Da 5 Bloods
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I May Destroy You
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Separate Tables is a fantastic film. It is about the lives of several people as they stay at a seaside hotel in Bournemouth. Rita Hayworth and Deborah Kerr give excellent performances. The screenplay is good but a little slow in places. Delbert Mann did a great job directing this movie. I enjoyed this motion picture because of the drama and romance. Separate Tables is a must see.
Well acted, but the plot was rather depressing
A movie melodrama which was controversial (for its serious and humane subject matter) and much appreciated in 1958, Separate Tables has been completely left behind by time. The story itself is wonderful and was originally a very successful stage play. It seems that the movie makers tried to keep it as much a stage play as possible. The techniques that make that possible, while still appreciated in 1958, are not at all natural or pleasing in 2020. Two performances in particular, David Niven's and Deborah Kerr's seem particularly overdone and exaggerated, as might have been appreciated on the stage. Wendy Hiller, Burt Lancaster, Rita Hayworth and Gladys Cooper all come across more naturally. Preaching a gospel of kindness, understanding, forgiveness and compassion is wonderful, but this vehicle needs to be remade for a modern audience.
I liked it even tho I could tell it was based off of a play which isn't my favorite genre of movie. Also, I thought this movie was going to be more a romantic piece about 2 ppl than a social commentary piece with all these characters. The acting was well done tho by everyone and I enjoyed watching the relationships unfold. I didn't know where it was headed next. There was some great lines too, like when Burt Lancaster is describing how passionate he is for his ex-wife. What woman doesn't want to be told that their lover craved them? I don't know that I agree with the ending message, but it was interesting. For one, should a pervert who assaults women in movie theatres just be forgiven like that? Number two should 2 ppl that are obvi toxic together remain together just because they are self-destructive alone? idk if the message really flies in 2020, but I try to appreciate it for the time pd. I think it was just trying to be romantic with the 2 characters and then in general saying we should accept others more which isn't a bad message, just maybe bad examples. I will say also that for the time it delves more deeply than most films of the era into character development. I found myself relating most to the inn owner, sadly lol.
These soapy melodramas packed with stars, usually based on acclaimed British plays, won favor with the Academy in the 1950s as the similarly over the top Peyton Place (1957) and Picnic (1955) picked up nominations during this era. This was one of the most successful films in the genre as it was produced by Hecht-Hill-Lancaster Productions, responsible for Best Picture winner Marty (1955), and brought David Niven and Wendy Hiller awards. 1958 is often considered a weak Best Picture year and while I don't think that there are any masterpieces in the lineup I have been pleasantly surprised by both winner Gigi (1958) and this film which while dated still has it's charms.
At a boarding house in Bournemouth a diverse group of people come together to argue over their different views on life and sexual activity. The domineering Maud Railton-Bell, Gladys Cooper, controls her daughter Sibyl, Deborah Kerr, who has fallen in love with Major David Angus Pollock, David Niven, who makes up stories about his time in the military. The manager of the house, Pat Cooper, Wendy Hiller, is engaged to one of the inhabitants, John Malcolm, Burt Lancaster, who is haunted by memories of his tempestuous relationship with his ex-wife Anne Shankland, Rita Hayworth. When she appears at the hotel he falls back in her thrall despite his anger at the fact that she is able to control him and her claim that she is also engaged. When it is revealed that Pollock was sexually molesting in local cinemas Railton-Bell does her best to have him thrown out as Sibyl considers standing up to her mother. Railton-Bell succeeds in bullying other guests into agreeing with her opinion but as he prepares to leave he has a conversation with Sibyl in which they each acknowledge their attraction to one another. His return is met with a positive response and Malcolm and Shankland are reunited.
The two most captivating characters in the film are Shankland and Malcolm, this is in part due to their being the most glamorous but they also haven't committed the crimes that Pollock has. Their marital issues seemed relatively realistic as the complaint of one spouse trying to control another is common and the verbal sparring between Hayworth and Lancaster is certainly entertaining as she regularly dismisses his arguments. Because the film was made in 1958 references that would be more explicit to issues like alcoholism and adultery are only implied or briefly witnessed but references to sexuality are unusually plentiful in this film. Adding to this is the electric chemistry between Hayworth and Lancaster who have rarely been better. Hayworth gets a chance to shine as a dramatic actress even if the role relies in part on her having sex appeal and Lancaster is convincing as a hot tempered, resentful man.
Other subplots in the film are less gripping and in many cases troubling. From a modern viewpoint the fact that Pollock engages in sexual activity with women without their consent is horrifying. The film attempts to pave over this flaw by saying that the women were eager to have sex with him and because they weren't so "respectable", whatever that means, they deserved the molestation. He never really admits that what he did was wrong and while I don't agree with Railton-Bell's dogged attacks on him I feel like the film should have taken against his actions more. I felt slightly uncomfortable as he gets close to the vulnerable Sibyl and it made it difficult for me to feel excited at the end of the film. Niven does a decent job in the role as he is very British and his uptight tone of delivery makes his shame all the more convincing. Deborah Kerr also delivers a technically proficient performance as Sibyl as while her constant voice tremors were a little too much for me she is rather touching when interacting with Niven.
Would this film have cracked the Best Picture lineup in a stronger year? Probably not. The performances are all of a high quality, when accounting for the overacting style at the time, and the story is compelling to a degree but today this seems like a couple of very good episodes of a British soap opera and it's sexual politics are somewhat questionable.
Good flick for its cast and atmosphere and the David Niven storyline. Niven is great. but his 16 minutes of screen time hardly merits a Best Actor Oscar. Legend Wendy Hiller deserved hers. Kerr is pure gold. Lancaster is Lancaster, once again using his production company to put him in a role better suited to someone else. He’s the same in everything. Never mind all that and enjoy the Niven/Kerr bits as the grand pieces they are. (and do yourself and the artists behind this a favor.... stay away from applying some modern sensitivities to their issues. That would be foolishly displaced, and miss the point entirely).
Very good. A complex web of relationships. Hayworth at her best.
Warning! The heroes are a man who goes to the theater to sit next to strange women and physically accost them and a man who broke down a locked door and raped his wife. The villain is a woman who does not want her emotionally vulnerable adult daughter associating with the theater groper. This is a movie urging compassion for men who sexually assault women and bring hostility to women who object. Only value is for a feminist class studying films in the `1950's.
Separate Tables is at times a bit stagey and it has too many characters, but most got their proper development and the film has such an amazing ensemble cast of great actors and actresses with the highlights being seductive Rita Hayworth, Oscar winner David Niven and especially terrific Deborah Kerr who played the most endearing, complex character wonderfully. The film is beautifully shot with gorgeous imagery, it's also superbly scored, quite emotional, thematically rich and with a particularly memorable, rewarding ending. This dialogue-heavy, sophisticated drama thus entirely deserved its whopping seven Oscar nominations.
OK, imagine a soap opera only with great actors doing their stuff. Tremendous cast lives up to their billing.