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archive:media:widows
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      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
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        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.
   RATING:  $$$
/data/webs/external/dokuwiki/data/pages/archive/media/widows.txt · Last modified: 1999/09/08 05:36 by 127.0.0.1

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