CLIMBNG THE LADDER DOWN
From the Terrace, based on John O’Hara’s blockbuster about climbing the ladder of success within the parameters of everyone else’s demands, is given a lackluster treatment by Mark Robson. With Peyton Place, The Prize, Valley of the Dolls and Earthquake, his limited talent usually keeps the trash rolling when the material has been geared for specific trash response. But condensed by scripter Ernest Lehman, the story doesn’t have much juiciness, plodding along cursorily, and he and Robson lose track of details we want. For example, Paul Newman, looking a little embarrassed after Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and The Long Hot Summer and The Young Philadelphians, has Myrna Loy as a drunk mother and we wonder what happens to her. Couldn’t she have had one last booze blast at her bastard husband’s funeral? In platinum blond hair and wings as eye brows, Joanne Woodward has some fun in one of her rare rich bitch roles, lobbing off Lehman’s shit-loaded lines but ends up shrill and devoured by mink. The lovely Ina Balin, basically a chronic sufferer in her years-long career, plays Newman’s retaliatory love interest who loves his “saddness.” Elmer Bernstein steals his love theme from North By Northtwest. Travilla does the costumes, most of which Woodward is too short for and Elizabeth Allen (as Sage Rimmington, the movie’s most amusing name) too tall. Try as they do, the ladies fail to provide the required panache for all the ensembles, formals (a blue wedding gown!), tierras, stoles, hats, fur collars and matching cuffs.
Text COPYRIGHT © 2001 RALPH BENNER All Rights Reserved.