A veritable hothouse of strange desires and bizarre fancies, what with Taylor and Brando brooding moodily, brandishing whips, and galloping round on symbolic stallions. Stuck in the married quarters of a Deep South army base, she is carrying on with another officer (Keith), while he hopefully dogs a virginal young soldier (Forster) with a penchant for riding nude in the woods. The soldier meanwhile takes to sneaking into Taylor's room to watch her sleep, and Keith's neurotic wife (Harris) consoles herself in a motherly affair with a cuddly Filipino houseboy. It all ends predictably in murder, but isn't nearly so risible as it sounds. For one thing, Huston's quirkish sense of humour is way ahead of anybody, while the unusually literate script (based on the Carson McCullers novel) manages to lend genuine depth and credibility to the characters. For another, the sense of tranquil summer stagnation is beautifully sustained; the lectures on military history in stifling classrooms, the afternoons spent riding in the forest, the evening drinks and endless card games, and at night the boredom, the frustrations, and the loneliness which make anything possible. All in all, a superbly controlled exercise in the malevolent torments of despair.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Chapman Mortimer, Gladys Hill|