On this page I have film reviews or other film-related comments, which I will blog before they become Sprint Reviews on the s2c database. I would love to hear any comments you might have.
TCM hits THE MARK.. again. Thanks to them, this buried treasure has recently resurfaced. When it was released in 1961, the controversial subject matter was determined by the "powers in control" that it should be hidden from the public even though it is a superbly crafted film, well written without the predictable, embarrassing plot points and so well acted it earned Stuart Whitman an Oscar nod for Best Actor. Add the always adorable, never half-hearted Maria Schell and the always reliable, upbeat Rod Steiger to the cast in support of Whitman in probably his finest acting performance in a career spanning decades.
SPOILER ALERT: We first meet Jim Fuller (Stuart Whitman) trying to rehabilitate himself after 3 years in prison for being convicted of child molestation. Thanks to Dr. McNally (Rod Steiger) he fearfully attempts to fit in at work, in his new apartment and in public. In flashbacks we see McNally in charge of group therapy at the prison. McNally treats Fuller as a sick patient instead of as a criminal. He doesn't believe in curing Fuller because it is a sickness that he believes has no cure, but he believes he can help Fuller become confident enough to control his sick desires out in the real world. What really makes it a fascinating and unique case is that Fuller is arrested before he ever has the chance to physically act out his desires. In a flashback, we see Fuller with a young girl who he abducts, but instead of sexually abusing her, the thought of what he wants to do makes him nauseous before he can act out his desire for her. He knows he is wrong. A psychological trigger prevents him from hurting the innocent 12-year old girl. He returns her to her home and is arrested. He knows he needs help. He believes he should be institutionalized. McNally doesn't. After rehabilitation, Fuller actually says his life is like living on top of a powder keg. It can explode at any time. One of the "ticking bombs" happens when he falls in love with Ruth (Maria Schell), a widow, with an 11-year old daughter. The suspense builds. We are rooting for Fuller, which is probably why the film was pulled out of the mainstream for years, but like him, we feel his fear that his life can blow up at any time. Because of its timely subject matter, a disease that unfortunately will never go away, the film will never get old. It is one for the vaults.