Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1963. Pakula-Mulligan, Boardwalk Productions, Rona. Screenplay by Arnold Schulman. Cinematography by Milton R. Krasner.Produced by Alan J. Pakula. Music by Elmer Bernstein. Production Design by Roland Anderson, Hal Pereira. Costume Design by Edith Head. Film Editing by Aaron Stell. Academy Awards 1963. Golden Globe Awards 1963.
Steve McQueen plays a loose-living New York City musician who thinks he’s going to have a great day when he gets himself a high-paying gig. The prospect of enjoyment is shattered, however, when a girl (Natalie Wood) shows up and announces that she is pregnant thanks to a night they spent together on a cabin retreat. She wants the name of a good doctor who can perform an abortion, which he promises to help her with. This excellent film features Wood at her most stunning and giving one of her most impressive performances as a young Italian-American girl who works as a clerk at Macy’s and longs to get away from her overbearing Brooklyn family. McQueen isn’t in any way believable as Italian himself, but he’s charming and likeable in the role of what is basically a cad. This is one of those great New York films being made in the fifties and sixties that always managed to capture a sly glamour about the Big Apple even when characters find themselves at their lowest. The ending will seem a bit of a cop-out for most hard-edged audiences, but it’s worth it in order to experience the rest of it.