Sunday, August 12, 2007


On Tuesday, Sunshine joined me in Maryland for John Huston's exploration of rupturing domesticity, Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967),* adapted from the Carson McCullers novel. Apparently, this movie comes in two color schemes: one in artfully muted warm tones with controlled blazes of color, and one in traditional Technicolor. I'm unsure which one we saw, our print being so scratchy and moldered the colors seemed unrepresentative. This didn't limit the raw psychological tension of the movie, however. Leonora Penderton (Elizabeth Taylor) is frustrated with her husband, the Major Weldon Penderton (Marlon Brando). While Leonora frequently dallies with the neighbor during escapist horseback excursions, the Major seems more interested in sturdy NCOs stationed down at the base. Leonora takes the Major's disinterest as an attack on her personal charms, lashing out at his impotent repression at every opportunity. For his own part, the Major seems to be oblivious to, or relieved by, Leonora's indiscretions, but her incessant taunting is pushing him closer to the nervous edge of his own sexual identity. Plus, he's begun spying a naked Private (Robert Forrester) riding out in the woods, where his attraction seems to put paid to many of his wife's assertions. But the Private, a stable boy for Leonora, has developed his own infatuation with the Major's wife, breaking into their house nightly to fondle her things. A voyeuristic standoff begins around Leonora, who busies herself with neighborly infidelities and her social and equestrian hobbies, pausing occasionally to dote on her boyfriend's troubled wife or mock her husband. Brando is fascinating as the explosively ticking Major, pinched and withdrawn. Taylor is, if anything, even better. I would like to make special mention of the solid Brian Keith, often overlooked in his flashless and pitch perfect turn as Leonora's boy next door. [Cavin]

Then, a 2 sided conversation ensued...

To which Blogger Mr. Cavin added:

Ultimately, when I write up these tiny encapsulations, I've put a little thought into them. That is the product made available here to read. If I did not do this, well, my immediate reactions are not always worth much mention: "wow, hey, this movie is really good" or "what the hell, has anyone on this set ever even seen a movie before?" Sometimes it takes a little disciplined thought to cogently arrive at what the good or bad might mean. Sometimes, this cogency even makes it into the strict word count I try to produce here. Why am I bothering to mention any of this? Well, I was thinking today about one of my immediate reactions to Reflections in a Golden Eye, and frankly, I just wanted to admit it. While I was watching the movie I was pretty transfixed; I was certainly mulling the first thoughtful example above. I was also dying to see this very cast in the original Star Trek television series. Marlon Brando's repressed Major as Captain Kirk, the robotically inscrutable young Robert Forrester as Spock. Brian Keith, TV's own Judge Milton C. Hardcastle, as Dr. McCoy, and the Filipino Houseboy Anacleto as some effeminate mixture of Chekhov and Sulu, dodging back and forth between stations. The only big problem is what to do with Elizabeth Taylor. I say adapting the part of Uhura is far better than forcing some dumb cross-cast sci-fi wormholing Dianna Troi into the original mix. Right? Will you ever be able to watch Reflections in a Golden Eye again?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007 3:16:00 PM  
To which Anonymous 'ell joy added:

Hell, I wanna watch it again right now. (Liz could be Nurse Chapel.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007 12:17:00 AM  

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