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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea (1976)

On the Dartmouth coast, a widow (Sarah Miles) is raising her precocious young son (Jonathan Kahn) who is a member of a secret group headed by a pretentious boy (Earl Rhodes) who is referred to as The Chief by the other kids in the group. When a seaman (Kris Kristofferson) comes into his life, he's pleased at first but when the sailor becomes romantically involved with his mother, he feels betrayed. Based on the novel by Yukio Mishima and adapted for the screen by the film's director, John Lewis Carlino. Carlino has changed the story from Japan to England and in doing so, the story is severely compromised because Mishima's novel is an allegory for post war Japan. What we have left is a story about some psychologically disturbed children who carry out an atrocious act. Carlino's film is sabotaged by the awful child actors who seem clueless as to the meaning of their lines and parrot them phonetically. The film's sex scenes which gained quite a bit of notoriety at the time of release are surprisingly dull as Carlino has no talent for eroticism and Sarah Miles (though a good actress) is one of the least sensual of actresses. On the plus side, Kristofferson is perfectly cast and quite good plus there's Douglas Slocombe's first rate cinematography and Johnny Mandel's haunting score with an assist from Kristofferson. With Margo Cunningham. 

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