Not classic Kazan, for sure, but not a total failure either. Was lucky enough to see the film in Paris a few years ago on the big screen. Was struck by Kazan's attempt to break free from the well made play structure he'd so successfully mined in the past. The linear story, though, won out, making the film uneven and stylistically self conscience. But even so, what a marvelous failure. Kirk Douglas, in Kazan's opinion may not have filled Brando's shoes, but, my god, he tried. Dramatically speaking, the film is exploring a state of mind; the character played my Douglas remains, for the most part, in a very static position throughout. Douglas never allows the stain of self pity to disfigure his action. Sitting still, thinking, we see in Douglas a man pulsating with anger, remorse, and the need to act. It's a valiant and satisfying performance even though, like the film itself, we're more aware of what it's reaching for than what it actually holds. The performance, though, that really struck me as being brave and bold is the one given by Deborah Kerr. She's the wife, and she has a lengthy scene late in the film where she and Douglas stray into the intimate area of their married life. Sexually frank and mature, the scene alone is worth the entire film. These two characters discuss intimacy, and then act on it, in a way I've never seen in a film. Kerr was one of the most adventurous actresses of her day; a truly great talent. She gives Kazan the raw, unguarded kind of performance one usually associates with Liv Ullman in her Bergman films.
Drama / Romance
Drama / Romance
An adman attempts to rebuild his shattered life after suffering a nervous breakdown.
December 28, 2020