While The Innocents is Clayton’s masterpiece, or at least his most perfect film, The Pumpkin Eater is his riskiest and perhaps his most characteristic work. It’s brutally incisive yet drifting, unresolved and mysterious yet painstakingly aware of the deepest hurts and humiliations that the characters suffer.
apparently, getting back to the reckless fertility of nature does not lead one to refinement, but to a "beastly" underdevelopment of senses and eclipse of reason. the body as a vehicle, and child bearing as ceaseless defense against the outer world. though, i guess there are thousands of other ways to get idiotic, than turning oneself into a bacterially divisive child machine.. doris lessing would have a word to say.
Could easily have become maudlin tosh but not with Clayton's sense of nuance and heightened sensibility. All the performances are brilliant including James Mason's slimy turn and a young MILDRED ROPER - a scene stealing Yootha Joyce. Clayton wasn't prolific but his best films always refresh my love for this art form. Sublime score by GEORGES DELERUE. He is the only film composer whose music I listen to, on its own.
Jack Clayton had such interesting casting ideas. Bancroft, here, and Simone Signoret in "Room At The Top." You would think that they would not have been the obvious choices but they both work brilliantly.