Saturday, November 13, 2010

Southern Gothic

A Facebook friend posted a short clip from a very strange 1967 movie, Reflections in a Golden Eye. It is set on an Army base in the 1940's. The clip shows Marlon Brando as a married captain obsessed with a handsome young private, cruising him in the rain. The film, which I have seen several times, has the weird, histrionic*, hyperacute, bent-out-of-shape and feverishly repressed feeling of a Tennessee Williams play. Normalcy is nowhere to be seen, regardless of who wants who. As the trailer finally advises, "Leave the children home."

The author of the original novel, Carson McCullers, was a friend of Williams; her most well-known work is The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter.   Although a little Williams usually goes a very long way for me, his assessment of McCullers' work caught me: "Carson's major theme was the huge importance and nearly insoluble problems of human love."

*Elizabeth Taylor is in it. Nuff said.

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