FROM THE TERRACE (director: Mark Robson; screenwriter: based on the Joh O’Hara novel/Ernest Lehman; cinematographer: Leo Tover; editor: Dorothy Spencer; music: Elmer Bernstein; cast:Paul Newman (Alfred Eaton), Joanne Woodward (Mary St. John ), Myrna Loy (Martha Eaton), Ina Balin (Natalie Benziger), Leon Ames (Samuel Eaton), Felix Aylmer (MacHardie), Patrick O’Neal (Jim Roper), George Grizzard (Lex Porter), Elizabeth Allen (Sage Rimmington), Raymond Bailey (Mr. St. John), Raymond Greenleaf (Fritz Thornton), Ted De Corsia (Mr. Benziger), Howard Cane (Creighton Duffy); Runtime: 124; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Mark Robson; Twentiet-Century Fox; 1960)
“Middling soap opera.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Middling soap opera adapted from a John O’Hara sprawling novel by director Mark Robson (“Earthquake”/”Von Ryan’s Express”/”Peyton Place”). The over-plotted script is written by Ernest Lehman. What doesn’t help is that the author’s ripe sexual scenes are not onscreen due to censorship, the direction is pedestrian and that Paul Newman is awful. He plays the rich boy who defies his family by marrying Joanne Woodward despite their warnings not to.
When Alfred Eaton (Paul Newman) returns in 1946 to his Philadelphia home, after serving with the Navy as a flier during the war, he finds his mom Martha (Myrna Loy) is an alcoholic and unfaithful to her elderly husband Samuel (Leon Ames). Unable to live there, he settles down in NYC and goes into business with his friend Lex Porter (George Grizzard). On a visit to Southhampton, he meets and courts the neurotic rich socialite Mary St. John (Joanne Woodward) and marries her. When Alfred hooks up with the staid Wall Street firm run by MacHardie (Felix Aylmer), he takes himself seriously and starts ignoring his unfaithful wife Mary. He soon meets and falls for the decent hometown girl Natalie (Ina Balin), the daughter of a local businessman (De Corsia). When threatened to be ratted out to his firm by a colleague (Howard Cane), Alfred must choose love or career.
Loy steals the show with her out of character edgy performance as the tortured mom. Newman disappoints with a wooden performance.
REVIEWED ON 12/29/2015 GRADE: C+-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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