Sunday, November 9, 2008

Other, The (1972)

Directed by:
Robert Mulligan

Leisurely paced, good-looking filmization of Thomas Tryon’s best-seller (adapted by the author himself) is a quietly disturbing psychological drama which effectively eschews standard good/bad twin plotting and has an intoxicating period atmosphere (1930s rural America). Niles Perry (Chris Udvarnoky) is a sensitive young boy who lives on a farm with an extended family that includes a severely depressed, reclusive mother (Diana Muldaur) who locks herself away in her bedroom reading novels and a protective, caring, God-fearing German grandmother (Tony-winning stage legend Uta Hagen, who’s excellent here). Niles’ mischievous twin brother Holland (played by Martin Udvarnoky, real-life twin brother of the star) seems to be responsible when a rash of sudden deaths plague the household, but there’s a lot more to the story than meets the eye, and many plot twists best not revealed by me. Excellent acting (the Udvarnoky brothers are especially impressive and unlike most other child actors, not irritating at all), evocative soft-focus photography, clever directorial touches and atypical plotting make this a winner. John Ritter has a small role as a brother-in-law, Victor French (from the Little House on the Prairie TV series) is the handyman and Jerry Goldsmith (THE OMEN) did the score.


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