DARLING (1965). Director: John Schlesinger.
Diana (Julie Christie) is a pretty young model/actress/wannabee who leaves her husband for another man (Dirk Bogarde), dallies with yet another man who can help her career (Laurence Harvey), and then marries an Italian prince and becomes even more famous -- but empty. Back when Darling was released it was meant to explore "modern" mores and amorality and was seen as hip and trendy. Over forty years later it's only dated and boring. Churned out by Hollywood, this might have amounted to a slick soap opera with some timeless "entertainment" value -- say, like A Rage to Live. Cobbled together by Schlesinger -- who's done much, much better films -- it just plods along detailing the uninteresting lives of under-developed characters that are just as vapid as the movie itself. Despite some minor similarities, the movie does not really seem to be based on the life of Grace Kelly, as some have theorized. Even in the sixties, Diana's behavior was hardly atypical of people in show business or elsewhere. The sexually ambiguous characters and incidents are handled rather awkwardly in Frederic Raphael's rather poor screenplay (incredibly, he won an Oscar, as did Christie. The performances are perfectly okay, but everyone has done much better in other films.) Very tiresome stuff. Even in 1965 studies of ambitious, amoral people who had affairs and so on was hardly new, and there were much better ones than Darling.
Verdict: Could help with insomnia. *1/2.