Friday, 15 November 2013

ALL THE FINE YOUNG CANNIBALS (1960) WEB SITE

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 I remember seeing (and taping) this movie off of Superchannel one night. It was part of a "Natalie Wood Double Feature", and it was followed by "Love With The Proper Stranger", and, being a die-hard fan of her, I wasn't about to pass this one up.

This film seems, initially, as a soapy, over-the-top, melodramatic feature like many movies of the time. However, if you can overlook the flaws, you will find it very interesting and rewarding. The original attraction of this movie was, for me, the early on-screen teaming of real-life couple Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner. Wood was apparently worried as to whether Wagner could handle a dramatic role, and in retrospect she was justified in that concern. Wagner is more of a personality than an actor, and his performance as the sullen musician comes across as stiff. And Wood's southern accent can be distracting at times - her pronunciation of her lover's name, "Chaad" can get a bit grating! That aside, the most interesting aspects of the story happen later, after Sarah/Salome becomes pregnant by Chad, leaves her overbearing, zealous-nut father and her stifling, confining home life and meets up with Tony McDowall.

Her vulnerability and his love for her helped sustain my interest, as did the character of Catherine, Tony's spoiled, bored and man-hungry sister. Pearl Bailey also scores points for her portrayal of the down-on-her-luck, boozing blues singer Ruby Jones. In fact, Wagner's Chad has the best relationship and chemistry with her. When Chad reappears in Salome's life, of course that adds to the tension within the plot. After a while, though, I couldn't understand how Salome could still tolerate him (especially when he marries Catherine out of spite), and I don't get why Tony didn't suspect that the baby was not his (ever think of doing the math, Tone?) The character of Tony, for me, is one of the most sympathetic. His love and concern for Salome, his devotion to Catherine and to little Peter, makes him much more emotionally reachable.(Why didn't Salome realize that she loved him earlier?). Chad only speaks of Peter as if the boy is his property, and doesn't seem to care about his welfare, only revenge on Salome. Granted, she should have told him that she married someone else and that she was passing off the child as her husband's. You can almost feel Salome's longing for Chad, but I don't know how she could pine for him with Tony lying right next to her! When it comes right down to it, I couldn't tear myself away, even now, a few years later after I first saw it, it has some sentimental value. I was already a fan of Natalie, but I barely knew George Hamilton existed before - although was interested after! - and I developed a great respect not only for Wood but also Susan Kohner, who deserved a longer career. Fun little bit of trivia : Did you know that Susan and George had made a film together before this and that at one point, they were engaged? The music makes the moody, longing tone of the film - in fact, it's one of the highlights. And if you enjoyed it, see the 1959 version of "Imitation Of Life" starring Lana Turner, Sandra Dee, John Gavin and Susan Kohner. I recommend "All The Fine Young Cannibals" to adventurous viewers who are willing to take the risk. See if you can tear your eyes away!




CRITICA EN EL PERIDICO "LA VANGUARDIA" (8-11-1963)

Esta producción norteamericana, contiene positivos factores para que obtenga un buen éxito comercial. Su realización técnica es estimable, la interpretación ha sido encomendada a un elenco artístico de reconocida valía y su presentación en pantalla grande y con un color de sugestivas tonalidades, redondea sus alicientes de cara al gran publico. Pero el guión constituye un factor adverso en la estimación del film: Refiere a una historia que es un puro melodrama. Los personajes y sus reacciones quedan harto imprecisos para que sus problemas logren impresionar. A este respecto cabe mencionar también que el titulo dado a la cinta, no refleja la realidad de lo que sucede en la misma, a no ser que busquemos su origen en las egoístas y desmesuradas reacciones de unos personajes de psicología excepcionalmente complicada. Michael Anderson ha aportado al film su maestría y su fino sentido estético. La planificación es ágil y el ritmo narrativo es siempre conducido con la justa fluidez. La parte musical de la cinta añade a este un nuevo atractivo. La cantante de color Pearl Bailey interpreta con sensibilidad varias canciones de positivo encanto. Natalie Wood, bella y sugestiva, interpreta el papel principal luchando casi siempre afortunadamente, con las contradicciones que encierra el personaje. La secundan correctamente Robert Wagner, George Hamilton, Susan Kohner y Pearl Bailey. J.P.M.















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