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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Parrish (1961)

A young man (Troy Donahue) moves with his mother (Claudette Colbert) to a Connecticut tobacco farm where his mother will work as a chaperone to the daughter (Diane McBain) of a struggling tobacco farmer (Dean Jagger). But it isn't long before he finds himself caught between the farmer and a ruthless tobacco tycoon (Karl Malden) as they fight over land. Based on the 1958 best seller by Mildred Savage and directed by Delmer Daves. Daves' previous film A SUMMER PLACE (also with Donahue) was a big hit so it was inevitable that Warners would want to reunite the two to test Donahue's potential star power. Savage's novel got good reviews but the film plays out like a juicy potboiler with one major flaw. The title role needs an actor with enough charisma and a soupcon of talent that can hold the screen and that ain't Donahue. The vanilla Donahue can be acceptable when he isn't pressed to actually act but here, the demands of the role are beyond his limited ability and we're not talking Eugene O'Neill material here, more like Erskine Caldwell. Colbert is wasted and only two performers manage to make an impression: Malden's rancorous baron and McBain's spoiled rich girl.  With Connie Stevens, Sylvia Miles, Sharon Hugueny, Madeleine Sherwood, Hampton Fancher, Bibi Osterwald and Hayden Rorke.

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