The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter (1968)

ROBERT ELLIS MILLER

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5

USA, 1968.  Warner Brothers/Seven Arts.  Screenplay by , based on the novel by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1968.  Golden Globe Awards 1968New York Film Critics Awards 1968.  

Moving film adaptation of the novel by Carson McCullers. A deaf-mute man (Alan Arkin) leaves town to follow his only friend () who has been placed in an asylum.  In his new location he rents a room in the house of an impoverished family whose father is unable to work since an accident put him in a wheelchair. The daughter of the house (a superb Sondra Locke) is a burgeoning teenager who is about to experience the difficulties of adolescence, while Arkin makes the friendship of a racist doctor () whose daughter (Cicely Tyson) has her own troubles when a bunch of white teenagers attack her boyfriend. It feels more like a novel than a movie, with its small-arcs and character details, but the direction and performances are excellent and it is never for a moment boring. Arkin is delicately sympathetic, his hushed mannerisms and quiet emotionality perfectly opposed to Locke’s brash, fiery rages.

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