Review: ‘Reflections in a Golden Eye’

Carson McCullers' novel, Reflections in a Golden Eye, about a latent homosexual US Army officer in the pre Second World War period, has been turned into a pretentious melodrama by director John Huston.

Carson McCullers’ novel, Reflections in a Golden Eye, about a latent homosexual US Army officer in the pre Second World War period, has been turned into a pretentious melodrama by director John Huston.

Adaptation features six disparate characters: Marlon Brando, the latent homosexual; his wife, Elizabeth Taylor, a practicing heterosexual – practicing with Brian Keith, whose own wife, Julie Harris, once cut off her breasts with scissors after unfortunate childbirth; Robert Forster, young fetishist and exhibitionist; Zorro David, Harris’ fey houseboy. Also prominent are a host of sex symbols, and some salty expressions.

Brando struts about and mugs as the stuffy officer, whose Dixie dialect is often incoherent. Taylor is appropriately unaware of her husband’s torment. Her dialect also obscures some vital plot points.

The most outstanding and satisfying performance is that of Brian Keith. This versatile actor is superb as the rationalizing and insensitive middle-class hypocrite.

Reflections in a Golden Eye

Production

Warner/Seven Arts. Director John Huston; Producer Ray Stark; Screenplay Chapman Mortimer, Gladys Hill; Camera Aldo Tonti; Editor Russell Lloyd; Music Toshiro Mayuzumi; Art Director Stephen Grimes

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1967. Running time: 109 MIN.

With

Elizabeth Taylor Marlon Brando Brian Keith Julie Harris Robert Forster Zorro David
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  1. Happily since this review was penned a half-century ago, John Waters and Charles Ludlum have happened and “Reflections” can assume its rightful spot in the pantheon of queer cult classics, alongside “Baby Jane”, “Baby Doll”, “Sweet Charlotte”, and the Russ Meyer/Roger Ebert magnum opus “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” (Rocky Horror what?) With a nod to Oscar, anyone who isn’t doubled-over with laughter during Brando’s panegyric to the manly virtues of barracks life isn’t human! High camp at its finest!

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