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This Property is Condemned


sewhite2000
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Who knew Mary Badham made other movies? If you watch TCM long enough, you learn all kinds of interesting things. And I think she's terrific in this film.

 

(Though I probably could have happily gone the next 50 years without knowing the adorable little Scout ever uttered the following line of dialogue: "Alva, how many times have you done it?")

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I'll admit it, I haven't seen To Kill a Mockingbird.  I know. I know.  I have read the book if that means anything.  Anyway... I did know that Mary Badham was in 'Mockingbird' and it was interesting to see what she looked like older.  I recognized her from an episode of The Twilight Zone that involved Badham and her brother swimming in this pool.  Apparently at the bottom of the pool, there was this entrance to some other place where this woman was spoiling the kids with treats.  Meanwhile, the children's parents were wondering why their kids haven't resurfaced from the bottom of the pool and are freaking out.  What I remember most about this episode wasn't Badham or even the plot details, it was the horrible dubbing they did of Badham's lines.  For whatever reason, Badham appears physically, but they had her lines dubbed by an adult impersonating a child's voice.  It did not sound good.  Very off-putting.

 

Anyway... I'm watching This Property is Condemned right now.  I'm really enjoying it.  I always love the Tennessee Williams plays turned films.  I'm all about melodrama.  I think Robert Redford and Natalie Wood make a great team.  It's a shame they only did two films together.  I like this movie better than their previous effort-- Inside Daisy Clover.  I do think that Wood's makeup is more in line with the 1960s rather than the Depression, but that's not really a big deal. 

 

I'm not done watching yet... so I'll probably have more to say when it's over.

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I'll admit it, I haven't seen To Kill a Mockingbird.  I know. I know.  I have read the book if that means anything.  Anyway... I did know that Mary Badham was in 'Mockingbird' and it was interesting to see what she looked like older.  I recognized her from an episode of The Twilight Zone that involved Badham and her brother swimming in this pool.  Apparently at the bottom of the pool, there was this entrance to some other place where this woman was spoiling the kids with treats.  Meanwhile, the children's parents were wondering why their kids haven't resurfaced from the bottom of the pool and are freaking out.  What I remember most about this episode wasn't Badham or even the plot details, it was the horrible dubbing they did of Badham's lines.  For whatever reason, Badham appears physically, but they had her lines dubbed by an adult impersonating a child's voice.  It did not sound good.  Very off-putting.

 

Anyway... I'm watching This Property is Condemned right now.  I'm really enjoying it.  I always love the Tennessee Williams plays turned films.  I'm all about melodrama.  I think Robert Redford and Natalie Wood make a great team.  It's a shame they only did two films together.  I like this movie better than their previous effort-- Inside Daisy Clover.  I do think that Wood's makeup is more in line with the 1960s rather than the Depression, but that's not really a big deal. 

 

I'm not done watching yet... so I'll probably have more to say when it's over.

 

Ah, that Season 5 episode of "The Twilight Zone" was “The Bewitchin’ Pool,” written by the great Earl Hamner, Jr., who later created "The Waltons."

 

By the way, Redford and Wood technically were together in three films. She has a brief appearance as herself in "The Candidate" (1972).

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Ah, that Season 5 episode of "The Twilight Zone" was “The Bewitchin’ Pool,” written by the great Earl Hamner, Jr., who later created "The Waltons."

 

By the way, Redford and Wood technically were together in three films. She has a brief appearance as herself in "The Candidate" (1972).

Oh okay.  Thank you for the information about The Twilight Zone.  I didn't know about Wood's cameo in The Candidate.  Thanks for that info as well. 

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Okay.  Now I've finished watching This Property is Condemned.  Overall, I really liked it.  I think Natalie Wood's mother in this film could rival her mother in Splendor in the Grass and Kim Novak's in Picnic.  Good grief.  I thought this was a great melodrama and it was very compelling.  I understand that Tennessee Williams was unhappy with this adaptation of his story.  In fact, I think the entire cast was upset with the film as they didn't have a finished script and had to ad-lib some of their lines just to get through the shoot.  While I liked the film, I found the ending to be very sad, but also very poignant.  I liked that Willie was wearing her sister's jewelry and party dress (even though it was in tatters).  Willie mentioned that her mom moved to Arkansas with her boyfriend.  Is Willie living in Mississippi all alone taking care of herself?

