The Pumpkin Eater (1964)
The Pumpkin Eater (1964)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
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Anne Bancroft stars as a restless, twice-married British woman with six children, whose third husband is a fledgling screenwriter (Peter Finch). When success spins Finch's head around, he begins to dally with women other than his wife. Meanwhile, Bancroft is forced to stay home and play "domestic goddess", a role for which she is utterly unsuited. After suffering a nervous breakdown, Bancroft wanders the streets of London in a vain search for a sympathetic ear. She eventually comes to grips with the situation at hand--but as in most of playwright Harold Pinter's works, the characters of The Pumpkin Eater are just as unfulfilled in the last scene as they were in the first. Anne Bancroft won a Cannes Film Festival award for her performance in this film. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for The Pumpkin Eater
It might make for valid drama if Mr. Pinter had done a half‐way job of establishing this insecure woman on firm psychological ground.
In this slow, strong, incisive film version of the book, the ironing out of a well-kept wife's unkempt psyche is portrayed with harrowing perception by Anne Bancroft.
Anne Bancroft is exceptionally good... The role may sound conventional enough, but not as played by Bancroft; she adds a depth and understanding which puts it on a higher plane.
Fine performances notwithstanding, the world of the Hampstead soap opera now seems so far away as to almost rate as science fiction.
There's beautifully modulated direction from Jack Clayton and scriptwriter Harold Pinter's acidulent signature is all over it -- not to mention the influence of Michelangelo Antonioni.
Audience Reviews for The Pumpkin Eater
This is a good melodramatic movie, I don't usually like that genre, but I got into this one, it was engaging. I should watch it again sometime.
Anne Bancroft is brilliant in this heavy drama of the collapse of a bad marriage. The rest of the cast of fine English actors all give good performances but are overshadowed by Anne's towering work. Maggie Smith's part as a flibbigibbet is small and worlds away from what has become her established persona of astrigent strength. A good film but rough going.
Jack Clayton ("Room at the Top," "The Innocents") directed this Harold Pinter script, crafting a somber portrait of a sham household. Jo (thirty-something Anne Bancroft, playing a jaded, older woman just as she did in "The Graduate") is stuck in her third loveless marriage, trying to fill the void with an abundance of children (presumably, the film's title is a reference to a pregnant woman's shape). Her current husband (Peter Finch) is a famous screenwriter whose work compels him to spend ample time away from home. She stays behind to weather the chaos of six energetic kids, but is prone to dark moods. Admirably, the story avoids cheap sentimentality and offers no easy solutions. The young Maggie Smith has a brief role as a sexy house guest.
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