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Friday, September 30, 2016

The Beguiled (1971)

Set during the Civil War, an injured Union soldier (Clint Eastwood) is taken in by a Southern girls school and nursed to health. But the scheming Yankee plays the women against each other and uses their sexual thirst to his own advantage as he plans to become the rooster in the chicken coop. But he underestimates the power and the fury of the female! Based on the novel by Thomas Cullinan and directed by Don Siegel. This really is a most amazing film to come out of 1971 Hollywood. Incest, menage a trois, graphic mutilation, sex with underage girls including a disturbing kiss planted by Eastwood on a 12 year old and a downbeat ending are all here and greenlighted by Universal pictures! One has to give Eastwood his due for taking on this unsavory role that went against his "image" and an opportunity to display his acting chops. Many a major Hollywood star would pass on such a role. The film is fortunate in having Geraldine Page and Elizabeth Hartman in the leading female roles who both bring a wealth of information to their characters that aren't always in their lines. The film is a Gothic psychological horror film at its core and Siegel doesn't hold back but he doesn't push it either.  With Mae Mercer (marvelous, she really should have done more acting), Jo Ann Harris, Darleen Carr, Matt Clark and Pamelyn Ferdin.

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