ELIA KAZAN- THE OUTSIDER, week 2

14 Feb

Wild River (1960)
In the early 1930s Chuck Glover (Montgomery Clift), a New Deal administrator, travels to a small town in Tennessee in order to persuade an elderly woman to sell her home before her land is flooded by a near-by dam being built. Glover is faced with opposition not just from the elderly woman but from the townspeople, whilst simultaneously falling in love with the matriarchs’ granddaughter Carol (Lee Remick). Kazan also highlights the racial tensions of the town felt after The Great Depression with farmers objecting to paying black labourers.
Wild River is now a part of the US National Film Registry.
A documentary Mud on the Stars: Stories from Elia Kazan’s Wild River was recently made, looking back on the production of the film and how it affected the small town of Bradley County. It consists mainly of interviews with townsfolk who were extras on the film.

Splendor in the Grass (1961)
Another Kazan period piece, this time being set in Kansas in the late 1920s. Deanie (Nathalie Wood) and Bud (Warren Beatty) are two sweethearts who are driven away from each other by their overbearing yet well-meaning parents. When Deanie mentions her sexual desires towards Bud to her mother she is told on no uncertain terms that she must remain a virgin or else Bud (the son of the richest man in town) will never marry her, and that only evil girls would make themselves available to boys in that way. Bud has a similar discussion with his father who dissuades Bud from sleeping with Deanie in case she falls pregnant, thus forcing them to marry, which would destroy the educational plans Bud’s father had made on his behalf so that his son could be someone important in the world.
Slowly driven insane by their repressed and unacted desire for each other the couple are forced apart- Deanie to an institution after an ‘episode’ and Bud briefly to university and then home after his family looses everything in the 1929 stock market crash. It is only years later that the two meet again, yet they are still kept from each other by social norms, morality, and the lessons ingrained in them by their parents when they were teenagers.

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One Response to “ELIA KAZAN- THE OUTSIDER, week 2”

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  1. Splendor in the Grass « A Film Log - March 29, 2012

    […] ELIA KAZAN- THE OUTSIDER, week 2 (australianfilmreview.wordpress.com) […]

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