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USA 1960
Directed by
Mark Robson
144 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

From The Terrace

Adapted from John O'Hara's best-selling novel, From The Terrace manifests many of the typical plot elements of late 1950s and early 1960s 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 which compared to the work of Douglas Sirk 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 unhappily 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 time-honoured 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 suggests that the raw material was wanting in places.




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