ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿ ³ WIDOWS PEAK: John Irvin, director. Hugh Leonard, ³ ³ screenplay. Starring Mia Farrow, Joan Plowright, ³ ³ Natasha Richardson, Adrian Dunbar, and Jim Broad- ³ ³ bent. Fineline Features. Rated PG. ³ ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ
Widows Peak is, to say the least, an interesting place to live, provided you're the right type of tenant: widowed, middle- aged, moneyed, and a nosy busy-body. Joan Plowright (ENCHANTED APRIL, 1992) stars as Mrs. D-C (short for a surname that's pro- nounced three different ways, depending on the actor's accent), the matriarch of Kilshannon, Ireland, during the 1920s. Kil- shannon is better known as Widows Peak, due to the large popula- tion of widows that have settled in town. Set apart from the rest is the widow Catherine O'Hare (Mia Farrow). Mrs. O'Hare isn't moneyed like the rest, nor does she seem to be quite in her right mind. She's stand-offish and peculiar, but because Mrs. D-C accepts her, much like a pitiful puppy that needs looking after, the others accept her as well. She's the odd duck of this little community, until Mrs. Edwina Broome (Natasha Richardson) shows up.
Brash and brassy, Mrs. Broome seems a perfect precursor to the '20s flapper girls: open and sexy, with a hint of danger in her smile. She naturally flaunts all conventions, arriving in town in the company of Godfrey (Adrian Dunbar), Mrs. D-C's only son. Tongues begin wagging at once, and Edwina encourages it.
It's fun to watch the dynamics between Edwina and the towns- people; Edwina's a bit of a tart and Richardson plays her to the hilt, alternately thrilling the townsmen and shocking the widows. She's an Englishwoman with a touch of American sauciness to her, and quite a lot of American duplicity. Her hiring of the town's most gossipy maid, known locally as Mattie O'Hara (cringe), seems to show she had nothing to hide. If you're not careful, you'll be fooled by her shell game, her three-card-monte con of a life story. And that's exactly what happens to Catherine. The two meet for the first time at the showing of a silent movie, taking an immediate dislike to each other. Of course, it doesn't help that Mrs. D-C asks Catherine to move down a seat for Edwina.
Predictably, the rivalry flares up into a feud at the next social event, a dance. Edwina accidentally bumps Catherine out of the running for a prize. Catherine, none too happy, takes her Irish-born hatred of the English out on Edwina, essentially declaring war on the symbolic representation of England. Folks dismiss the feud at first, noting that Catherine always takes in English boarders during the tourist season. They chalk her alarm up to her seeming mental instability, until she begins speaking of "Murderrr." A boat race in the second act appears to legiti- mize her fears, but pay close attention: things aren't as they appear.
The screenplay, originally written by Hugh Leonard nearly 20 years ago for Maureen O'Hara (in the Mia Farrow role), owes an obvious influence to THE STING (1972), starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford. It's clever, if a bit shallow, and if you watch closely you'll piece the con together by the big dinner scene where Catherine "reveals" Edwina's sordid past. Everyone present seems to be having great fun (who wouldn't kill for any of these delicious roles?), Farrow's Irish brogue is convincingly light and lilting, and despite the predictability, WIDOWS PEAK is a great place to spend an afternoon.
/data/webs/external/dokuwiki/data/pages/archive/media/widows.txt · Last modified: 1999/09/08 05:36 by 127.0.0.1