A sexually-charged Southern Gothic cult film that's monumentally underappreciated. Ranks as one of Clint Eastwood and Don Siegel's better films. This film is much better than the recent remake.
This is the original Clint Eastwood version of the film which Colin Farrell has now remade. I have yet to see Farrell and Kidman's ideal of this great film but I find it hard to believe anyone could best Eastwood in this role.
I wanted to see the first movie made from the book that I'd read recently and some parts were very similar, but some of the story-line had changed. I found the book rather boring until the last 50+ pages and the movie quite the opposite - not at all boring and fast-paced.
I expect there will be renewed interest in this 1971 film because of the recent Sofia Coppola version. Both are based on a book by Thomas Cullinan. In one of his most uncharacteristic roles and most unusual movies, Clint Eastwood plays a wounded Union soldiers who hides out in an all-girls school in the South. His masculine presence disrupts the cocoon-like world of the school, led by headmistress Geraldine Page. It has an atmosphere that's both languidly Southern and erotically fraught and though nothing much happens, it's never dull. The new version has been criticized for excluding the sole black character. Eastwood and director Don Siegel worked on 5 films together, including "Dirty Harry" and "Escape from Alcatraz."
I came to know of this film as being one of those featured in Sight and Sound magazine under the title, "Southern Gothic." I was surprised of Clint Eastwood's role as being anti-hero here. The film is oozing with one form of eroticism from that of outright lust to the 2 young ladies, to a restrained and controlled one for the school proprietress and even to the young lass who saved him. Quite an enjoyable film specially in understanding and appreciating 60s=made films.
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