Chief assets of Pakula-Mulligan’s Baby the Rain Must Fall [from Horton Foote’s play The Traveling Lady] are outstanding performances by its stars and an emotional punch that lingers. Steve McQueen is exactly right as irresponsible rockabilly singer, Lee Remick portrays his wife sensitively, and newcomer Kimberly Block is charming and unaffected as their six-year-old daughter.
McQueen, raised by dictatorial spinster (Georgia Simmons) who disapproves of his singing in road-houses, is troubleprone rebel. When story opens he is free on parole for a stabbing, and is joined by Remick and Block, wife and daughter he had kept secret.
Remick is vividly alive in spontaneous-appearing scenes with daughter. But director Robert Mulligan apparently was so determined to avoid soap-opera cliches that he did not permit actress to register negative emotion beyond look of distraught unhappiness even though sad events should have allowed room for tears.
Other cast members are adequate, but roles suffer from editorial cuts (confirmed by director) that leave sub-plots dangling.