Writer: Albert Maltz, Irene Kamp (Screenplay) Thomas Cullinan (Novel)
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Geraldine Page, Elizabeth Hartman, Jo Ann Harris, Darleen Carr, Mae Mercer
Plot: While imprisoned in a Confederate girls’ boarding school, an injured Union soldier cons his way into each of the lonely women’s hearts, causing them to turn on each other, and eventually, on him.
Tagline – Who is really the captor and who the captive?
Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Twisted and Dark Thriller
Story: The Beguiled starts when a union soldier John McBurney (Eastwood) is injured, dying in the woods during the war, young Amy (Ferdin) finds him and brings him back to the girls boarding school to fix over and hand over to the confederate soldiers.
Head mistress Martha (Page) brings in strict rules to keep John away from the girls, but it isn’t long before John starts using his charm to take advantage of the women, including teacher Edwina (Hartman), eldest student Carol (Harris) and even Martha herself. Everything goes to plan until they learn about his plan and turn the tables on him.
Thoughts on The Beguiled
Characters – John McBurney is a union soldier that has been wounded in the war, he is rescued by the girls of a boarding school as he uses his charm to remain safe with the enemy soldiers looking for him. He knows how to seduce all of the women into loving him and it isn’t long before he has all of them waiting for him. Martha is the owner of the school, she doesn’t want to let John in because she knows a man would only bring trouble, only to know it would be right to fix him before falling under his spell just like the other women. She does have a brother missing in the war too. Edwina is the only teacher in the school, she has never been able to trust a man, though John manages to show her how to trust, though she is the most on edge of the women. Carol is the eldest of the student, she sees John as her first experience with a man, one that she can love and be loved by.
Performances – Clint Eastwood in the leading role is great, he goes against what people would be expecting from him in this villainous role that will make you hate him. Geraldine Page does a great job too, with Elizabeth Hartman giving us a strong performance as the one that seems easiest to seduce. Jo Ann Harris fills the role of the seductive teen well completing the three different generations of women trying to win the heart of John.
Story – The story follows a union soldier taken in by a confederate girl’s boarding school where he uses his charm to lie and win the hearts of the women and girls in the school, until they learn of his ways and turn on him. This shows how the men and women during the war would feel left out by not seeing the opposite of sex for such long periods of time. This shows us just how without communication people can fall for anything and just what will happen if one-man pisses of a lot of women in the same building. This will go in direction you wouldn’t expect and will shock you with just what happens on both sides of the battle
War – The film doesn’t show us too much of the battles o war, only the effects it has on both the men and women, just how far they will go to get what they want and get revenge.
Settings – The film keeps us in one major setting, the boarding school, we see the scale of the building which shows us just how easy it is to operate the way John wants to around the girls.
Final Thoughts – This is a dark thriller that shows us just how far people will go to get what they want during the war, it has a twisted look at what will happen if you upset too many women at once too.
Overall: Eastwood shines as the villain.