Born in New York and raised in Queens, John Frankenheimer wanted to become a professional tennis player. He loved movies and his favorite actor was Robert Mitchum. He decided he wanted to be an actor but then he applied for and was accepted in the Motion Picture Squadron of the Air Force where he realized his natural talent to handle a camera. After his military discharge he began a TV career in 1953 convincing CBS to hire him as an assistant director, which consisted mainly working as a cameraman at that time. He eventually started to direct the show he was working on as an assistant director. Frankenheimer still didn’t want to direct films. He liked to direct live television, and he would have continued to do it if the profession itself hadn’t cease to exist. He first turned to the big screen with The Young Stranger (1957) which he hated to do because he thought he didn’t understand movies and wasn’t used to work with only one camera. Disappointed with his first feature film experience… read more
Not happy to report the absence in the cast's list of the actor (and, star) playing actually the lead character in this wonderfully touching Frankenheimer's movie: Brandon de Wilde! Yes,the extraordinarily mysterious, elusive, ex child star (Shane, 1951) turned hot teen ager,then, somewhat troubled (drug use,it's said) young,pretty,intense leading man(Hud,1963),cult actor is not even cited! Died tragically in 1972.
Warren Beatty is a smoldering, abusive bunch of confused machismo as Berry-Berry, and Angela Lansbury's mother character is an interesting counterpoint to her role (and its incestuous undertones) in Frankenheimer's *The Manchurian Candidate*, but that schmaltzy ending is just too much to take seriously. Also, though we spend a fair amount of time with each member of the family, they still somehow seem underdeveloped.
A mid-western melodrama from a Wiliam Inge script, ala Picnic, Come Back Little Sheba, or Splendor in the Grass. Good as any of those, perhaps blacker in tone. This was when Frankenheimer was on a roll. He'd recently left directing TV dramas and had an estimable run which began with this one, followed by Birdman of Alcatraz, The Manchurian Candidate, Seven Days in May, The Train, and Seconds. Good cast, a surprise.