Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Forgotten Movies: A MEMBER OF THE WEDDING



Based on the novel by Carson McCullers, this film details the tumultuous and difficult coming of age of a twelve year old girl (Harris) when she learns her brother is getting married and struggles to come to grips with it. Ethel Waters plays the woman who cares for her; Brandon De Wilde, her cousin.

For anyone who doubts the hysteria, the pain, the loneliness of teenage girls, this film (and novel) proves a point. For a certain type of girl, life needs to be extraordinary. Frankie was one and you can only hope she can find a way out of her town and into a wider world. 

Harris was nearly thirty when she played this part. Some may say her performance is over the top, but if you read the book, as I am now, you will see she nailed it. Fred Zinneman directed this, a film produced Stanley Kramer failed to find any merit in. In fact, you can see from the poster above, how he tried to center a wedding rather than the real heart of the book.

This book and film is in the long tradition of Southern writers who feel melodrama is nothing to be ashamed of. You can see most or all of this film on you tube.

On another note, be sure to stop by B.V. Lawson's blog today and meet one of her characters. She has links to other writers undertaking the same challenge. 

11 comments:

Bill Crider said...

Hadn't thought of this one in years. Thanks for the reminder. I read two or three books by McCullers 50 years or so ago and liked them all.

Margot Kinberg said...

Oh, I remember reading this novel, Patti! I admit I've never seen the film, but your post brings the story back.

Anonymous said...

It's Fred Zinnemann. He won Best Director Oscars for FROM HERE TO ETERNITY and A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS.

Jeff M.

George said...

Like Bill Crider, I read McCullers decades ago and really liked her work. I'll be tracking down this movie this week.

Anonymous said...

I didn't realize Julie Harris was from Grosse Pointe.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

The rich part.

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

Been absolutely ages since I saw this - thanks Patti, I just have to make to time to watch it again. I also remember linking the the adaptation of HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER with an amazing Alan Arkin with Sondra Locke in what i think was her cinema debut.

Charles Gramlich said...

I'll have to check out the book. Never seen the movie.

Yvette said...

I think I read this many MANY years ago, Patti. Might even have seen the film since something is clicking in my memory box. :) I liked Ethel Waters screen presence so much and loved Julie Harris and Brandon DeWilde (such a tragic end for such a fine young actor).

No matter what Julie Harris did, it was always tinged with bittersweetness. I remember her most from EAST OF EDEN.

seana graham said...

I was a child when I saw this on television and it rather haunted me. I read the book as a teenager and was struck by how faithful the movie had been to the book.

My book group read it at some point and I liked it in a different way. Recently we read The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, and I absolutely marveled at that one. Have yet to see the movie of that one, though, although I did see part of the beginning once.

pattinase (abbott) said...

We read THE HEART too. And I also liked REFLECTIONS OF A GOLDEN EYE-the book not the movie.