Quick Recap: The characters in this movie are the WORST. Marylee Hadley is an alcoholic nymphomaniac who loves jazz and her brother Kyle is no better. He marries a woman he barely knows and then when he finds out he probably can’t have kids, starts drinking heavily again. When his wife tells him that she is in fact pregnant, he punches her and refuses to believe it is his. There’s also a scene where Marylee is dancing around TO JAZZ after slutting it up at the motel and her father goes up to talk to her. Somehow her dancing causes her father to lose his balance and he falls down the stairs and dies.
Fun (?) Fact: someone actually won an OSCAR for this movie. (Dorothy Malone who plays Marylee)
My thoughts: The movie starts with a song about how everything is ‘written on the wind’ and I knew at this moment I was screwed. And just in case the audience was confused, there is an actual wind that blows through the house as Kyle Hadley runs in with a gun. Oy.
This movie does an excellent job cramming as much melodrama as can possibly fit in a two hour time frame. Everyone has issues and everyone’s issues intersect with each other. Marylee Hadley, for example, is in love with Mitch, a family friend, who is in turn in love with Lucy, who is married to his best friend Kyle Hadley, Marylee’s brother. And the reason everyone is awful is never really explained except that the Hadley’s are rich and that breeds evilness? I do love how this movie serves as entertainment but is also a morality tale about the dangers of alcohol and dancing and jazz. Everything comes to a head when Kyle Hadley finds out his wife is pregnant and blames his best friend for knocking her up. He has been drinking too much and so punches her, which in turn causes a miscarriage. At times I felt like I was watching one of those PSAs from a long time ago- ‘One sip of liquor and you’ll end up shooting yourself!’.
The character of Mitch (played by Rock Hudson) was an especially odd addition. He served as the moral compass throughout the film which also made him incredibly DULL. Most of the time he just stood there, mouth slightly ajar and pouting that he couldn’t get what he wanted. The only time he showed true emotion was when he confessed his love for Lucy but then when she revealed she was pregnant, went back to being the ‘aw,shucks’ guy who never has any luck.
I was also put off by Kyle Hadley being played by Robert Stack because I immediately recognized his voice from the show, ‘Unsolved Mysteries’. I kept expecting a subplot about aliens or ghosts. In all honesty, it would’ve made this movie much more bearable.
Final review: 1/5. In reading up on this film, lots of people apparently hated this movie when it came out but then rediscovered it in the 70s and suddenly ‘got it’. I don’t know what there is to get. You’d be better off marathoning a season of Degrassi, if you are looking for some good melodrama.
Where/How I watched it: Netflix, with a bomber sized bottle of Leprechaun Cider. It was much needed to survive this movie.
Up next: Reversal of Fortune