Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 2, 2015


Claudette Colbert looks at Troy Donahue with misgivings
PARRISH (1961). Writer/Producer/Director: Delmer Daves.

"If there's a death warrant for happiness, you've described it."

Ellen McLean (Claudette Colbert) gets a job as a sort of companion to Alison Post (Diane McBain), whose father, Sala (Dean Jagger), refuses to let Ellen's son, Parrish (Troy Donahue), live with them. Parrish nevertheless gets a job working Post's tobacco fields, and becomes friends with the vivacious if unsophisticated Lucy (Connie Stevens). Meanwhile Ellen finds herself drawn to the charismatic tobacco magnate, Jud Raike (Karl Malden), and Parrish soon finds himself with opportunities he may not desire, besides being in the middle of a love triangle with Lucy and Alison -- not to mention Jud's daughter, Paige (Sharon Hugueny). Parrish is a highly enjoyable light drama with some excellent performances. Although Troy Donahue is hardly in the league of the other actors, his brooding, intense quality works for the part and he even manages to do some genuine acting in certain scenes; he certainly doesn't ruin the movie as he did My Blood Runs Cold and may well have upped his game due to the influence of director Daves as well as Colbert and Malden; he proves a good listener if nothing else. Colbert gives a wonderful performance as the free-spirited mother who still has her standards; Connie Stevens and Diane McBain, one earthy, the other patrician, play with conviction; and Karl Malden, in a ferociously powerful performance, positively walks off with the picture. There is also fine work from Jagger [My Son John]; Hampton Fancher [Rome Adventure] as the slimy Edgar Raike; and Huguney as his love-happy sister, Paige. Director of Photography Harry Stradling [Suspicion] gives the picture a fairly glamorous sheen, and all of the aforementioned ladies -- and Donahue -- look stunning throughout. While nowadays the tobacco industry would be more deserving of an expose than a romance, Parrish is still a very entertaining picture. Max Steiner's insinuating musical score adds to the picture's class.

Verdict: Fine acting, interesting script, class production put this over. ***.


angelman66 said...

Ahh, another Troy Donahue! I like this one, too, mostly because I am a mad Claudette Colbert fan...I believe this was one of her last motion pictures. Later on she had a comeback in the miniseries The Two Mrs. Grenvilles with Ann-Margret.

I see that TCM is doing a day of Troy Donahue pics next week, so I will definitely watch this again, as well as Rome Adventure, which is also playing. Also, I believe, My Blood Runs Cold...with Miss Joey Heatherton.


William said...

Don't forget "A Summer Place," which I've got on my list to watch [again] soon.

I am also a big Colbert fan. A friend of mine in Wales just had a big exhibition devoted to her, with pictures and other items -- he really loves Claudette! I thought she was an excellent actress, and there were rare occasions when she didn't give a fine performance.

Colbert and Troy Donahue in the same movie, LOL!