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The Beguiled (1971)

While imprisoned in a Confederate girls' boarding school, an injured Union soldier cons his way into each of the lonely women's hearts, causing them to turn on each other, and eventually, on him.

Director:

(as Donald Siegel)

Writers:

(screenplay) (as John B. Sherry), (screenplay) (as Grimes Grice) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... John McBurney
... Martha
... Edwina
... Carol
... Doris
Mae Mercer ... Hallie
... Amy
... Abigail (as Melody Thomas)
Peggy Drier ... Lizzie
Patricia Mattick ... Janie (as Pattye Mattick)
Charlie Briggs ... 1st Confederate Captain (as Charles Briggs)
George Dunn ... Sam Jefferson
... 2nd Confederate Captain
... Scrogins
Patrick Culliton ... Miles Farnswoth
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Storyline

As the costly American Civil War still rages on, a 12-year-old student of the forgotten Miss Martha Farnsworth's Seminary for Young Ladies in warm and humid Mississippi stumbles upon a gravely wounded Union soldier, John McBurney. Taken in to recover from his injuries, the Corporal is imprisoned in a small room inside the mansion, however, before long, the seductive and unwanted guest will manage to take advantage of the female inhabitants' wartime-subdued desires. But is really McBurney in control over the situation? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

His love... or his life... See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

28 May 1971 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

El engaño  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,100,000, 31 December 1971
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Based on the 1966 novel, "The Painted Devil" by Thomas P. Cullinan. See more »

Goofs

In the opening scene (c. 3 minutes) the little girl doesn't actually pick the mushrooms, she just gathers up previously picked (and very clean) fungi by their cups. To pick a mushroom in the wild one must grasp it at the bottom of the stem or use a knife. Picking a mushroom by grasping the cup would break it in two. See more »

Quotes

Cpl. John McBurney: [delirious] You're well bosomed too. Sweet, I'll tell you that. So round and perky.
See more »

Connections

Remade as The Beguiled (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Dove She is a Pretty Bird
(uncredited)
Traditional
Performed by Clint Eastwood
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User Reviews

 
Great Actress Roles
13 August 2005 | by See all my reviews

Another well done moral ambiguity pieces where the anti-hero makes it hard to decide who to root for.

If nothing else "The Beguiled" silenced anyone who said there were no good parts for actresses in movies-at least in 1971. There were four excellent parts for actresses in this film and all were well cast and well executed.

Pamelyn Ferdin did a fine job as Amy and would go on to play "Wanda June". This must have been the first time an adult male box office star shared an extended kiss with a twelve-year-old girl on camera, wonder if there was much controversy about this at the time. It was probably Polanski's favorite scene. Given the fate of Amy's turtle "Randolph", it is no surprise that Ferdin grew up to be a hardcore animal rights activist.

Geraldine Page was likewise excellent, playing a complex character with just the right amount of restraint. It is interesting that she died just three days after Elizabeth Hartman committed suicide (throwing herself through a fifth floor window) as they had also worked together in "You're a Big Boy Now".

Hartman (who looks like she could be Blair Brown's sister) was wonderful as Edwina and should have gotten an Oscar (no other performance was even close that year), but given what we now know about her you wonder just how much of her performance was a studied effort and how much just came from inside her. Edwina shows such raw pain it is difficult to watch. Like Marilyn Monroe's incredible performance in "The Misfits", the viewer is probably seeing a whole lot of her own demons in the character she is playing.

Finally there is Jo Ann Harris who is stunningly perfect as the flirty Carol. For my money Harris was the sexiest actress of the 1970's, combining sensuality with intelligence and humor. She was the best reason to watch the "Most Wanted" television series and the only reason to watch "Wild Wild West Revisited". Hard to believe that someone who could bring all that to the screen never became a big star.


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