The Beguiled (1971)

Director: Don Siegel

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.

PerformancesClint 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.

StoryThe 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

WarThe 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.

SettingsThe 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.


Scene of the Movie –
The amputation scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The clips where we see how John does lie.

Final ThoughtsThis 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.

Rating

 

 

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

casting card

 

Plot: A small-town doctor learns that the population of his community is being replaced by emotionless alien duplicates.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Pure Classic

 

Story: Invasion of the Body Snatchers starts when Dr Miles Bennell (McCarthy) being restrained claiming to have a big story behind it all. We flashback to hear his story of how he returned to his town to find his patients book and cancelling appointments as well as resident claiming their relatives are not relatives.

When Miles learns that there have been many other cases in the area he starts to suspect foul play. Things take a terrifying turn when Jack Belicec (Donovan) finds a strange body not quite complete with a similar size body as himself only to find out there is another one of his love Becky (Wynter). Turning to Dr Kauffman (Gates) he dismisses everything but Miles finds himself battle what he thinks is his friends changing into these body snatchers.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is always going to be a classic story about paranoia and what it creates within a small community. This does what many horrors fail to achieve and that is create suspense and terror in nearly every scene and you much like the characters we just don’t know who to trust through the film. The flashback feel does create the terror but also does take away any peril from Miles character. That would be the only bad side to this story but for the time it comes off very effective.

 

Actor Review

 

Kevin McCarthy: Miles Bennell is the local doctor who is telling the story of what is going on sharing he experiences back in his small town. He starts getting a large number of cases leading to nothing before a strange body shows up. He has to get to the bottom of the reason why there are body snatchers in this small town. Kevin is great in this leading role showing the strength needed in a world completely against you with something you just don’t understand.

Dana Wynter: Becky Driscoll has recently moved back to the small town too she is the love interest of Miles who has always been one step away from becoming a couple. She is on the run with Miles as they are trying to get the bottom of this case. Dana is great in this role back when the woman would be the sidekick to the lead.

Larry Gates: Dan Kauffman is a fellow doctor who dismisses anything going on in the town as just mass hysteria, but we learn that he has alternative motives. Larry is good in this role being the voice of reason if this was real.

King Donovan: Jack Belicec is the first one to discover the body before it has taken over him he calls Miles to look into what is happening only to work with him to uncover the truth. King is good in this role but you know which direction his character will go.

Support Cast: Invasion of the Body Snatchers has your typical horror supporting cast with most of the cast being people who have been captured or has their body snatched.

Director Review: Don SiegelDon gives us a suspense driven horror that was one of the best for the time and still holds up today.

 

Horror: Invasion of the Body Snatchers uses the horror elements of not knowing what is happening to make this one really shine through the horror genre.

Sci-Fi: Invasion of the Body Snatchers has the elements of the sci-fi angle by having the snatchers coming from out of space making this a true sci-fi classic.

Thriller: Invasion of the Body Snatchers keeps us on edge from start to finish because the panic created from the opening scene lets us know what we are heading into.

Settings: Invasion of the Body Snatchers keeps the story set in a small town showing how taking over could make this a reality for the time.
Special Effects
: Invasion of the Body Snatchers uses great effects t the time period in question.

Suggestion: Invasion of the Body Snatchers is one I think all horror fans should watch just to see how far the genre has come with its great ideas. (Horror Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Pod births.

Worst Part: Could have been longer.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $417,000

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

Tagline: The original Black & White classic

 

Overall: Brilliant sci-fi classic that will make you think twice when talking to anyone you know.

Ratingcard

 

 

Hell Is for Heroes (1962)

logoDirector: Don Siegel

Writer: Richard Carr, Robert Pirosh (Screenplay) Robert Pirosh (Story)

Starring: Steve McQueen, Bobby Darin, Fess Parker, Harry Guardino, james Coburn, Bob Newhart

 

Plot: Small squad must hold off German attack.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dated War Film

 

Story: Hell is for Heroes starts in Montigny, France 1944 where the soldiers are resting. They are all waiting for the time when they can finally go home but when a new soldier Reece (McQueen) turns up the banter gets put slightly out of place. Sgt Larkin (Guardino) and his men Corby (Darin), Pike (Parker), Henshaw (Coburn) and Driscoll (Newhart) along with Reece are sent to a new location before getting final instruction before their next mission.

Reece is going to be trouble as he is straight away very much to himself and likes his drinking. The unit have the hopes of a return home shattered as they get sent out on their new mission. When the orders change it is down to the six men to keep the Germans back without giving away their numbers. What follows is the Americans trying to pull off as many tricks as possible to trick the Germans into thinking they have a large platoon.

Hell is for Heroes is a story that we see in plenty of war films where we see a small number of soldiers overcome the odds to beat a large number, it is tried and tested as everyone likes to cheer for an underdog. This one has plenty of generically easy ideas that all work out nicely and for the time it would have looked like a very good war film. Film has come a long way now and this would not stand next to them anymore but it could easily have been one of the best at the time of release. (6/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Steve McQueen: Reese the rebellious soldier who has been causing problems during the war, he has an attitude but could be the best hope for victory. Steve was the icon and main attraction for this film and he shows why in his performance. (7/10)

 

Bobby Darin: Corby wheeler and dealer who seems to have everything the men would want also he is very much a wise cracker. Booby gives us a good performance and is the character I wanted to see on camera more often. (7/10)

 

Support Cast: Hell is for Heroes has a supporting cast that fills the generic war film types, they all help the story unfold and all do a very good job in their performance.

 

Director Review: Don Siegel – Don keeps everything simple in this film and ends up getting a solid war film still over 50 years later. (7/10)

 

War: Hell is for Heroes comes off as a solid war film for the time. (7/10)

Settings: Hell is for Heroes uses pretty much one setting for the most part of the film and it shows how little area people were fighting for during the wars. (9/10)

Suggestion: Hell is for Heroes is one for the classic film fan to enjoy, I don’t see today’s audience enjoying this film. (Classic Film Fans)

 

Best Part: The end was good and well put together.

Worst Part: Little bit slow starting.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final attack.

 

Believability: Things like this would have happened in the war. (5/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $2.5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Tagline: ONLY 6 G.I.’s and they had to hold off the whole German army!

Trivia: According to Bob Newhart’s autobiography, “I Shouldn’t Even Be Doing This”, Steve McQueen and Bobby Darin did not get along during filming. When stories of their feud appeared in the trade papers, the film’s publicist was fired. As it turned out, it was Nick Adams who leaked the story. According to Newhart, Adams felt so badly that he chased the publicist’s departing plane yelling, “I’m sorry!”

 

Overall:  For years war films have been used to tell the stories off overcoming odds and this is no exception and would have been one of the best at the time.

Rating 70