By Freda Bruce Lockhart NE of Joanne Woodward's first big successes was The Long Hot Summer, a richly entertaining picture of la dolce vita in the deep Southern United States based on short stories by William Faulkner.
In Woman of Summer (" X ", Carlton) Miss Woodward is hack in the state of Kansas under the same producer, Jerry Wald, based on a play by William Inge. I only know Inge's work from the cinema where it seems (in Splendour in the Crass for example) to coarsen the already
sensational elements in Faulkner and Tennessee Williams without the magic of either.
Where The Long Hot Summer made the spectator aware of the sunshine as well as the heat, the mint juleps and the trotters, Woman of Summer has a steamy, sleazy atmosphere.
As Lila Cireen. one-time belle of Salison, who returns home not a famous star but the girl who gets guillotined nightly in a magician's turn, Miss Woodward is still an affecting actress of some range. Her nose may not have the same delightful rahhity downturn it once had. She is closely identified with the "Method" school. But she can hold her own in scenes with Claire Trevor. an actress twice her age, who has always been able to endow every class of character with the total conviction of truth.
Miss Trevor plays the friend from Lila's respectable childhood who extends hospitality to Lila, left stranded by her dreadful stage partner, Once Lila has met and captivated her hostess's young soil (Richard Beymer) the story becomes one more tear-jerking variation on the perennial ArmandMarguerite theme.
Characters and crises are too boldly over-written, too crude to carry more than momentary conviction.
Y t would be difficult not to he moved as well as distressed by Miss Woodward's portrait of Lila's downfall from guillotine to striptease with its ghastly audience. Richard Beyrner makes the romantic young man credible even le his inadequacy and Carol Llinley touches a welcome note of innocence as the girl he is meant to marry. A good joke is the presence of Gypsy Rose Lee in person as a member of the tatty troupe.
1 IT may only be their "shock tactics" that makes "X" certificate pictures so often seem convincing, but it would he difficult to deny that many "Ucertificates are often woefully lacking in impact. Come Fly With Me (-Li,' Empire) showed even promise of being an attractive light entertainment. A simple trio formula for three air hostesses on a New YorkParis flight, with three of Hollywood's most attractive young actresses — Dolores Hart, Pamela Tiffin and Lois Nettleton — and three tried performers to play opposite them seemed almost incapable of coming unstuck.
Indeed, after a good meal, in the right company, the unexacting will find those charming creatures, smartly dressed in uniform and pleasantly photographed in cotour, easy to took at. The lack of witticism in the dialogue, and a sagging plot line make two of the tales just as easy not to listen to.
Pretty Pamela Tiffin is the silly one, enchanting Dolores Hart surprisingly the snobby, snappy one. The only surviving couple. dramatically speaking, are Lois Nettleton (seen here in Period of Adjustment) and Karl Malden as a millionaire widower. because both are such splendid actors.
ATHOROUGHLY unsophisticated audience. if any still exist. might be amused by the outlines of My Six Loves ("U." Plaza). But it is so crudely sketched, so much larger than life. that I could not decide whether Debbie Reynolds was more unlikely as a big Broadway star, as a rescuer of six terrible infants from their doubledyed wicked uncle and aunt:' instructing a teenage delinquent boy on the existence of God, or as the little minister's bride.
For a moment I hoped her enthusiasm for a great thematic role in terms of "such a challenge" might be satirically intended.