BEWITCHED, BOTHERED AND BEGUILEDED: The Beguiled and The Big Sick


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Warning: SPOILERS
The original film The Beguiled was directed by Don Siegel and starred Clint Eastwood, from a novel by Thomas Cullinan. It was an attempt by Eastwood to do something more interesting than the man with no name and Dirty Harry. And there is something fascinating about it. Whether one likes it or not, one can’t quite look away.
The basic premise is that a wounded Northern soldier ends up being taken in by the remaining inhabitants of an all girl’s boarding school located in the South during the Civil War. The longer he stays, the more he arouses the repressed sexuality of the women, which simmers and simmers until all sorts of conflicts break out of the Southern Gothic variety.
The main reason for what success the original movie had is the somewhat ridiculous, yet effectively hothouse approach to the story. It was over the top, but took itself quite seriously, while having the advantage of Geraldine Page in one of the lead roles. As like so many films at the time, there was something of a drive-in movie feel to it, but with larger aspirations. Continue reading

TONE DEAF: Marguerite and Hello, My Name is Doris


First, a word from our sponsors: I am now offering a new service: so much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one. 
 
Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay?  Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013.  Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r
 
and check out my Script Consultation Services: http://ow.ly/HPxKE
Warning: SPOILERS
rev 1When Tommy Wiseau released his film The Room, it was so awful that it inadvertently became a cult hit, especially on the late night circuit.  But people often wondered whether the filmmaker knew just how execrable his movie really was.
I thought of that as I watched Marguerite, the new French film from writers Xavier Giannoli (who also directed) and Marcia Romano.  It’s a story about a patroness of the arts who gave recitals in her home to raise money for various charities.  When all the other performers had rendered their absolutely ravishing arias and duets, Marguerite would then conclude the evening by singing herself.  And out of her well meaning mouth came notes so awful, it made fingernails on a blackboard sound like one of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto.
But did she know?  Continue reading