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I'll admit it, I haven't seen To Kill a Mockingbird.  I know. I know.  I have read the book if that means anything.  Anyway... I did know that Mary Badham was in 'Mockingbird' and it was interesting to see what she looked like older.  I recognized her from an episode of The Twilight Zone that involved Badham and her brother swimming in this pool.  Apparently at the bottom of the pool, there was this entrance to some other place where this woman was spoiling the kids with treats.  Meanwhile, the children's parents were wondering why their kids haven't resurfaced from the bottom of the pool and are freaking out.  What I remember most about this episode wasn't Badham or even the plot details, it was the horrible dubbing they did of Badham's lines.  For whatever reason, Badham appears physically, but they had her lines dubbed by an adult impersonating a child's voice.  It did not sound good.  Very off-putting.

 

 

 

Most likely Mary Badham's lines were dubbed in THE TWILIGHT ZONE episode because of her Southern accent.

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Okay.  Now I've finished watching This Property is Condemned.  Overall, I really liked it.  I think Natalie Wood's mother in this film could rival her mother in Splendor in the Grass and Kim Novak's in Picnic.  Good grief.  I thought this was a great melodrama and it was very compelling.  I understand that Tennessee Williams was unhappy with this adaptation of his story.  In fact, I think the entire cast was upset with the film as they didn't have a finished script and had to ad-lib some of their lines just to get through the shoot.  While I liked the film, I found the ending to be very sad, but also very poignant.  I liked that Willie was wearing her sister's jewelry and party dress (even though it was in tatters).  Willie mentioned that her mom moved to Arkansas with her boyfriend.  Is Willie living in Mississippi all alone taking care of herself?

 

 

The film seems to be moving right along and then all of a sudden the story stops and we see the final scene with the kids on the train, talking. It looks as if their film budget finally and suddenly ran out and they had to stop the film right there, so they filled in with the short dialogue with the kids.

 

They didn't even show Alva sick or dying or dead. No tears for the audience. They could have played that part up and the film might have been more successful. But just Wham, Alva runs out of the apartment, and they cut to the final scene of the kids talking.

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The film seems to be moving right along and then all of a sudden the story stops and we see the final scene with the kids on the train, talking. It looks as if their film budget finally and suddenly ran out and they had to stop the film right there, so they filled in with the short dialogue with the kids.

 

They didn't even show Alma sick or dying or dead. No tears for the audience. They could have played that part up and the film might have been more successful. But just Wham, Alma runs out of the apartment, and they cut to the final scene of the kids talking.

 

Fred,  I just read your other post about this film.   In that one you wish there was a happy ending.   Here it appears you're saying that if they are going to have a sad ending they need to make it even more sad by showing Alma sick, dying or dead.   

 

I really don't think the film needed an Alma death type scene to get it's point across.  

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Fred,  I just read your other post about this film.   In that one you wish there was a happy ending.   Here it appears you're saying that if they are going to have a sad ending they need to make it even more sad by showing Alma sick, dying or dead.   

 

 

I'm glad you pointed that out..... :)

 

As per 1930s and 40s film style and techniques, her getting sick would give me a "warning" that she was going to die, so I could prepare myself. But I don't like the 1960s technique of simply having both movie stars suddenly disappear, right in the middle of a dramatic scene, and having a funky girl telling us the ending of the movie. That is a downer for me.

:)

 

Too many cooks spoil the broth, and THAT is why this film failed at the boxoffice.

 

Directed by  Sydney Pollack   Writing Credits   Tennessee Williams ... (suggested by a one act play of)   Francis Ford Coppola ... (screenplay) (as Francis Coppola) & Fred Coe ... (screenplay) & Edith R. Sommer ... (screenplay) (as Edith Sommer)   David Rayfiel ... (uncredited)

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PS: I keep thinking that maybe they did film the ending I would prefer but they cut it out. It just seems like there is at least 10 minutes of the end of the New Orleans sequence "missing". Cut out and thrown away or maybe in an old film can somewhere.

 

This film needs an ending more like the 1936 CAMILLE had, with a long "sick and dying" scene. That allows guys like me to turn it off early, before she dies. :)

 

And it allows others to watch it to the very end. :)

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The film seems to be moving right along and then all of a sudden the story stops and we see the final scene with the kids on the train, talking. It looks as if their film budget finally and suddenly ran out and they had to stop the film right there, so they filled in with the short dialogue with the kids.

 

They didn't even show Alva sick or dying or dead. No tears for the audience. They could have played that part up and the film might have been more successful. But just Wham, Alva runs out of the apartment, and they cut to the final scene of the kids talking.

 

 

I agree. I've never liked the way the movie ended. Was never that impressed with the movie as a whole either. Wonder how true to the play it was?

