Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1955. Columbia Pictures Corporation. Screenplay by Daniel Taradash, based on the play by William Inge. Cinematography by James Wong Howe. Produced by Fred Kohlmar. Music by George Duning. Production Design by Jo Mielziner. Costume Design by Jean Louis. Film Editing by William A. Lyon, Charles Nelson. Academy Awards 1955. Golden Globe Awards 1955.
The sexual subtext of this adaptation of William Inge’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play has tamed considerably over the years, but an enjoyable, character-driven drama still remains. William Holden plays an ex-convict who seeks out an old friend (Cliff Robertson), now a rich factory owner, in order to ask for his help in getting him back on his feet. He arrives on the very eve of the company’s annual Labour Day picnic, giving him plenty of opportunity to meet the locals of the tiny town. His attempts at trying to fit in and start a normal life are mucked up when he meets Robertson’s beautiful fiancee (Kim Novak) and catches the eye of the aging spinster schoolteacher (Rosalind Russell). Beautifully photographed, brilliantly acted, this is one of Joshua Logan’s better Cinemascope extravaganzas.