Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Don't Judge a Movie by Its VHS Cover.
Growing up, every time I passed by the Classics shelf in my video club I'd stare with wide eyes at all the riches I'd yet to see in my film education.
This way I usually passed "Separate Tables" looked at it in a weird way and never even bothered to read the back cover to see what the movie was actually about.
When I became an Oscar obsessive I realized the film had won David Niven a Best actor Oscar in 1958 (a year on which my knowledge is quite limited) and Niven, let's put it this way, has never been one of my favorite actors (I blame the godawful "Around the World in 80 Days" for feeling like this).
However; I finally ended up watching the film (in my ongoing attempt to watch every Best Picture nominee ever made), and to my surprise it was a pretty good movie, damn good actually.
Excellent cast, a brilliant screenplay and an altogether marvelous experience.
What I thought would be an affected comedy of manners was instead a serious ensemble drama providing some career best work for the likes of Burt Lancaster (he should've been nominated instead of Niven) and Rita Hayworth.
I was also surprised to see how good, if a bit forced, Deborah Kerr was playing a frumpy, submissive daughter (think Bette Davis in "Now, Voyager" and what are the odds her mom is also played by Gladys Cooper).
The plot touches some rather hard topics, they say the word "sex" more times than I thought would've been decent for the era and according to sources the film was rather scandalous at the time of its release.
Now it's pretty tame though, but it's still worth a watch.
And would you blame me for thinking this would suck with a cover like this?