Friday, September 28, 2007

Inaugural Post

Hello and welcome to my blog. I plan on writing about movies, books and the interaction between the two. Reading seems to be a lost art. And yet, many movies continue to be adapted from literary sources. I recently viewed the old Warner Bros. movie, Parrish, based on the popular novel by Mildred Savage. The movie, starring Troy Donahue, and featuring a pair of mature and youthful relationships, was obviously meant to be a follow-up to the previous year's big success, A Summer Place. But applying that formua to Parrish proved to be a less than effective template to follow. The exteriors of tobacco farms, filmed, I an told, in Saybrook, Connecticut, are glorious. But the interiors are completely phony and unlived-in looking in the tradition of movies from that period. The foyer of Karl Malden's house looks more like a hotel lobby. And his office looks like something out of The Fountainhead. Another negative is Max Steiner's score. He was never my favorite soundtrack composer. And here, the music he creates for the movie seems to have nothing to do with the subject matter. Although far from a classic, I am convinced the movie could have worked better with a score that sounded more Coplandesque. It is reported that the original director of Parrish was supposed to be Elia Kazan, with Warren Beatty in the Troy Donahue role. I don't know why Gadge bailed, but he was replaced by Delmar Daves, who was more of a movie craftsman than an inspired artist. He also produced and wrote the screenplay, and was responsible for all those intense close-ups that were held for just a beat or two too long, and were thus robbed of their power by being made to seem ridiculously melodramatic. The movie involves Troy Donahue with three different young women--Connie Stevens as a trashy tobacco hand, Diane McBain as the proverbial poor little rich girl, and Sharon Hugueny as the daughter of Troy Donahue's nemesis. She first appears wearing rolled-up jeans (blue denim dungarees, as they were called then) and is obviously the one Troy Donahue was meant to be with. By coincidence, Sharon Hugueny also appeared on TCM the other night in Samuel Goldwyn Jr.'s The The Young Lovers, starring opposite another teen heartthob from the same period--Peter Fonda. Fonda's performance here is so embarrassing that he makes Troy Donahue in Parrish look like Warren Beatty in Splender in the Grass. But I digress. If you have thoughts on movies from this period, I would love to hear them.

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