Sunday, April 29, 2007
"You're an insensitive pill-popper, Fred, and I'm in love with Maggie. So there!"
Several Lonely People (1959; ToddAO; 123 min.; Peggie Castle, Edmond O’Brien, Biff Bogan, Hugh McHugh, Mindy Bing; music by Elmer Bernstein; DP: Floyd Crosby; written by L. Winchester and John Cheever; directed by Larry Winchester).
Winchester's sole foray into domestic melodrama follows the misadventures of neurotic housewife Maggie Carter (Peggie Castle), her pep-pill-addicted ad-exec husband Fred (Edmond O’Brien), Fred’s shell-shocked war buddy Bill (Biff Bogan), Bill’s nymphomaniac wife Mandy (Mindy Bing), and handsome bachelor neighbor Chad Bartwell (Hugh McHugh). Through two tortuous hours this gang of misfits searches for some sort of fulfillment, some wispy chance of happiness, some brief respite from the echoing vapidity of their suburban middleclass lives, and they fail.
This movie was just too plain depressing for the American public and was quickly yanked from the theatres. Released in a dubbed version in France later that year it was hailed by Jean-Luc Godard in the Cahiers du Cinéma as a masterpiece on the level of the best of Bergman, Renoir, Fellini and Ozu; this review ignited the cult of Winchester in that country which remains fervent to this day.