- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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- el debbo
What a lousy movie posing as art. Paddy-style art. A real downer from start to finish with no redeeming features. And I cannot get the time back...the time I wasted watching it.
- Larry Welk
She is genius, she has bags under her eyes, she moves with bodily & vocal womanly convincibility of prime Hollywood allure! The language of her men is stark, honest, & lost describing the reduction of man to a material level! The floozey mother turned 7th Day Adventist gives religion a weird, hard, rigid unattractiveness while her granddaughter , as next generation victim of the maternal rejection curse, is psychologized into being the hope of the future! The cast of lesser known actors was a cohesive ensemble in this look at the strange 1st half of the 20th century where motion image reality exploited the death of God by replacing His face that no one can look at & live with the faces & bodies of celluloid goddesses & gods who we look to to reinforce whatever meta- psychology is in vogue to make sense & meaning of this sorry realm! Pontious Pilate asked the ultimate question!
- kevin sellers
At one point in this dreary film Bert Freed, who plays a Hollywood scumbag (and, by the way, did Bert Freed ever play anything but scumbags?), says that the title character, Rita Shaw, is a good comedienne. Alas, we never get to see evidence of this. Perhaps if we had then this two hour misery fest would have been less unrelentingly bleak and thus less dull. Indeed I had the feeling watching this film that I get with certain Bergman and Mallick films, namely a plunge into an airless crypt of despair that is as claustrophobic as it is repetitive. I mean, every goddamn scene is the same; Rita either being hysterical, on the verge of hysteria, or in the afterglow of hysteria. After about an hour of this you feel like yelling at screenwriter Paddy Chayevsky (yes, this is one of those movies where the auteur is the writer)"We get the point, Paddy! Rita's an attention seeking, trampy, neurotic mess 'cause her mom abandoned her. Now tell us something we don't know. Or better yet try entertaining us!" So even though the elusive Kim Stanley is a certifiably fine actress, as is Betty Lou Holland who plays her awful holy roller mom, and even though Paddy Chayevsky is a fine writer when he isn't trying too hard (which he does about 50% of the time) and even though there are some appealing quirks like the Maryland location shooting and the score by Virgil Thompson that sounds like it should be for an epic western, and the harsh black and white cinematography by Arthur Ornitz, I'm giving this one a C for wearing out its welcome too quickly.
Kim Stanley is Excellent as The Goddess
Enthralling performance by Kim Stanley as a depressed nobody from a small town longing for love and acceptance. She begs a disturbed war veteran to marry her in order to escape her pathetic life. Both are so emotionally and mentally disturbed that life in their rundown flat drives them both nuts. Things only get worse with the birth of a child and the couple splits. She goes to Hollywood in search of bit parts and gets them. On her way up the ladder, she marries a has-been boxer for show (Lloyd Bridges) whom she loves and loathes. She finally gets her big break with a studio contract and is making $4,000 per week. She suffers a nervous breakdown on the movie set and is referred to a psychiatrist whom she never sees. Instead, the Goddess self-medicates with booze, pills, and self-indulgent behavior. Her deeply religious and detached mother comes to visit. After a day of boozing it up, the mother leads her daughter in a conversion prayer of repentance. It works for like 10 minutes because the Goddess is acting, of course. When the mother announces she's returning home to take care of some townies, the Goddess is enraged. How dare her mother take care of others when her daughter needs her! Fast forward to mother's funeral in small town America, with movie-goers lined up and down the street to catch a glimpse of the Goddess. Her first husband comes to the funeral with their daughter, but she can't deal with him or her. She has a tantrum and is put to bed with sedatives by her secretary. Amazing performance by Kim Stanley whose character gains everything, but still has nothing. The old adage is true: No matter where you go, THERE YOU ARE.
Watching it now
- Kate NC
Kim as a teenager is unconvincing. She has got bags under her eyes and looks closer to 30 years old that she was when this was filmed.
- Eric Fry
Good job by Kim Stanley, but the script was ponderous and literary. There's an interesting long scene between Stanley and Nolan that has few lines. The movie never shows us why Stanley's character was a famous actress. We never see her at work. Chayesfsky may have had Monroe in mind for some surface details but the film doesn't capture her in any way and probably doesn't aspire to. Her marriage to DiMaggio failed because he ignored her, didn't want her to have a career, and abused her. Monroe's psychological problems stemmed from clinical depression, a serious illness, not merely from an unhappy childhood. She never lived in a movie star's home, just apartments, a renovated farm house, and, briefly, a modest house of her own.
Talk about over-rated
This film, if remembered at all, is known as one of the handful of performances by Kim Stanley. Considered arguably the greatest stage actress of her generation, this film is looked to as evidence of Stanley's genius. It isn't there. She gives a credible performance as do Steven Hill and Lloyd Bridges. However, this film meanders, is boring and really aside from Stanley's constant breakdowns, tells us virtually nothing about the title character. In addition, she is simply neither well cast nor vaguely believable in the role.A real letdown.
It was an amazing experience to observe such an excellent actress embody her character with every part of her being. she didn't appear to be acting but living in her role. I'm not familiar with this lead actress and I don't know why she didn't make more films, but I will be on the lookout for her from now on. While there are several key actors in the movie, I would rate the first husband in the film as another actor who did an excellent job, though his part was short in comparison.