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Saturday, June 10, 2017

I THANK A FOOL (1962)

Late Susan Hayward vehicle, Made-in-the-U.K., is moldy as Stilton cheese, and none the worse for it. Taken from a novel Daphne Du Maurier might have disowned, it feels comforting, like a second-rate play you inexplicably enjoyed, ‘opened up’ for filming. Hayward, out of jail after 18 months on a euthanasia charge, is turned down for job after job before suddenly getting a position as companion/nurse to Peter Finch’s mentally unbalanced wife . . . and he’s the prosecutor who sent her to jail! Why has he searched for her, of all people? And just what’s wrong with wife Diane Cilento? Hayward’s late style tended toward over-determination, but here she’s relaxed & sensible, playing nicely against the conventions of Modern Gothic in the story. And just as surprising is Robert Stevens’ smooth megging, a tv director with a natural feel for the size & pace of a CinemaScope production. The twisty wrap-up is silly & barely motivated, but at least it’s speedy. Comforting in a proudly ridiculous, guilty-pleasure sort of way. Fun.

SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: After winning a belated Oscar® for I WANT TO LIVE/’58 (hardly her best), Hayward films always seemed to be sending her off to court. Here, twice.

DOUBLE-BILL: Hayward's at her youthful best in the under-seen beauty DEADLINE AT DAWN/’46 (see below), playing a ‘dance hostess’ who helps a sailor on a murder charge.

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