A Rage to Live (1965)
A fabulous movie, well written, beautifully filmed and acted, intense and fast and beautiful, a real dramatic drama. And Suzanne Pleshette as the star is an astonishment, subtle and sharp and exactly what her part demands as the rich and sexually charged girl in a sleepy Pennsylvania town. Her two main men, played by Ben Gazzara and Bradford Dillman, are right on as well, and throw in Peter Graves as a third man in her life, and you get the range of characters and a sense of the plot. Yes, she's pulled by a handsome guy whether it's her husband or not.
And yet she never comes off to me as the "tramp" that some call her. She's warm and generous and seems to just be living her life as a nice person, even regretting her slipping off the straight and narrow now and then. The town's reaction is startling and believable. A really fabulous situation, a soap opera of sorts, but given a wonderful sense of form and pace and eventually high drama.
Director Walter Grauman is not a household name of course, and he directed mainly television, but he makes this a very slick and powerful production. The second half, especially, where Gazzara and Pleshette have a lot of screen time together, develops emotionally. Yes, the turns and conflicts are not total surprises, but they're well placed. Gazzara might be familiar to some for his role in "Anatomy of a Murder" across from Jimmy Stewart. Pleshette had a career with few great movies, but she did appear (second to Tippy Hedron) in "The Birds."
A vastly underrated movie, coming just a year or so before the big shift in styles and "New Hollywood." It's widescreen black and white, quite a treat to watch on every level. I guarantee it'll rise in value over the next decade.
A Rage to Live
A Rage to Live
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Grace Caldwell, a young Pennsylvania newspaper heiress living with her widowed mother, has trouble restraining herself when it comes to the amorous attentions of young men. As word starts to spread about her behavior, Grace becomes a major source of heartache for her mother and a big source of concern to her brother Brock. One evening, at a Christmas party, Grace meets gentleman farmer Sidney Tate. They fall in love and he asks her to marry him. Grace accepts, but only after making clear that she isn't proud of some things in her past. Sidney is taken aback by Grace's candid admission, but still wants to marry her. Grace promises to be faithful to Sidney; it's a promise she has every intention of keeping, until a former casual acquaintance, Roger Bannon, re-enters her life.
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Gorgeous, intense, well acted, nicely set in the early 60s...
A Rage to Live (1965)
Soap Opera Delight
I really love this movie. Grace Caldwell is the ultimate bad girl, tries to turn her life around, but is crushed in the end. Nothing like the book, A Rage To Live was considered racy for the 60's. Suzanne Pleshette acted her heart out. I've been waiting for years for this to come out on video; in fact, I haven't even seen it on TV for several years.
Wonderful Performance by Susanne Pleshette
"A Rage to Live" had beautiful, haunting theme music which crept in at just the right moments. The story of Grace Caldwell, a beautiful young girl with a "problem," not unlike most men, everywhere, she loved sex and had no control over her actions. She was a nympho.
Women like Grace are scorned and hated by other women, because men are so drawn to her type -- women who crave sex just like men. There wasn't a lot of "dating and cat and mouse" with a girl like Grace. A brief look into her eyes and the next stop was the bedroom.
Personally, I felt sorry for Grace after her marriage to Bradford Dillman and the birth of her child. She seemed truly happy. Into her life walks Ben Gazzara, with a bulging crotch and sexy Italian bravado. Much too much for Grace to resist, especially when he tells her that he has the hots for her. Obviously, Grace is not getting the KIND of sex she craves: cheap, tawdry, motel sex with strange men. Well, that's what she got with Ben, but he was mentally "off" and easily fell in love with Caldwell. Trying to break off the affair with Gazarra, she tells him, "You knew what this was. I have a husband and child that I love." His response, of course, is to call her a "dirty slut" and a "rotten, filthy whore!"
Ben is not the only man that is after Grace. Every man she comes across "knows" her and "her kind." Unfortunately, it's difficult for her to say "no." Even on a vacation with her mother, who has a bad heart, Grace sneaks out in the middle of the night to have tawdry sex with a hotel worker. She copulates with a college buddy of her brother's, plus, it was insinuated that she had "entertained" other men.
The ending is sad, especially because her husband deserts her after a drunken, jealous wife accuses Grace of "sleeping" with her husband (Peter Graves.) After calling Grace a "tramp," the woman breaks down in tears and tells Bradford that her husband "admitted it!!!"
Susanne Pleshette was wonderful. Her performance was as good as any other actress's in 1965, certainly better than Liz Taylor's in 1960's "Butterfield 8." Perhaps if Grace had been a prostitute, the role would have been more appealing to the Academy. They just LOVE giving Oscars to actresses who play ladies of the evening. Nymphomania, obviously, is too strong for their coffee.
Too bad Susanne didn't become a major movie star -- she certainly had the looks and the talent.
I'd love to have this on DVD. And, that THEME music was lovely.