EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|LAST OF THE MOBILE HOT-SHOTS (BLOOD KIN) (THE SEVEN DESCENTS OF MYRTLE) (director: Sidney Lumet; screenwriters: Gore Vidal/based upon the play "The Seven Descents of Myrtle" by Tennessee Williams; cinematographer: James Wong Howe; editor: Alan Heim; music: Quincy Jones; cast: James Coburn (Jeb Stuart Thorington), Lynn Redgrave (Myrtle), Robert Hooks (Chicken), Reggie King (Rube), Perry Hayes (George); Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Sidney Lumet; WB; 1970)|
|"Hardly enjoyable due to the ponderous plot
and the unpleasant characters."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Based upon the flop play of Tennessee Williams,
that was produced in 1968 by David Merrick and ran for only 29
performances. Sidney Lumet ("The Morning After"/"Just Tell Me
directs this ill-advised
vehicle, that's written by Gore Vidal. It takes us into familiar perverse
Williams territory and leaves us there to feel the pangs of the
character's degradation, as it cries out against the south's hypocrisy
over racial attitudes and lets us sharply know that if the south ever
wants to revisit its so-called happy slave day past it will be shocked
at what it finds waiting there.
Myrtle (Lynn Redgrave) and
Jeb Stuart Thorington (James Coburn) are strangers who attend
"The Happy Couple" TV show in New Orleans, where contestant couples can
win kitchen appliances. They become a couple and win the appliances,
and accept the TV host's offer to come back next week and receive a
check for $3,500 to get married on the
show. After the marriage they return to Jeb's rundown 1840 Waverley
plantation in the Louisiana Delta, where he aims to restore the mansion
to the way it was in its glory days. Jeb's parents are deceased, and we
learn other tidbits of Jeb's life through ongoing flashbacks.
Also on the plantation helping in the restoration is Jeb's surly black half-brother Chicken (Robert Hooks). Because Jeb is weak from his terminally ill cancer, he signed a legal paper with Chicken that stipulates for his help in the restoration he will inherit the place if there's no other blood kin after Jeb dies. Jeb married the low-life showbiz Myrtle for her to conceive a heir to the plantation before he dies and thereby thwart Chicken's future ownership.
Because of the heavy rains, the
Mississippi River is expected to rise and flood the area. Added to the
tension is the love-triangle that develops among the three stranded
residents on the plantation and the actions taken by Jeb to do
everything in his power to make sure Chicken doesn't get the mansion.
The title is derived from the name
of the topless all-girl band
called the Mobile Hot-Shots. It's a band Myrtle belonged to and where
every other member was violently killed off with Myrtle remaining the
Hardly enjoyable due to the
ponderous plot and the unpleasant characters, Lumet can't even get this
stuck vehicle out of the mud far enough to say something reassuring
about the playwright's usual theme of heroic failure.
REVIEWED ON 5/23/2011 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