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The Pumpkin Eater (1964)


Kid Dabb
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The first time I have seen this film - I just caught the last 10-15 minutes and I couldn't look away.

 

A black and white scene: A woman's voice is speaking an inner dialog (I didn't follow it) as the camera is fixed in close-up on her arm dangling off the edge of her bed, palm up holding a lit cigarette - her face and body are not visible. The camera pivots as it remains focused on her hand and cigarette.

 

It was almost a full minute before I realized the film was actually being replayed backwards as the soundtrack was playing forward. This was revealed by the cigarette smoke returning to the lit cigarette throughout the shot. The camera began a slow pan around the room in close-up as her dialog continued, then the scene changed to an outdoor funeral. Then The End.

 

Now I'm wondering if this reversed film was intentional. I'm inclined to believe so as it was very effective in capturing and fixing my attention. Also, it added an additional layer to the scene which had the effect of creating a need on my part to watch this over and over - see the whole film.

 

Finding a few seconds of "art" such as this in a film is incredible. The woman was Anne Bancroft. I'm not a big fan of Ms. Bancroft or Peter Finch, but now I want to see this film in it's entirety.

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The Pumpkin Eater is one of the most devastating films I've ever seen, and certainly a top ten favorite. 

 

Peter Finch was good, but Anne Bancroft's performance was a revelation to me.  There's a scene in a department store that is so raw and true that the force of it is just crushing.  If she wasn't nominated for any and all awards that year there is no justice in the world of filmdom. 

 

Was it shown on TCM?  If so, I'm sorry to have missed it, and hope they'll show it again soon.  I'd love to know what you think once you've seen the entire movie.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

The Pumpkin Eater is one of the most devastating films I've ever seen, and certainly a top ten favorite. 

 

Peter Finch was good, but Anne Bancroft's performance was a revelation to me.  There's a scene in a department store that is so raw and true that the force of it is just crushing.  If she wasn't nominated for any and all awards that year there is no justice in the world of filmdom. 

 

Was it shown on TCM?  If so, I'm sorry to have missed it, and hope they'll show it again soon.  I'd love to know what you think once you've seen the entire movie.

Yes, TCM has shown The Pumpkin Eater at least 2 times.  Once was during a 31 Days of Oscar tribute.  The other was during March for its look at British New Wave Cinema from the late 1950's to early 1960's.  Unfortunately, I could not figure out the years it was shown here.  Anne Bancroft was nominated for Best Actress in 1965 at the Academy Awards.  She won the Golden Globe for her portrayal in the movie, and Best Actress for her role at Cannes

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I missed The Pumpkin Eater along the way.  Now I think it sounds very intriguing.  There are some wonderful performances by Anne Bancroft; The Slender Thread,  Gorilla at Large, Don't Bother to Knock.   I will certainly find The Pumpkin Eater.  IT sounds very intriguing.

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I missed The Pumpkin Eater along the way.  Now I think it sounds very intriguing.  There are some wonderful performances by Anne Bancroft; The Slender Thread,  Gorilla at Large, Don't Bother to Knock.   I will certainly find The Pumpkin Eater.  IT sounds very intriguing.

Let's not forget, in my opinion, the greatest performance by an actress in a film, ever, THE MIRACLE WORKER.

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I missed The Pumpkin Eater along the way.  Now I think it sounds very intriguing.  There are some wonderful performances by Anne Bancroft; The Slender Thread,  Gorilla at Large, Don't Bother to Knock.   I will certainly find The Pumpkin Eater.  IT sounds very intriguing.

It truly is.  I hope TCM shows it again soon.

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