is minimalist in nature having only a cast and a set that supports the deathwatch theme. It is probably a difficult movie to watch because it has absolutely nothing to say about life and living. William's script creates a Dante-ish abstraction of a death journey with incredibly tight and sharp dialogue that is matched by the director's use of space and time. The only problem I have with the production is the totally inept lighting direction. Here we have a Mediterranean sunwashed villa as the set of the final human drama with very little sense of light and heat.
The whole cast, what there is of it, are essentially giving solo performances. Even when they are in each other's arms they seem to be issuing soliloquies. This produces a very interesting effect of "who's on first". Everyone has such a good part with such good lines its hard to tell who to focus on. The real treat was the Taylor-Coward jousting at the dinner table. I've never seen Noel Coward before and this part seemed to be written for him. Taylor hated her part in this film but it appeared the director was allowing the cast to develop their parts themselves judging from the reading flubs that were left in the final cut.
I'm not going to say anything about the story. It should be seen by those who are looking for a Tennessee Williams interpretation of death at the top. Suffice it to say, in response to the waves crashing on the rocks below: "boom...the shock of each moment of still being alive".
I rate this a 5 out of 5. I would have rated it a 4 out of 5 if there was no close-up of Taylor's eyes.
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