6.2/10
204
5 user 8 critic

Desperate Characters (1971)

Marriage of a midlife, middle-class, childless couple is in a rut. Sophie has become depressed, frigid and slightly paranoid and Otto is stuck in optimistic denial. Things escalate at their summer cottage, but no one dares call it quits.

Director:

Frank D. Gilroy

Writers:

Paula Fox (novel), Frank D. Gilroy
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3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Shirley MacLaine ... Sophie Bentwood
Kenneth Mars ... Otto Bentwood
Sada Thompson ... Claire
Jack Somack Jack Somack ... Leon
Gerald S. O'Loughlin ... Charlie
Chris Gampel ... Mike Holstein
Mary Alan Hokanson Mary Alan Hokanson ... Flo Holstein
Robert Bauer ... Young Man
Carol Kane ... Young Girl
Michael Higgins ... Francis Early
Michael McAloney Michael McAloney ... Raconteur
Wallace Rooney Wallace Rooney ... Man on Subway
Rose Gregorio Rose Gregorio ... Ruth
Elena Karam Elena Karam ... Saleslady
Nick Smith Nick Smith ... The Caller
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Storyline

Sophie and Otto Bentwood are set in their ways. And unsettled in their hearts. They're Desperate Characters, trapped in a marriage that no longer works... yet unable to break free. In a performance widely cited as a career breakthrough, Shirley MacLaine portrays Sophie in this compelling grown-up drama that, in its own jolting way, is a love story. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R
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Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 September 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hova tűnt szép napok See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$400,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shirley MacLaine won the Silver Bear award and the New York Film Critics Circle award for Best Actress. Her role as Sophie Brentwood was acclaimed by critics at the time and is known as one of the finest performances of her career. See more »

Connections

Referenced in An American Family: Episode #1.11 (1973) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A baffling array of characters on the proverbial edge
14 November 2001 | by moonspinner55See all my reviews

Chilly examination of alienated New Yorkers is difficult to find on VHS, but it's worth the search for Shirley MacLaine's performance alone. She's quite sympathetic floating through this frigid sea of lost faces and souls. The film is slow (deliberately slow) and lugubrious, but also undeniably compelling. The horrors of the modern day (circa 1971) are well-depicted in scene after scene, and the fade-out offers no pat promises (and, amusingly, no hope). In her autobiography, MacLaine scathingly dismisses the film as one that "didn't work", blaming it on script problems. I agree the 'plot', such as it is, could've been stronger overall, but--as with all unconventional stories--the people, their emotions, and things they experience are just as important as the dialogue, and all of those elements here are provocative and well-observed. What a weird one this is! **1/2 from ****


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