|Geraldine Page and Laurence Harvey|
"Ask for all -- and be prepared to get nothing." -- Alma.
In a small Southern town around the turn of the century, Alma Winemiller (Geraldine Page) has been in love with her next door neighbor, doctor's son John Buchanan Jr. (Laurence Harvey), since they were children. Alma would prefer a more spiritual romance with John, while the lusty and somewhat wild and free-wheeling John would prefer just the opposite. Alma's father (John McIntire) is the town preacher and her mother is mentally disturbed, having had a breakdown years before. John's father is incredibly stern, which perhaps leads his son to take up with the daughter (Rita Moreno) of the owner of the local gambling den. Alma eventually commits what John deems a betrayal, but the bond between them still exists, until both realize that the tables have turned ... This very odd "romance" is based on the 1948 play by Tennessee Williams (revised some years later as Eccentricities of a Nightingale); Page played the part in a 1950's revival. Page, who received an Oscar nomination, gives a very strong performance, although at times she seems overly theatrical. Harvey is good but not in her league. Una Merkel [Destry Rides Again] also received an Oscar nomination for her notable performance as Alma's mother. Earl Holliman does some nice work as a traveling salesman that Alma encounters at the finale. Pamela Tiffin [The Fifth Cord] was "introduced" in this film as the daughter of a madame played zestfully by Lee Patrick [Caged]; Tiffin never developed into a major star.
|Geraldine Page as Alma|
Verdict: Star-crossed, touching romance with some wonderful acting. ***.