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I'm glad you pointed that out..... :)

 

As per 1930s and 40s film style and techniques, her getting sick would give me a "warning" that she was going to die, so I could prepare myself. But I don't like the 1960s technique of simply having both movie stars suddenly disappear, right in the middle of a dramatic scene, and having a funky girl telling us the ending of the movie. That is a downer for me.

:)

 

Too many cooks spoil the broth, and THAT is why this film failed at the boxoffice.

 

Directed by  Sydney Pollack   Writing Credits   Tennessee Williams ... (suggested by a one act play of)   Francis Ford Coppola ... (screenplay) (as Francis Coppola) & Fred Coe ... (screenplay) & Edith R. Sommer ... (screenplay) (as Edith Sommer)   David Rayfiel ... (uncredited)

 

 

Yeah, that many writers usually spells trouble filmwise. It's possible some sort of scene was filmed and it was cut. Who knows?

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I agree. I've never liked the way the movie ended. Was never that impressed with the movie as a whole either. Wonder how true to the play it was?

 

I've been trying to find some info on the original play, but I haven't found anything yet.

 

See my list of the director and the writers. Too many people. Too many different ideas for different kinds of endings. I can just hear them arguing now:

 

One writer: "I say she should die at the end of the film!"

 

Another writer: "I say we should not show her dying".

 

Another writer: "No, we should show it, just like they showed Blanche being led off to the crazy house at the end of A Streetcar Named Desire".

 

Director: "No, no, no! We should show her getting sick because of running in the rain, but we should have her almost die but get well at the end and stay in New Orleans with Redford, leaving the stuff about the marriage somewhat ambiguous at the end. Maybe we can have her mother die and make every audience member happy." :)

 

Looks to me like they all just gave up and quickly ended the film, WITH NO REAL TRUE ENDING. They don't even show how and why Alva got sick (running in the rain). They just hit a dead stop in the middle of the New Orleans sequence, and cut to the scene of the young girl talking about Alva being in "the boneyard". Very unsatisfying.

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SEE THIS:

 

Among the running themes at this year’s Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival is the view of Williams as a poet-playwright. Cripple Creek Theatre Company’s presentation of “American Blues,” a pair of early one-act plays, vividly captures Williams’ poetic use of language to explore what would become recurring topics throughout his body of work – love, death, the fallen nature of humanity and repressed desires.

 

In “This Property is Condemned,” the quiet young Tom is wandering along a railroad track, carrying a kite. He encounters Willie, a colorful, confused and lively young girl. The brief work is made up of their passing conversation.

 

(The play, it should be noted, has virtually nothing to do with the 1966 film version, starring Robert Redford and Natalie Wood, in which the story Willie tells of her sister is expanded and distorted to become the primary focus.)

 

MORE HERE:

 

http://www.nola.com/arts/index.ssf/2010/03/one-act_plays_capture_poetry_o.html

 

 

ALSO, SEE MORE HERE:

 

http://www.sheilaomalley.com/?p=3961

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I've been trying to find some info on the original play, but I haven't found anything yet.

 

See my list of the director and the writers. Too many people. Too many different ideas for different kinds of endings. I can just hear them arguing now:

 

One writer: "I say she should die at the end of the film!"

 

Another writer: "I say we should not show her dying".

 

Another writer: "No, we should show it, just like they showed Blanche being led off to the crazy house at the end of A Streetcar Named Desire".

 

Director: "No, no, no! We should show her getting sick because of running in the rain, but we should have her almost die but get well at the end and stay in New Orleans with Redford, leaving the stuff about the marriage somewhat ambiguous at the end. Maybe we can have her mother die and make every audience member happy." :)

 

Looks to me like they all just gave up and quickly ended the film, WITH NO REAL TRUE ENDING. They don't even show how and why Alva got sick (running in the rain). They just hit a dead stop in the middle of the New Orleans sequence, and cut to the scene of the young girl talking about Alva being in "the boneyard". Very unsatisfying.

 

 

Yes, how I thought about it when I first saw it many years ago on network tv. I thought something was cut for network tv until I saw it again on TCM years later.

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LOL. No wonder the movie seemed padded and lacking something to me.

 

Here is some more:

 

http://tucsoncitizen.com/morgue/2009/03/26/112925-one-act-this-property-is-condemned-packs-a-wallop/

 

l112925-1.jpg

 

The play, running less than 25 minutes with only two characters, is a production of The Now Theatre, presented in the Rogue After Curfew series.

 

Tom, a 16-year-old boy, is played by Nic Adams (who is also the director). Opposite him is Laine Peterson as Willie, a 13-year-old girl who lives by herself in an empty boarding house.

 

Their conversation is the play.

