Friday, July 9, 2010

1967 - REFLECTION IN A GOLDEN EYE, Southern gothic weirdness from Huston, Brando and Taylor

Marlon Brando is a repressed gay army colonel in the old south during the 1940's.  He's married to a bitchy southern flower played by Elizabeth Taylor who in spite of her looks would probably drive any man away.  Taylor's having an affair with Brian Keith who is married to Julie Harris who is into self mutilation and classical music.  Harris has a Philippine house boy named Anacleto who is obviously gay although no one seems to notice.

Add to this mix an army private in charge of taking care of the riding horses for the officers and their wives.  At night the private likes to sneak into Taylor's bedroom and watch her while she's sleeping.  During the day the private rides around buck naked in the woods for Brando to watch.  I think I got it.

The incredible strangeness of all of this must have appealed to Huston who in spite of being a director from the old Hollywood studio system never blinked when it came to working with oddball story material.

The level of acting is very high in this film.  John Huston believed that seventy percent of the work in directing movies was casting the right actor for the right role.  Brando gives a pretty daring performance as the colonel and Elizabeth Taylor who always seemed like a vacuous personality to me gives an equally good performance as a vacuous army wife. 

Huston photographed the whole thing with a sepia filter just to add some further strangeness to the film as if it didn't have enough strangeness in it with it's plot alone.  Warner Brothers made him release it in a standard color palette but thanks to the miracle of studio achieves and DVD releases, the current DVD  has his original color scheme. 

If you're in the mood for a very odd but well made film this is the one for you.  This film is a companion piece to Huston's other weirdo film, The Night of the Iguana which featured Elizabeth Taylor's husband, Richard Burton.

Double feature time anyone?

108 minutes.

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