Trilogy


1h 40m 1969

Brief Synopsis

"Miriam": Miss Miller has spent her life as a governess for children in some of the most fashionable homes in New York. She is shocked one day to learn that one of her "babies" is expecting a baby of her own and rejects Miss Miller's offer to be the nurse for the forthcoming child. That night, Miss Miller meets Miriam, a strange young girl who resembles Miss Miller when she was a child. Miriam, critical of everything Miss Miller has or does, constantly taunts her about a loveless existence, leading to a violent confrontation and chilling denouement. "Among The Paths To Eden": Mary O'Meaghan, a spinster, strikes up a conversation in a Queens, New York cemetery with a widower who is putting flowers on his deceased wife's grave. After establishing a modest rapport, Mary reveals to the bemused man that she had come to the graveyard specifically looking for a lonely widower, inasmuch as a friend of hers had found two husbands in a cemetery. "A Christmas Memory": As Christmastime approaches in rural Alabama, a young boy and his best friend, an elderly woman distantly related to him, prepare for the holiday by gathering ingredients for their annual batch of fruitcakes for 'people who've struck our fancy'. On Christmas Eve, they talk with great anticipation of the next day, but underneath is the sad, almost unspoken knowledge that the boy is growing up and his cousin is getting older and more frail.

Film Details

Also Known As
A Christmas Memory, Among the Paths to Eden, Miriam
MPAA Rating
Release Date
Jan 1969
Premiere Information
New York opening: 6 Nov 1969
Production Company
American Broadcasting Co.; Xerox Corp.
Distribution Company
Allied Artists
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "Miriam" by Truman Capote in Mademoiselle (Jun 1945) and his short stories "Among the Paths to Eden" in Esquire (Jul 1960) and "A Christmas Memory," in Mademoiselle (Dec 1956).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 40m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)

Synopsis

MIRIAM: Miss Miller, a governess who has spent her life in fashionable New York households, is rejected as nurse by a former charge who is expecting a baby of her own. At the movies that evening, she meets Miriam, a strange little girl who reminds Miss Miller of herself when she was young. Later that night, Miriam visits Miss Miller in her apartment, and the next day she is seen at a cafeteria. She appears at the apartment again, this time plundering Miss Miller's jewelry box; and a few days later, she arrives and announces her intention to stay. In horror, Miss Miller enlists the help of a neighbor, who searches the apartment for the little girl and finds no one. Miss Miller returns, however, to find Miriam sitting demurely in the living room. She reproves Miss Miller for the emptiness of her life--the ungrateful children she has cared for and the illusion that has sustained her. Miss Miller struggles with Miriam and pushes her out of the window, but upon returning to the bedroom, she finds Miriam there waiting. AMONG THE PATHS TO EDEN: In a Queens (New York) cemetery, middle-aged Ivor Belli visits his wife's grave. Mary O'Meaghan, a spinster who often walks in the cemetery, approaches Ivor in the hope of beginning a relationship based on their mutual loneliness. They discuss her dead father and his late wife, their shattered illusions, and their appreciation of singer Helen Morgan. Mary steps onto the grave of Ivor's wife and sings a torch song, imitating Helen Morgan. She sees that he is touched by the performance and invites him to dinner. Already involved with his secretary, he declines the invitation. Still hopeful, however, Mary walks him to the gate, explaining that she has a friend who met two husbands in a cemetery. Suddenly, she spots another man carrying flowers and begins to follow him. A CHRISTMAS MEMORY: Buddy is a young boy who lives in the South with his two aunts and an aging spinster cousin. The cousin is Buddy's best friend, and together they lovingly prepare Christmas fruitcakes to send to everyone they admire. They drink the leftover cooking whisky, chop down a Christmas tree, and wrap and mail their presents. On Christmas morning, they suddenly realize that Buddy is about to go away to military school and that she is becoming old and frail. They open their gifts cheerlessly and run to a pasture to fly the kites they gave each other. Exhausted from the activity, they fall into the grass and soak up the sun. After Buddy goes away, the two best friends never see each other again.

Film Details

Also Known As
A Christmas Memory, Among the Paths to Eden, Miriam
MPAA Rating
Release Date
Jan 1969
Premiere Information
New York opening: 6 Nov 1969
Production Company
American Broadcasting Co.; Xerox Corp.
Distribution Company
Allied Artists
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "Miriam" by Truman Capote in Mademoiselle (Jun 1945) and his short stories "Among the Paths to Eden" in Esquire (Jul 1960) and "A Christmas Memory," in Mademoiselle (Dec 1956).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 40m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)

Quotes

I had a telephone call from an absolute stranger asking me to meet him in a bar! I'd like to know what authorities to inform about that.
- Miss Miller
I'm being tortured these days by all sorts of people. The other day on the street a dwarf followed me. He had a little platform with roller skates and he chased me! And then you know what he did? He winked at me! Why would a dwarf wink at me?
- Miss Miller
Ungrateful little monsters...they've forgotten all about you. You've hardly slept through a night because of them, cleaned up their messes, nursed them through fevers, wiped up their vomit, put up with their tantrums, you've given your life for them...they don't even know you're alive!
- Miriam
If you married again nobody in the world would criticize you. They say when a widower marries again it's a real compliment to the first wife.
- Mary O'Meaghan
I'm the kind of guy who never walks when he can stand and never stands when he can sit.
- Ivor Belli

Trivia

A compilation of three short films produced for ABC Television: Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory (original airdate December, 1966), Among the Paths to Eden (original airdate December, 1967), and Miriam (original airdate April, 1970).

Along with Petulia (1968), the only other American film chosen for exhibition at the 1968 Cannes Film Festival.

Production on the segment "A Christmas Memory" was nearly cancelled when Geraldine Page's commitment to appear in a Broadway play threatened to coincide with the shooting schedule. The play was a flop and ran for only ten performances, closing only three days before shooting commenced in Snowdoun, Alabama.

Geraldine Page by choice wore no make-up.

Scheduled to be exhibited during the final week of the 1968 Cannes Film Festival, a student revolution in France resulted in it never being screened at the festival.

Notes

Filmed on location in New York City. "Christmas Memory" was originally telecast December 21, 1966 on ABC Stage 67; "Among the Paths to Eden" was telecast December 17, 1967; "Miriam" first appeared as part of Trilogy in the 1968 Cannes Film Festival.

Miscellaneous Notes

Voted Best Actress (Page) by the 1969 National Board of Review.

Released in United States Fall November 1969

Originally produced for television.

Released in United States Fall November 1969