Period of Adjustment is lower case Tennessee Williams, but it also illustrates that lower case Williams is superior to the upper case of most modern playwrights.
Jane Fonda-Jim Hutton and Lois Nettleton-Anthony Franciosa are two teams whose emotional instability is explored. The togetherness of the first couple – newlyweds – is threatened by the insecurity of the afflicted groom, whose periodically severe outbreaks of the shakes are the manifestation of a long-standing complex wherein he feels compelled to hide behind a false he-man facade for fear of being found inadequate or below par at the supreme sexual moment.
Relations of the second pair are impaired by a more routine issue – in-law interference – coupled with the wife’s accurate knowledge she was wed for money, not love – an original mercenary motive dissolved, however, after six years of marriage. Doesn’t sound very funny, but there are spurts and flashes of good fun, both in dialog and situation.
Fonda gives an animated performance and makes an impression, but there are times when animation lapses into over-animation, stripping the character of believability. Hutton does generally well by the part of the afflicted husband. Franciosa has the meatiest part, and plays it to the hilt, creating an appealing, attractive, masculine person. Nettleton is solid as the gradually more desirable wife. George Roy Hill’s direction has peaks and valleys.
1962: Nomination: Best B&W Art Direction