Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Forgotten Movies: Rachel, Rachel

Margaret Laurence is one of my favorite Canadian writers and this movie comes from her book, A Jest of God. This was the first movie Paul Newman directed and he chose his wife to play the lead. This was expert casting because Woodward excelled at playing characters like this one.

Rachel is a single woman in her thirties, an "old maid." Her siblings have grown and moved away from Manawaka, the small town in Canada where the book takes place. Rachel is the unwilling caretaker for her mother, who is frail and needy.

Rachel is needy, too. She would like to find love, a husband of her own, and children, but she does not know how to escape the ties that bind her to the small town and her unrewarding life. Margaret Laurence and Paul Newman in turn lets us feel her frustration and longing.

Unexpectedly, Rachel is faced with a challenge, and with it a chance for growth and fulfillment. It is interesting to find out how Rachel meets this challenge. The movie was made in 1968 and I remember it well.

If I were to make a list of forgotten actresses, Woodward would be near the top.

For more forgotten movies, please visit Todd Mason.


Anonymous said...

We saw this when it first came out but I don't think I've seen it since. I've always liked Woodward a lot. She's one of the examples I always use of past Academy Award winners ignored by the Academy these days. I'd rather see her give an award than Shia LaBeouf or some starlet of the moment.

And stay off my lawn!

Another Woodward-Newman movie I liked was PARIS BLUES (1961).

Jeff M.

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

I remember seeing this movie on a late night TV screening when I was in my teens and really liked it, even if the wistful voice over at the end seemed maybe a little over done. Doesn;t seem to turn up on the tube very much these days despite its fine pedigree. Shame - thanks for the reminder Patti.

pattinase (abbott) said...

These small pictures, with lesser stars, don't get the play they deserve.

Ron Scheer said...

I liked her, Newman, and the rest of the big cast in LONG, HOT SUMMER (1958).

Brian Busby said...

Like Sergio, I saw this in my teens courtesy of late night television. I remember liking it, but little else other than that it seemed so very dark. I refer here to the lighting.

I'm always meaning topic up a movie edition, if only to have a Margaret Laurence book with an alternate title.

Dorte H said...

My, for once you have mentioned a film I have actually seen ;)

Quiet but excellent.

And Margaret Laurence´s "The Stone Angel" is an absolutely wonderful novel. One of my favourites. I taught it in one of my classes some years ago, and even the teenage boys could see this story about the dying woman was outstanding.

pattinase (abbott) said...

THE STONE ANGEL is one of my very favorite novels. She was a gem.

Kent Morgan said...

Come on up to Manitoba and visit Margaret Laurence's home in Neepawa, the actual community where her book was set.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Wouldn't I love to.

iluvcinema said...

I saw this film many a moon ago and remember liking it.

A lot of details escape me now, so I may do a re-watch.