The Country Girl
Reviewed in June 2010
Director: George Seaton. Cast: . Screenplay: George Seaton (based on the play by Clifford Odets).

Photo © 1954 Paramount Pictures
Brassing and drumming away over NYC skyline; looks like Aged in Wood rehearsal, asst meekly offering coffee; WH's complaint baldly expository; a lot of guys who can act better than FE and sing better, but none who do both as well; I'M NOT ASKING YOU TO LIVE WITH HIM, I JUST WANT YOU TO LIVE WITH HIM; BC's already waiting in wings - did he hear all that?; no numbers exactly, the music's woven in and out; there's barely a SOUND in this theater exc dialogue; nice unbroken shot of BC getting into camera offstage; Simpletons Noodle-heads, you're all - if you don't take advantage of my cure-all; v. few cutaways from BC's perf; given the steady 3/4-shot, it's actually vitalizing when we cut to long shot of stage; surprised & quickly haunted by prospect of a lead; $200k riding on this; good, reliable, adequate, normal, sober actor (b/c """"" perf), 6.60!; the objector's called Cookie; "You're good, Bernie, but you're not that good"; breathe life into a corpse; binge or forgetting lines; 2-week contr might bust his confidence?; he's gone - TRY THE NEAREST BAR (BWWWWOOOOMM - brass crash); GK opening door in huge glasses as WH comes looking for BC; "Will he do?" she didn't know he was auditioning; is she limping?; hard: "If you're wondering if you can get Frank for very little money, you can"; asking about drink; "touche"; and you try to look like an old lady & you're not; high, slow, etherized: "Say, now that's quite a pearl of wisom, may I quote you"; first CU: "just a girl from the country" theater people a complete mystery; Montaigne, Balzac; chewing gum LP to "London Bridge"; I can't go to bat unles I feel everyone's rootin for me; "You, Lunt, and Jolson" exagg sentiment; Are you for him or againt him? "I'm HIS WIFE"; how 'bout a little truth; won't pity him if he fucks it up; gets her own shot for "Don't Keep Things From Me"; exasp that he didn't demand a full-run contract; Frank strategizing; GK, full of face, looking perturbed, like she's seen this before; (didn't enter for about 15 min); 10 days into rehearsal; it's true, I had no idea what BC was reciting; shutting off stage lights pulls out inner essences; ((their son died during most drink-spoiled run)); WH: "everyone has trouble at home"; BC defending her, She wasn't always like that - a nobility; (WH Juliets to Lady Macbeths); was ageless; BC's face comes into light when he mentions son; GK dead drunk the night son died, tried to cut her wrists, jealous of BC's distraction in his work; possessive micro-managing a prosthesis for no son, no work; almost green & white; once she set fire to hotel suite, and HE started hitting bottle hard; one thing for him to be older, another for her to be too young to have had such a long past; WH on women: "They can get awful bent out of shape sometimes, can't they?"; BC wanted to trick her into "convincing" him to take a role he wanted; GK in leg-splayed dark silhouette, with crashing music cue; GK: How is my husband doing?; strings played high and taught at necks of instruments; "Nothing quite so mysterious as a dark theater" weirdly clouded half-light on upper half of hr face; GK wants to get to know Mr Dodd better - a sexual advance, a confrontation of rivals?; "Yes... the theater's mysterious..." (what does she think she's saying?); and I'd appr if you didn't ADD to those worries, Mrs Elgin; WH wants her on guard; "Are you a critic or a wife?"; gaming her own role - can't praise or critique BC; WH: "It's a pity that Leonardo DaVinci didn't have a wife... he might have really gotten somewhere"; BC haunted that GK & WH obv not getting along; foggy white dissolve to BC singing "The Search Is Through" way back when with wife and kid in rec studio; son waving cond wand, GK beaming & chuckling; ((ok, they were never going to forego this)); boom mikes Odets; oh, no you don't, he'll grow up to be a hairdresser or something; BC not fully up to CU as J hit by car; BC touched to be coming on radio but wrecked that it's THIS song; GK walks in and is body-blowed by it; but reacts with physical severity; beer bottles roll under kitchen table; sleeping pills, one a night?; GK thinks it was an accident?; Boston c. 40min; scrim reveal, more people in rehearsal audience; "The Land Around Us"; he does seem like a low, slow crooner for a Bway stage; neat theatrical trick of buildings sudd appearing; "And if we FAIL to build a JAIL we hope you won't mind"; he's phys pretty inert, even saggy; you're dong just wonderfully, appl dickey: BC "I am not and you KNOW it" hes starting to come apart; two old biddies in the cast think he's sweet; BC removes hairpieces onscreen; WIFE was backstage, she's enough to upset anyone; Uta Hagen orig; GK You SMOKE too much; after eery first dress rehearsal, I always sit in a draft, hoping to catch pneumonia - it never works; GK: "Next day you learn he's hung himself from the chandelier..." is that Frank? "Yes and no..." noncommittal line readings; lines sound post-looped, closer to a mic than men's; "Did it ever occur to you that you and your strength might be the reason he IS weak"; she's doing everything in her power to make him a success in this; where is the rest of this woman as she's doubling over in pained, soppy humiliation; GK, crumbling, glistening, sour: "Yes, THEY have respect for you, Frank"; GK waching like hawk from next bed, gauging cough, knowing BC's smoking and agitating himself into a dark place; she's really hoping reviews will be good; BC looks bleary and slapped by what he reads, no dialogue; "Yeah, I don't worry none about these out-of-town critics..." an inveterate prevaricator about his own woes; "Elgin lacks authority in a role that cries for it" - "Because his wife has too much of