 

Sydney Pollack directed the 1966 film adaptation starring Natalie Wood and Robert Redford. The play is nothing like the movie, expanded by 12 screenwriters to be the story of Willie’s wayward, undisciplined older sister who, at 16, actively entertained the many railroad men who stayed at a boarding house run by her mother.

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I'm glad you pointed that out..... :)

 

As per 1930s and 40s film style and techniques, her getting sick would give me a "warning" that she was going to die, so I could prepare myself. But I don't like the 1960s technique of simply having both movie stars suddenly disappear, right in the middle of a dramatic scene, and having a funky girl telling us the ending of the movie. That is a downer for me.

:)

 

Too many cooks spoil the broth, and THAT is why this film failed at the boxoffice.

 

 

Note that the film starts with the funky girl (the sister of the Wood character),  and the director decided to end the film with the girl.  The Makes sense to me since the theme of the story is the impact an 'out there' mom can have on her daughter.   We see the impact to the older daughter and by ending the movie with the younger daughter it leave us with a 'what is next for her' moment.

 

But I understand your point about wanting a more traditional ending.     

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I have a question regarding a detail, which might seem minor in the overall plot, but perhaps some of you noticed as well. The film opens with Willie wearing a dress and some jewelry she explains once belonged to her sister. Later in the film we see Alva taking the train to New Orleans wearing her "best dancing dress and jewelry", which we remember is the same attire Willie claims for her own. How did the dress and jewelry return to Mississippi from New Orleans? I suspect Alva purchased her new wardrobe, which she is wearing during her time with Owen, with the money she stole from J.J, but what explains the journey of her old clothing . . . . any ideas, or did I miss something?

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Looks to me like they all just gave up and quickly ended the film, WITH NO REAL TRUE ENDING. They don't even show how and why Alva got sick (running in the rain). They just hit a dead stop in the middle of the New Orleans sequence, and cut to the scene of the young girl talking about Alva being in "the boneyard". Very unsatisfying.

 

I really wanted to like this film, but all in all it didn't add up to very much.  Part of the problem was the fact that you just KNEW that eventually the mother was going to show up and reveal Alva's marriage, since (1) she was so fixated on having Alva around, and (2) otherwise putting in that brief segment with Alva getting married to J.J. wouldn't have made much sense in terms of plot development, unless one were so delusional as to imagine that a movie like this was going to have an old-fashioned Happy Ending.

 

And it was a disappointment, since the cast was first rate, much of the interplay among the characters was compelling, and the setting was evocative.  Too bad it kind of fizzled out at the end.  I'd love to see how it might have turned out if Williams had been given full control over the production.

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It seems to me that several 1966 screenwriters were given 30 days to come up with a working script that imitated Tennessee Williams and William Faulkner type film scripts, such as something like: THE STORY OF TEMPLE DRAKE, A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, THE LONG HOT SUMMER, THE FUGITIVE KIND, SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH, SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER, BABY DOLL, etc., etc....... but the group of writers weren’t quite finished when their 30-day deadline was suddenly up, so they just cut the script off right there when their time ran out, and they sandwiched their un-finished script in-between the opening scene and closing scene of the original Tennessee Williams play titled “This Property is Condemned”, and then they all pretended this whole film was a Tennessee Williams movie. :)

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The dialogue between Willie and the boy with the kite that frames the the movie's main plot (the story of her older sister Alva) is pretty true to Tennessee Williams's one-act play This Property Is Condemned although some of the details were changed to fit the events in Alva's life as "fleshed out" in the movie.

 

One part of Williams's original play that was cut for the movie (unless I missed it) is where the boy asks Willie  to "do him" the way she had done another boy in town.

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I have a question regarding a detail, which might seem minor in the overall plot, but perhaps some of you noticed as well. The film opens with Willie wearing a dress and some jewelry she explains once belonged to her sister. Later in the film we see Alva taking the train to New Orleans wearing her "best dancing dress and jewelry", which we remember is the same attire Willie claims for her own. How did the dress and jewelry return to Mississippi from New Orleans? I suspect Alva purchased her new wardrobe, which she is wearing during her time with Owen, with the money she stole from J.J, but what explains the journey of her old clothing . . . . any ideas, or did I miss something?

I don't know if it was ever actually mentioned how Willie came into possession of Alva's clothing and jewelry, but I am going to speculate.  Since Willie and Alva's mother abandoned Willie and moved to Arkansas (I think?) with her new boyfriend and then Alva died in New Orleans, perhaps Alva's personal effects were given to her next of kin, Willie? Or maybe after she died, Robert Redford's character gave them to Willie?

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