The Visit had fabulous costumes (that was why it got an Oscar nomination), but its camerawork was very strange, and its sentiments left me cold.
* * *
I honestly don't think I have anything to say about Edward Dmytryk's Where Love Has Gone. This was apparently based on a true story, but it is a soap opera through and through – something Jacqueline Susann might have written. It stars Susan Hayward (who I adore) and Bette Davis (who is beyond all adoration), but... this is dumb. It wishes it were a murder mystery, but it actually never builds any tension in that direction. In other words, I never cared who committed the murder in the first place. This is a melodrama through and through, a kind of poor man's Mildred Pierce, but it never really picks a side and so the final suspenseful moments have no effect.
Where Love Has Gone was nominated for Best Original Song and, if I'm honest, I don't really dislike the tune, sung by Jack Jones. It's a big, bright, brassy sort of thing with lots of violins, rather like something Frank Sinatra would normally make into a hit.
As for the movie though, don't bother.
* * *
The Chalk Garden is another boring potboiler that was probably originally a stage play.
Ok, I went and looked it up and of course it was a play – by Enid Bagnold. the film is directed by Ronald Neame, and he tries his best to make this something other than a stagey movie, but I'm afraid there's no saving it. It's a kind of David and Lisa or Miracle Worker sort of thing, where a teacher gets ahold of a precocious young woman and somehow convinces her to be less crazy and stop causing everybody to fret so much.
Edith Evans was nominated for an Oscar for this picture, and she earned her nomination. She plays a cranky old grandmother who believes she's caring for the young woman in her house but who is actually causing rather a lot of trouble because she's being so darned indulgent and not reading this child the riot act.
It's not a bad little thing, and it's sort of your typical mid-century USAmerican realist drama, but I've never cared for mid-century USAmerican realist drama, and I haven't gotten any kinder to it in 2017.
* * *
Jack Clayton's The Pumpkin Eater follows a woman played by Anne Bancroft who has many children. Her husband is cheating on her (cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater), and she figures this out over the course of the film. Maggie Smith appears (in 1964!) in a tiny role as the first of her husband's lovers whom we meet. Peter Finch plays the husband, and this movie is interesting, even if it is quite strange.
The thing is, The Pumpkin Eater is a brooding, slow movie, and it is more than a little odd. I appreciated it more than I liked it. But it is about depression, and watching a movie about depression is not the easiest thing in the world to do.
Still, it gets kudos in my book for trying to get into the mind of the depressive in 1964 and not simply treating depression as something that needs to be somehow dealt with or cured. And I really love Jack Clayton's work as a director. I think his 1959 Room at the Top is near perfect, and this is gorgeously, assuredly made even if I didn't enjoy watching it, particularly. Clayton was really ahead of his time.
This concludes my 1964 viewing! Now to catch up on some 2017 movies.