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USA 1960
Directed by
Mark Robson
144 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

From The Terrace

Taken from John O'Hara's best-selling blockbuster, From The Terrace manifests many of the typical plot elements of late 50s and early 60s Hollywood - the wealthy overbearing father (Leon Ames, who usually plays the cuddly face of paternalism is unconvincing here), the alcoholic mother and neglected wife (Myrna Loy in a small role), the troubled heir (Paul Newman) in what is a precursor to the television soap opera (Robson had directed the film version of Peyton Place in 1957). It is however a superbly well-crafted example of the genre and because of its typological familiarity has gone under-appreciated. .

Newman knew the territory well, having played similar roles in The Long, Hot Summer and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (both 1958) and handles the role here skilfully, making the transition from James Dean-ish angst-ridden young man to corporate flunky and married man convincingly. Paired with his real life wife, Joanne Woodward, who is superb as his trophy wife they are the focus of a story of ambition, avarice and good old family values as Newman's character  eventually comes to realize the soul-destroying nature of worldly success and throws it all over for a doe-eyed coal miner’s daughter (Ina Balin, an actress who never found such stellar company again).

Scripted by Ernest Lehman with a score by Elmer Bernstein, From The Terrace is a top drawer production, Robson's direction impressing although some rather clunky editing by veteran, Dorothy Spencer, indicates that the raw material was wanting in places.

DVD Extras: Theatrical trailer; a Movietone clip of Balin at the film’s premiere; a series of trailers for other Newman films.

Available from: Shock Entertainment

 

 

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