Rogues & Vagabonds

theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013…

The Pumpkin Eater – Sunset Boulevard

Originally posted on Sunset Boulevard

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I do believe that Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater, the creepy nursery rhyme from which the title of this film is derived, is popular on neither side of the Atlantic (and rightfully so). So for those of you who are unfamiliar with it, it goes like this: “Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater/ Had a wife and couldn’t keep her/ He put her in a pumpkin shell / And there he kept her very well.” From the allusive title, we can gather that this is the story of a woman trapped — mentally, emotionally, physically.

Jo Armitage is this very woman. Trapped in a marriage to a chronically adulterous husband, chained to a peculiar propensity for childbearing — Jo Armitage spends the film skating on the edge of her sanity. Throughout the film, we cannot make up our minds whether her predicament is her own doing. Sometimes her insecurity,  her need to be needed absolutely, seems to be beyond any doubt. Her fitful rage as her shrink announces he is holidaying in Tenerife [“Why the hell don’t you go to Cannes? Or Portofino!”] is a case in point.

However, the wonderful thing about The Pumpkin Eater is that Harold Pinter, Jack Clayton, and of course, Anne Bancroft —writer, director and leading lady respectively — are all  determined to do the woman justice. One of the most penetrative moments of the film is the haunting Harrods scene in which Jo has a nervous breakdown. She treads slowly through the department store, surrounded by mindless consumerism, and mannequins with formless faces. She stops to watch some birds encaged in the pet store; we know, of course, she’s looking…

via The Pumpkin Eater – Sunset Boulevard.

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This entry was posted on 05/01/2015 by in Cinema, Reblogs, Reviews and tagged , , , , , .
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