At his mother's funeral, stuffy bank clerk Henry Pulling (Alec McCowen) meets his Aunt Augusta Bertram (Dame Maggie Smith), an elderly eccentric with more-than-shady dealings who pulls him ... See full summary »
Louis Gossett Jr.
In London, a Canadian serving prison time for grand theft escapes prison and attempts to retrieve his loot, kept in a bank safety deposit box, but his accomplice takes the security key while he only has the pass code.
Elderly Mrs. Ross lives alone in her meager flat, scraping by on government assistance even as she claims to have great wealth. After finding stolen money she is victimized, making it necessary to find her support in her declining years.
In war-torn London, Maurice Bendrix (Van Johnson) falls in love with neighbor Sarah Miles (Deborah Kerr). They begin an illicit romance behind Sarah's husband's back. While war does not ... See full summary »
Screenwriter Jake Armitage (Peter Finch) and his wife Jo Armitage (Anne Bancroft) live in London with six of Jo's eight children, with the two eldest boys at boarding school. The children are spread over Jo's three marriages, with only the youngest being Jake's biological child, although he treats them all as his own. Jo left her second husband Giles (Richard Johnson) after meeting Giles' friend Jake, the two who were immediately attracted to each other. Their upper middle class life is much different than Giles and Jo's, who lived in a barn in the English countryside. But Jo is ruminating about her strained marriage to Jake, with issues on both sides. Jo suspects Jake of chronic infidelity, she only confronting him with her suspicions whenever evidence presents itself. And Jo's psychiatrist believes that Jo uses childbirth as a rationale for sex, which he believes she finds vulgar. These issues in combination have placed Jo in a fragile mental state. They both state that they love ...Written by
This movie never explains its title, which refers to a traditional children's rhyme: "Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater/Had a wife, but couldn't keep her;/So he put her in a shell/And there he kept her very well." This serves as the epigraph of Penelope Mortimer's original novel. See more »
After Jake returns from his trip with presents for the children, he and Jo are sitting on a couch and she moves closer to him. A shadow of a crew member's head can be seen quickly moving on and off Jo's skirt. See more »
What are you sniggering for? Think it's funny I suppose because I tell the truth for once.
That I'm capable of fancying somebody else. I'm a perfectly normal man and I'm capable of fancying somebody else.
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Anne Bancroft gives a brilliant performance in this undeservedly little known movie. It is a triumph of collaboration. Director Jack Clayton directs a uniformly superb cast. Harold Pinter crafted a superb screenplay based on a Penelope Mortimer story. The cinematography is breathtaking. And if one is going to be troubled, as the Bancroft character is, o! To be troubled with an accompaniment of music written for one by Georges Delerue! Bancroft is depressed, verbally abused, highly sensual. Sometimes she is got up like Audrey Hepburn and looks chic indeed. At other times she lets her hair down, figuratively and literally as well, and is very erotic. A scene between her and her husband, beautifully played by Peter Finch, is one of the most plausibly erotic scenes I've ever seen.
The sound editor gets high praise too: Bancroft's problem is, on the surface, her desire to have one child after another and to surround herself with children. Particularly in the earlier scenes, when kids are running around the house, their voices are not distinguished individually. All blend in as a din that would indeed be maddening.
James Mason's character is slightly overdone and he's filmed in extreme close-up in a way pioneered by David Lean in "Brief Encounter." He is one of the great actors in movie history, though; so his presence is welcome.
The supporting cast is uniformly excellent. Maggie Smith is -- well, not yet the Maggie Smith we know but just right in an integral role. And Yootha Joyce is properly shocking as a woman sitting beside Bancroft at the beauty parlor who suddenly begins to harangue her.
This is a woman's story. Not being a woman, I can't say fore certain. But Pinter and Clayton have provided Bancroft with the tools to live out this woman's story for us in the most intimate detail.
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