Movie Diary 7/30/2018

Psyche 59 (Alexander Singer, 1964). Where to begin. Patricia Neal has been blind for a few years, following a traumatic fall. Husband Curt Jurgens is a cad, her sister Samantha Eggar is unstable, and family friend Ian Bannen hangs around to catch whatever is falling. They all go off to a country house. The film seems conceived as an “adult” look at sexual tension of the sort that usually had a good murder or something to carry it along, except there’s no murder here. Somebody had studied the work of Ingmar Bergman, and probably grown-up fare like The Pumpkin Eater (although that came out the same year, so maybe not). The whole thing is wildly arty, with tortured compositions that are sometimes fun to track, thanks to DP Walter Lassally (he had shot Tom Jones and The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner the year before). Director Singer is a curious story; a classmate to Stanley Kubrick, he served as Associate Producer on The Killing, directed a few serious features along the way, but mostly racked up an incredible number of TV episodes (everything from The Monkees to Knots Landing to Hill Street Blues and various Star Trek spinoffs). This film is pretty dead in the water, although Neal scores her share of strong moments.

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