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(Review originally written at 16 May 2007)

What a nice little surprise this was. This is a fairly unknown and low-key early movie from acclaimed director John Frankenheimer, who with this movie delivers a really effective character-drama. It's different, obviously very low budget and stagy but the movie works out extremely well due to the surprising big cast with great established actors in it.

Angela Lansbury and Karl Malden as a married couple with Warren Beatty and Brandon De Wilde as their sons. It all sounds so unlikely and it takes awhile into the movie to get fully accustomed to it but once the movie really takes off all the pieces fall together and all works out fine.

It's really the acting that makes this movie work. Due to the acting the characters become great and interesting. Everyone has their own unique character in this movie and everyone interacts differently with each other socially. The story itself is rather simplistic and everything in the movie involves around the central characters. It's the main reason why the movie feels a bit stagy but in this particular case I didn't really minded that. It's really a character movie and also a great family-drama. I especially love the way the relationship between the two brothers is brought to the screen. It's very recognizable for people who have a brother in real-life.

In parts the movie gets definitely overdone and becomes predictable, when it comes down to its drama-elements. Nevertheless the movie works out as a powerful and effective one, again due to its fine acting.

I was surprised to see how much the movie gets actually carried by Angela Lansbury. Karl Malden gets toned down in his role but this definitely suits his character and the movie. Warren Beatty was really great as a sort 'rebel without a cause', who is loved and almost worshiped by everyone, even by complete strangers but he himself hates life more than anyone else. Eva Marie Saint also shows up in one fine role and shows why she had already won an Oscar, prior to this movie.

Definitely a movie worth searching out.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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