Reflections in a Golden Eye

Screening on Film
Directed by John Huston.
With Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, Brian Keith.
US, 1967, 35mm, color, 109 min.
Print source: Warner Bros.

In adapting Carson McCullers’ Southern Gothic tale, Huston took great pains to desaturate the color and suffuse the prints with a golden cast. Apparently, audiences appreciated the gilded tone even less than the homosexual content, and the film was rereleased in full spectrum Technicolor. Such monochromatism would have perhaps further subdued the Freudian complex of voyeuristic desires, repressed longings, secret affairs and misdirected fury within the stifling confines of a military post in Georgia. At the height of her critical popularity, Liz Taylor chose Marlon Brando to sink feverishly into the role of her husband, the uptight Major who is repulsed by his adulterous, melodramatic wife and his own latent yearnings for Robert Forster’s enigmatic soldier. The closeted ecosystem of eccentricities builds to an expectedly violent culmination tempered by that nonjudgmental Hustonian eye, always empathetic to disrupted desires. 

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