Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bhowani Junction (1956)

I was going to a full blog post about this, but I just can't. It's pretty awful. The script is very complex and full of historical detail which would be fine except that it is written in a way that every piece of dialog is telling you some important piece of background or plot exposition. Add to that, an intrusive voice-over soundtrack just in case you didn't understand what was just said in dialog. This isn't a movie it's a treatise.

The movie follows the events around a rail station in India during the period of transition when the British were leaving India. It deals with non-violence, terrorism, racism, romance, date rape and about ten other things I've probably forgotten already.

Stewart Granger and Ava Gardner have both been better. Granger seems a bit out of his depth and Gardner is just too one note throughout the whole thing. I loved her in On the Beach. Here, she is just shrill. The issues her supposedly bi-racial character faces, are complex but her reaction is to get mad and shout at everyone all the time. My son came in when I was watching this movie and he sad, "lady is angry" and left. That pretty well sums up Ava's acting in this one.

The direction is quite good as one would expect from Cukor. The location shooting is nice and in that respect the movie feels quite far ahead of its time. It doesn't have that 1950s travelogue feel to it. It feels more like a David Lean picture, except that the script is so bad. Recommended mostly for Cukor or Garner completists.