Young American actor Dean Stockwell plays Paul Morel the sensitive lead trying to become a writer, but the film is dominated by two great performances from Wendy Hiller and his fiercely protective if domineering mother and Trevor Howard as her embittered husband, a coal miner. Their battles form the backbone of the film, as Paul tries to establish his independence and his relationships with with pious Miriam (Heather Sears) and the worldly older married woman Clara Dawes (Mary Ure). It may be rather forgotten now, but was a ‘prestige’ picture (one of 20th Century Fox’s literary classics little seen now) and was nominated for seven Academy Awards including best film and best director.
The arrival of Echo O’Brien, the “old maid from Toledo” (Eva Marie Saint in another stunning performance) upsets the balance of the house, Clint becomes infatuated with her but she and Berry-Berry embark on a doomed romance and she gets pregnant, but he cannot handle the responsibility and reverts of his mean nature beating up women, as Clint finally sees how shallow and empty and hate-filled he is. I have written about this here before, as per the labels. It remains a pleasure from that good year for Frankenheimer – he also turned out THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE and BIRDMAN OF ALCATRAZ that year. De Wilde also had a good role in HUD the following year, but died in a traffic accident when 30 in 1972. Gay writer Herlihy went on to write "Midnight Cowboy" and did some acting too, he appears with Jean Seberg (see below) in the 1963 IN THE FRENCH STYLE, another favourite.
The worst thing here is to be a coward, as John realises, coping with his blustering father (Andrews) and his deepening friendship with the Jewish boy Mark Stein. But there is a real bullet among the blanks in their training exercises …
Two perfect mid-60s British black and white romantic dramas set in Ireland - both from Edna O'Brien stories, and both directed by Desmond Davis are 1964's THE GIRL WITH GREEN EYES and I WAS HAPPY HERE in 1966, starring Sarah Miles (a world away from her other overblown Irish romance for David Lean). I have written about these here before (Sarah, Rita, Edna O'Brien, Ireland labels). They do though make a perfect double bill. O'Brien's theme in both is the passage of love as her Irish country girls love and lose and set up new lives in London.