Saturday, May 31, 2008

Autumn Leaves (Robert Aldrich, 1956) C

In this Robert Aldrich film, Joan Crawford plays a lonely spinster who suddenly falls in love with a handsome stranger (Cliff Robertson). They get married on a whim and all is well until Crawford catches Robertson in a small lie, which soon escalates into madness after visits from his ex-wife and father. Aldrich, the director of such gothic works as What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte, does a fine job in the beginning of setting up the melodrama and the beginnings of a delicious plot twist. But, somehow, neither of these devices are developed completely. The melodrama aspects weren't as trashy as they could have been, but neither were they on a Sirksian level. There was a slight hint at some kind of twist, with the shot of Robertson's ex-wife and husband embracing in the hotel room, but nothing about this relationship was explored beyond this scene. Autumn Leaves isn't a complete failure, but it's not as successful as its pedigree and beginning suggest.

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