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

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


ALL FALL DOWN (1962). Director: John Frankenheimer.

Young Clinton Willart (Brandon De Wilde) idolizes his older brother, the oddly-named Berry-Berry (Warren Beatty), until it finally comes home to him how much the older man mistreats women after a tragedy occurs. This is an interesting picture, the kind of movie that passed for “adult drama” back in the sixties, but it hasn't worn well with time. The characters aren't developed enough and we never really learn the reason for Berry-Berry's torment (although it's fairly easy to guess at, given the film is based on a novel by James Leo Herlihy and the screenplay is by William Inge); the whole business has a rather suspect psychology behind it. Angela Lansbury and Karl Malden play the parents, Annabelle and Ralph, and while both actors are good, neither of them could chalk this up as one of their more memorable performances. Beatty offers an effective performance, however, if hardly a brilliant one, and Brandon De Wilde comes off the best and most sensitive out of the major players. But the acting honors have to go to Barbara Baxley as the unnamed teacher who gives Beatty a ride and gets taken for one herself; she's just terrific. Otherwise, this just doesn't make much of an impression today.

Verdict: Only if you're curious or a real big Beatty fan. **.

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