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3.5
36 Ratings

Private Property

Directed by Leslie Stevens
United States, 1960
Drama, Thriller

Synopsis

When two men take up residence in an abandoned house that overlooks the Carlyles’ swimming pool, the setting becomes a stifling, and ultimately explosive, pressure cooker of sexual frustration, manipulation, and aggression – Film Linc.

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Private Property Directed by Leslie Stevens
I never quite got around to seeing writer-director Leslie Stevens’ arty Los Angeles indie Private Property when it opened in New York in 1960, mainly because the negative accounts of it from Dwight Macdonald and others persuaded me that it wasn’t my cup of tea. It still isn’t, although now that UCLA has restored it after over half a century of neglect, and Cinelicious Pics has brought it out in a nice dual-format package… I’m glad that I’ve belatedly caught up with it.
December 20, 2016
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That the threat of violence (sexual or otherwise) hanging over these scenes doesn’t diminish their erotic charge is a credit to Stevens’ deft handling of tone and the actors’ nuanced performances. The black and white cinematography is by Ted McCord, whose credits include EAST OF EDEN and THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE; the film has a noirish yet sunny look, which befits the theme of desperation amidst middle-class splendor.
August 05, 2016
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The first endeavor by Stevens and his producing partner Stanley Colbert, who billed themselves as “America’s only authentic New Wave filmmakers,” Private Property at times feels closer to the 1961 Johnny Cash-starring home-invasion trash-classic Five Minutes to Live than to Claude Chabrol’s Les Bonnes femmes. But it does sustain an admirably lurid, sticky atmosphere, and Stevens’s voyeuristic premise lends itself to audience implication.
July 03, 2016

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