DVD - Image B Sound B Extras B-
BD - Image B- Sound A- Extras A-
starring Paul Newman, Piper Laurie, George C. Scott, Jackie Gleason
screenplay by Sidney Carroll and Robert Rossen, based on the novel by Walter S. Tevis
directed by Robert Rossen
by Walter Chaw When one engages in hunting annis mirabilis, one would do well not to overlook 1961. The year after the cinema went insane (Ethan Mordden coins this wonderful phrase that before 1960, you listened to mother or you drove off a cliff--and after it, listen to mother and you're Psycho) is marked by a beloved film based on a Truman Capote novella about two hookers falling in love in New York (Breakfast at Tiffany's) and by Brando's first and only directorial effort, the marvellously murky anti-western One-Eyed Jacks. Billy Wilder guided Jimmy Cagney through his last rapid-fire explosion in a scabrous screed on the early days of globalism in One, Two, Three, while John Huston charted the last gasps of Old Hollywood and the West in The Misfits. In the sexual repression-drives-you-crazy sweepstakes, Elia Kazan's Splendor in the Grass makes time with William Wyler's lesbo-drama The Children's Hour (and there's Splendor's Warren Beatty again in The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone). You want race? How about the new lyrics added to West Side Story's immigrant lament? Or Lancaster cutting a square swath through the Manhattan barrio in John Frankenheimer's The Young Savages? 1961 was a miraculous year for any number of reasons, but count among the big ones Paul Newman's emergence as the quintessential avatar for the entire decade--the scurrilous anti-hero (some point to Steve McQueen, but McQueen was never an asshole on purpose and never an actor at all) who represented the truthy eruption of everything the Eisenhower kids were holding back during those rocket-bra'd, tail-finned years spent basking in the post-nuclear sun of capitalism-as-panacea.