In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_alice_through_the_looking_glass

Alice Through the Looking Glass

There is no magic, no wonder, just junk rehashed from a movie that was itself a rehash of Lewis Carroll, tricked out with physically unpersuasive…

Thumb_balpko1iwwmmxte0ffzy9fw3jid

Of Men and War

Bécue-Renard brings his own brutality to the topic of PTSD, by putting us at odds with feeling his subjects' pain, or only studying it.

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives

Reviews

The Fox

The Fox Movie Review
  |  

Indeed, it is the natural ease of the film that is so appealing. Departing from the original setting in D.H. Lawrence's story, director Mark Rydell decided to shoot on location during a Canadian winter. The delicately constructed atmosphere of cold and snow, of early sunsets and chill lingering in the corners, establishes the tone. This will be a film about love, but not about passion. The characters will come together tentatively, unsure that any warm season will follow this cold.



The events take place on a small farm which two young women (Sandy Dennis and Anne Heywood) are attempting to manage. It was their idea to become independent, to get away from the pettiness of the city. Although the film's publicity would indicate otherwise, the two women are not necessarily presented as homosexual.

They are free spirits, fresh out of college, trying to make a success of the farm; the brief lesbian scene which follows the crisis in their lives can be seen, I believe, more as a pouring over of strong emotion than as a "perversion."

The crisis arrives in the form of Paul (Keir Dullea), whose grandfather once lived on the farm. He offers to stay for a few weeks and help with the work. Miss Dennis, who plays an unsure, spontaneous character, agrees enthusiastically. Miss Heywood, who is reserved and lonely, allows herself to be persuaded.

Rydell sets these events securely into the context of the farm life in winter. His photography establishes the farm not only as isolated but also, paradoxically, as serene. The only threat to the small community comes from a fox that preys on the chickens. Miss Heywood cannot quite bring herself to kill the fox, although she sees it several times. Dullea finally shoots it; but, of course, Dullea is also a fox, preying on the two women.

Miss Dennis has a difficult role; after Dullea and Miss Heywood announce that they plan to be married, she must behave badly, annoying them in a childish way. The role could have become ridiculous, but Miss Dennis manages it well.

Dullea is also stronger than he has been in other recent performances. Since "David and Lisa," he has been trapped into playing a series of insecure, weak characters; this time, as the dominant personality, he is altogether successful. And he meets his match in Miss Heywood, who must love him without being overwhelmed by his personality.

Rydell has been faithful to Lawrence in the way he develops the love relationship. Lawrence rarely used conventional plot development to bring his lovers together, Instead, they were drawn together by something compelling in each other's personalities. Done awkwardly, this is unconvincing Lawrence, and Rydell after him, make it believable. What results is a quiet, powerful masterpiece.



Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Memoirs of a Geisha, Part II: How Are Geisha or Nerd Stereotypes Harmful?

Part two of Jana Monji's essay about the portrayal of Asian characters in cinema.

Back to "Roots" with a Multi-Channel Remake of the Television Classic

A review of the History Channel remake of the landmark mini-series, "Roots."

I believe Dylan Farrow

Separating the artist from the art isn't as easy as it sounds.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus