Friday, October 21, 2011


Bryan Forbes directs THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT: a poetic and comic fable set in the twilight zone of the not-quite-true. At the Cafe Chez Francis, a group of sinister promoters (Yul Brynner, Charles Boyer, Paul Henreid, John Gavin, and Oscar Homolka), plot to tear up Paris in order to unearth the oil which a slimey prospector (Donald Pleasence) believes he has located in the neighborhood. These grandiose plans come to the attention of The Madwoman of Chaillot (Katharine Hepburn) who is ostensibly not normal in her mind but who is soon shown to be the very essence of practical worldly goodness and common sense. She sees through the crookedness of the prospector and insists that the world is being turned into an unhappy place by the thieves and those who are greedy for worldly goods and power. At a tea party attended by other "mad" women of Paris (Edith Evans, Margaret Leighton, Guilieta Masina), she has brought together representatives of the despoilers of the earth and wreckers of its happiness (including a marvelous turn by Danny Kaye as the Ragpicker), and has them tried and condemned to extermination. In a scene which mounts into the realms of high poetic comedy, she sends the culprits one by one, lured by the scent of oil and undreamed-of riches, into a bottomless pit which opens out of her cellar. The exodus of the wicked is accompanied by another and more beautiful miracle: Joy, justice and love return to the world again. Also starring Nanette Newman and Richard Chamberlain as the young lovers caught in the proceedings. Not to be missed! 


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