The gothic scenario involves the loveless marriage between the sophisticated and smug Major Weldon Penderton, a repressed homosexual, and his adulterous ditsy wife Leonora, the spoiled daughter of the fort’s former commander. Living next door on the military post is another couple — Colonel Morris Langdon and his daffy wife Alison. After Alison lost her child in labor a few years ago, she cut off her nipples with garden shears and all hubby could say is that she’s neurotic. The fragile Alison is attended to by her unusually loyal eunuch-like cuddly Filipino houseboy Anacleto, who is not merely her servant, confidant, substitute son, sole companion and most influentual source of culture — but will do whatever she desires. Anacleto does an outrageous theatrical queenie routine, but his selfless character is in sharp contrast to the others who only have selfish motivations (David’s performance was a hoot!). All the main characters are moody brooders, egotists, and unhappy souls plagued with varying degrees of psychological issues.
The film opens with a quote from Carson McCullers: There is a fort in the South where a few years ago a murder was committed. The murder is almost forgotten about until the conclusion, when the surprise murder tops off the nutty story with a real bang. Most of the film is about the Major reconciled that he’s impotent and that his wife is doing it with his best friend and fellow officer Morris. Leonora knows how to get under his skin and rides him constantly about his inability to perform, which keeps the vain man in line. The self-absorbed scatterbrained woman is not only interested in sensual things, but in throwing elegant parties, lowbrow humor, status and riding her favorite white stallion Firebird. Leonora goes for regular rides with the Colonel, who envisions himself a natural leader and macho man—looking askance on classical music and culture as something only for the weak. The Colonel’s excellent horsemanship is in sharp contrast with her hubby’s inferior horsemanship, as good horsemanship is equated with being good in the sack.
Taking care of Leonora’s horse is Pvt. Williams, an excellent horseman, who in one of the film’s most reknown scenes rides naked on horseback in the woods. It turns out that the handsome recruit is a virgin, a loner, not given easily to conversation and is a stalker. He stealthily enters Leonora’s bedroom, where she sleeps alone, and spends the night sniffing and fondling her nightie while she sleeps. The major doesn’t know this and in the meantime has developed an obsessive attraction for Williams, whom he thinks is leading him on. When stalking Williams, he picks up the Baby Ruth wrapper discarded by the private and lovingly shapes it into a penis and fondles it when back in his military house. —Ozu’s World of Movie Reviews
Adventure in many forms is the theme of many of John Huston’s films. His characters are constantly searching for “the stuff that dreams are made of” (the famous closing-line of his debut film The Maltese Falcon). Huston glorified this chase despite its frequent disillusionment and false promise, since it represented a flight from the complacent virtues of ordinary life. Like Ernest Hemingway and Joseph Conrad, Huston regarded civilization as a false surface which thinly veiled a hostile nature. Only those who lived at the edge, on the margins of society were regarded by Huston as fellow travellers. In films as diverse as The Treasure of Sierra Madre, The Asphalt Jungle and Under the Volcano, Huston celebrated men who circled the abyss; characters who are driven to plunge head first into the void.
The son of the great theatre and film actor Walter Huston (who would win an Oscar under his son’s direction for his role in The Treasure of Sierra Madre) and crime journalist Rhea Gore… read more
I've just seen it in the original gold tinted print that was shown in theaters in October 1967. For one week only because Warner quickly changed that print for a normal technicolor one as a result of the puzzled reaction of audiences. Reflections in a Golden Eye is a pure masterpiece according to me. Brando, Taylor and Harris give here top-notch performances and some scenes, like the horse rides of naked Pvt. Williams or the final scene with its camera hysterically filming the scene of the crime , are already part of Movie History. Indispensable.
A colossal waste when you consider the talent involved. If you were to let a bunch of theater students gang rape Tennessee Williams, then lobotomize him before sitting him down in front the world's most shitty typewriter Reflections in a Golden Eye is what you'd end up with. Anyone who had anything to do with this movie should be ashamed of themselves.