it"; MAN, we're going right into misogyny; WH re-blocking to make BC dead center, which he's not sure he wants; John Cullum-y; BC freaking out, sonic flashback to accident as he takes photo w/ prop Wanted poster; she's knitting in giant specs; Frank, Leave The Bottle Here - But I Need It - LEAVE IT HERE - I NEED IT; "The last time we talked, Mr Dodd, you reduced me to tears"; "Why is that women always think they understand men better than men do?" "Maybe because they live with them..." / "After handling a cunning Drunkard for 10 yrs"; "To be frank, I find you slightly grotesque, Mrs Elgin"; WH might "bend the truth" but he'll get a perf; he wants the actor he once was, she wants the MAN he once was; imper voice, quivery face: "I MAY let you have him!"; "Let me tell Frank in my own way, on my own time"; she's infuriated that he won't admit to doubts and weakness; WH deduces that GK is undermining him w/ the 22% cough syrup - "frustrated females"; Holden no less misogynist than in Network; "You going back to New York?" "I Don't Know Why Not" NOW GET DRESSED! suspicions of adulterous dalliance; other bottle in huge under-bed boot AND MUSIC CAN'T LET IT GO; Jacqueline Fontaine low-voiced bar singer, looks like J Holliday; JF recogn him, and he looks scraped out; spilled drink: "Coulda happened to anybody, just an accident" - of course invokes dead son (DUH); BC hauntedin CU by crescendoing odl recording of his voice, shatters mirror behind bar by tossing tumbler; SIT UP, DON'T ACT AS IF I'M BEATING YOU, SIT UP!!; BC sniveling at jail table, can barely even hold his fake people-pleasing together; strange, clumsy inserts on WH amid suicide talk; WH big, bearish, theatrical yanking his wrists; BC a puddle of oil; "Didn't you recognize any of it? That was his big speech in one of the plays you admired him in, when you were a hat-check boy"; MAY you SMOKE - what's that supposed to be, homage to a lady?; WH still doesn't know about kid's accident - was this true in play?; "Worse than that, he's shunned any responsibility like the plague" in slanting Venetian blind shadows, hugging her arms; wouldn't have more kids - wouldn't pick out a coat or a suit by himself; twice left, twic returned, he's a helpless child; well, then maybe you've LEARNED SOMETHING; HE'LL BE IN THE STRONG, STURDY HAND OF BERNIE DODD!; All I want is my own name and a modest job to buy sugar for my coffee!; he kisses her?? really?? everyone comes out of THAT looking awful...; esp Victor Young and William Holden; "How could you be so angry at someone you didn't even know..."; Hands clasped at breast: "No one has looked at me as a woman, for years and years" - amateur faroff look; "If he doesn't go through with this show, he'll never work again"; You kissed me - don't let it give you any ideas, Mr Dodd; weird look of ecstasy on her face as he leaves; I'm in no mood to slit my throat in public (WH); BC's hair white, his face just destroyed; YOU KEEP TALKING AS IF I DO THIS ON PURPOSE, I CAN'T HELP IT, BERNIE, little theatrical circular hand-gesture; wh: IT WAS JUST A CRUTCH, and you know it; BC to WH: "Wait'll you've had a couple of flops and people stop writin aboutcha and stop lookin atcha..." "Even when I was the biggest, I've always been afraid"; more intense b/c of piece's arc or becase GK is gone?; superimp playbill, diss to audience, looking like awfully shallow theater; "Ralph" the heavily reharsed black dresser; all spiffed up backstage; naybobs and critics; "Larry's right, you know - from now on it's his show"; IT'S BEEN A LONG 9 WEEKS - A JOB IS HOME TO A, HOMELESS MAN"; Georgie, 5 wks ago I kissed a woman, a married woman, and now I know I love her - I don't knwo where to turn; he wants to know if she'll leave him!; full-dress "The Land Around Us" w/ WH & GK looking on; Cookie apologizing, and BC demands he include GK in these regrets; "first kind word you've had for either one of us"; dying gray out of temples; coffee party, waiting for reviews; BC spies her with WH in library, through open door - he's concerned...; dress exposing legs as she sits; BC: "Just about anybody can face a crisis - it's that everyday livin' that's rough" - BC's warmth actually makes this interesting; married for happiness, leaving for happiness?; admits an "element of truth" in her craving to control him; "Something I've got to work out for myself, whether with you or without you" - suddenly so apostrophic; 10 of the roughest years anybody ever spent outside of a concentration camp (!!); I SUSPECT HE SHOULDN'T GO; " least I know it's a performance"; and there's that tormenting song again, and his bile rises...; she hears the song, rushes to quiet pianist, sees BC crossing the room like a ghost; are BC & GK both being freed of their bond as they listen to this and stare at each other?; "And you're loyal, and steadfast, and devoted - I like that in a woman" - of course, Frank is gone; maybe another sound of screeching tires?; WH peeking out the sheer curtain at GK running after BC in huge faraway ELS, very empty block, swells of reassuring if melancholic music; fadeout as WH flips through Times & Tribune looking for review; HUGE ELISION in which WH & GK "fell in love" during all those weeks

Academy Award Nominations and Winners:
Best Picture
Best Director: George Seaton
Best Actress: Grace Kelly
Best Actor: Bing Crosby
Best Screenplay: George Seaton
Best Cinematography (Black & White): John F. Warren
Best Art Direction (Black & White): Hal Pereira & Roland Anderson; Sam Comer & Grace Gregory

Golden Globe Nominations and Winners:
Best Actress (Drama): Grace Kelly

Other Awards:
New York Film Critics Circle: Best Actress (Kelly; also cited for Dial M for Murder and Rear Window)
National Board of Review: Best Actress (Kelly; also cited for Dial M for Murder and Rear Window); Best Actor (Crosby)

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