Tuesday, April 15, 2014

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.movie 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 have 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.


George said...

I'm with you on Woodward being a forgotten actress. She deserves better.

Bill Crider said...

I liked this movie, too, and I'm a big fan of Woodward's work.

Charles Gramlich said...

Never saw it, I'm afraid.

Yvette said...

I don't think Woodward is that forgotten, Patti. Do you really think so? Sad if that's the case.

I always remember her in THE LONG HOT SUMMER and her amazing turn in THE THREE FACES OF EVE and in an awkwardly bad movie with great chemistry between Woodward and Yul Brynner, THE SOUND AND THE FURY based theoretically on the Faulkner book.

Kelly Robinson said...

I think far too many people only know of Woodward as Newman's wife, rather than as an actress in her own right.

Brian Busby said...

I've long thought that A Jest of God was Laurence's best novel, never quite understanding why it's so often considered inferior to The Stone Angel, The Diviners and The Fire-Dwellers.

You've reminded me that I must pick up a movie edition (with movie title) some day.

Margot Kinberg said...

She's a great actress, so I'm glad you featured her, Patti. And I think I've seen this film. Now that I read your comments on it, I ought to try to find it again.

Anonymous said...

She certainly isn't forgotten by me. I always liked her in lighter moments as she played comic scenes well. I sort of liked this when it came out because I've always liked her but I haven't seen it again since that first time.

Jeff M.