Thursday, August 23, 2012
FROM THE TERRACE
"I guess he hated me so much he couldn't even stand to be alive on the day I got married."
Alfred Eaton (Paul Newman) has always been in the shadow of his older brother who died, and has a terrible relationship with his father, Samuel (Leon Ames), who berates his neglected wife, Martha (Myrna Loy) for her drinking and her adulterous affair. Eaton's bad luck continues when he marries Mary (Joanne Woodward), who still has a big thing for old boyfriend Jim (Patrick O'Neal), but things look up when he meets Natalie Benzinger (Ina Balin). The trouble is that Eaton's boss thinks infidelity is worse than a divorce, Mary has no desire to stop being Mrs. Eaton, and Alfred has to choose between true love and his career. Newman saunters through the movie with aplomb and has several good moments, Woodward is sexy and interesting, Balin is lovely [if perhaps too understated at times], and Loy almost walks off with the picture as Alfred's lonely and alcoholic mother. Ames plays against type and is quite effective. This entertaining study and dissection of the American dream was based--probably loosely -- on a novel by John O'Hara. Nice score by Elmer Bernstein.
Verdict: Reasonably absorbing slice of Americana with some good performances. ***.