A group of misfits decide to leave for a place that they can all be free. Their mode of transportation is a PBY flying boat. The only problem is that the PBY needs a lot of work and they ... See full summary »
Homicide detective Steve Carella is trying to solve the brutal murder of 17-year-old Muriel Stark. Her younger cousin Patricia, who saw the killer and barely escaped with her life, helps him. However, the case soon takes a bizarre turn.
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An art director in the 1930s falls in love and attempts to make a young woman an actress despite Hollywood who wants nothing to do with her because of her problems with an estranged man and her alcoholic father.
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Donald Sutherland plays Mountie Dan Candy as if the character he knew he was in a movie and kept pushing it to be an action/adventure film, or a revenge movie, or a revisionist Western with a hero who could make a difference - but he's not. He's in an historical docudrama about a series of related domestic tragedies. Which means that the outcome is predetermined, and after insisting he has some power to effect matters for the better, he is left with the Indians to witness the end unfold.
This is the clue to the real strength of the film, which many would find its greatest fault. It is indeed slow, in order to accommodate an elegiac visual style. Tone and effect - essentially of sorrow, and of powerlessness over the historic inevitability of it all - form the real substance of the movie.
It's understandable that such is not to the taste of many audiences. But the film makers do deserve credit for attempting to approach their material in this fashion, rather than opt for something more profitably "exciting." That said, it must be admitted that a large scale production like this is operating on what appears to be a crash budget, and that doesn't help. It certainly didn't help in the preservation of the film, the available print on DVD is pretty bad. But occasionally the cinematography rises to the majesty that the script and director are calling for it, and eerie and beautiful moments pop up in the film, often when you least expect it.
Not really a success, but by no means simply a failure.
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