Ralph and Annabell Willart are a feuding couple who are constantly bickering over their worthless, good-for nothing son Berry-Berry. When Berry-Berry begins yet another meaningless love affair, this time with an older woman named Echo O’Brien, he really gets his parents at each others’ throats.
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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.
Made in the days Frankenheimer was churning out gem after gem before making the schlock he did later in his career. Eva is excellent as usual, and Beatty is great here in an early role which reminds of his performance in Splendor in the Grass. Malden and Lansbury provide solid supporting work, and De Wilde steals every scene hes in with his youth and exuberance/innocence. 4 stars, a sometimes passed over 60s gem.
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.