Synopsis

With her infant daughter Margaret Rose in tow, Georgette Thomas pulls up stakes from Tyler, Texas to head to Columbus, Texas to be reunited with her husband, Henry Thomas, who has just been released from prison on parole. Columbus is Henry's hometown. Margaret Rose has never met her father. Henry is not yet ready for this reunion as he is an irresponsible soul, who has problems looking after himself, let alone a wife and infant daughter. People in Columbus are doing whatever they can to help Henry, people such as Slim, the Deputy Sheriff who has known Henry since they were kids, and the Tillmans, who have given him a place to live as well as a job to do chores around their house. However, Henry is reluctant to give up songwriting and performing with his rockabilly band, the honky-tonks where he plays the environments which exacerbated his previous life problems. Henry has the unrealistic belief that he will become the next Elvis Presley. Beyond these issues, the biggest obstacle in ...

Director

Robert Mulligan

Cast

Steve McQueen
as Henry Thomas
Lee Remick
as Georgette Thomas
Don Murray
as Deputy Sheriff Slim
Paul Fix
as Juge Ewing
Ruth White
as Miss Clara
Charles Watts
as Mr. Tillman

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Annalaura N/A

Underrated Horton Foote Beauty

I just saw this hauntingly beautiful film last night on AMC. It's subtle beauty requires viewers' attention and participation. Do not watch it if you're in the mood for an easy escape film. To appreciate it you must be sensitive to facial expression and non-verbal signal. It also helps to understand a little about the culture of the South.

It works on two levels, at least:

First, it tells the story of a wife's dawning understanding of the hopelessness of her marriage and her resolve to have a good life anyway.

Second, it shows the tragedy of severe child abuse in great depth and reveals the community's culpability. I've never seen a more powerful visual metaphor than Henry's escape attempt, where camera facing him head-on, he runs furiously, climbing and clinging and failing to make it onto the back of a speeding truck.

The film juxtaposes Henry's relationship to his adopted mother to the relationship of his wife to their daughter. This loving, beautiful relationship is the pivot around which the story revolves. Henry, dull, unintelligent, abused Henry is lost, but in one area he had supreme luck (or supreme judgment). His child has what he never had, and will grow up beautifully. He could not have chosen a better mother for his daughter.

The screenplay, acting and direction are all superb.

Reviewed by ptb-8 7 /10

Let it pour.

I find this film quite fascinating because of its setting and style.

The credits on the road and the black and white photography are so striking and evocative of its time that if one in the year 2005 wants to get a real sense of the quiet 'sixties rural/suburban time, this film will do it for you. I find it a companion piece to BUS RILEY'S BACK IN TOWN and even THE STRIPPER all made around the same time, as if a set of films of a similar tone and look all made in the same US town. Where I lived in Australia in 1965 was exactly like all these films but this this one gives me the childhood recollection of hearing the sad adult conversations of neighbors. These 3 films deserve better awareness of lonely and changing 60s life before Vietnam horror and psychedelia took over and perhaps offer the best sense of time travel one could wish for. If you also want a bitter chaser with a wicked laugh, add KISS ME STUPID to the mix.

Reviewed by bkoganbing 7 /10

Ungovernable Temper

The team that brought you To Kill A Mockingbird has also given us Baby The Rain Must Fall another southern based drama though the protagonist is hardly as admirable as Atticus Finch. Steve McQueen and Lee Remick star in this film as a married couple trying to make a new start in life after McQueen is released on parole from prison.

McQueen is a musician/singer of sorts and while I doubt he could have a career in big time country music, he doesn't have the talent to make the really big time. You won't see McQueen at the Grand Ole Opry, but he could make a respectable living doing the honky-tonks if it weren't for an ungovernable temper. In the few instances we see it displayed we never do see exactly what sets him off, the film might have been better if we had, we might understand McQueen more.

But the temper is a given and he's on parole. A wife and a daughter who the people of his Texas home town have never met and don't know the existence of, have come to join him. Lee Remick is the patient and loving wife, but she's coming slowly to the realization that this just isn't going to work.

Don Murray plays the local sheriff and a childhood friend who does what he can for McQueen. It's interesting to speculate whether Remick and Murray will get together afterward. Paul Fix has the same kind of part he did in To Kill A Mockingbird as a kindly judge.

If James Dean had lived this would have been a perfect role for him. But McQueen who had a background of foster care, who was a product of the social welfare system raising him, had a lot to draw on for his performance.

Steve McQueen did his own vocals though country singer Glenn Yarborough had a hit from the title song. Better that way then to have a real singer doing it lest the viewer think this guy has the talent to make it big.

Although this is not as good as To Kill A Mockingbird, writer Horton Foote and director Robert Mulligan did a bang up job in Baby The Rain Must Fall.

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