This is a handsomely-mounted, well acted Depression era drama about the effect of rail-road retrenchment on a group of boarding-house people. Derived from a Tennessee Williams one-acter, the production is adult without being sensational, touching without being maudlin.
Francis Coppola, Fred Coe and Edith Sommer are credited with the script, ‘suggested’ from an earlier Williams play in which two young kids chat about the past.
Natalie Wood stars as the young Dixie belle, older daughter of Kate Reid, latter playing a sleazy landlady to some railroad men. Wood dreams of another life while she flirts up a storm, acting as the shill for her mother.
Robert Redford gives an outstanding performance as the railroad efficiency expert sent to town to lay off most of the crew. Plot-wise, the role is thankless and heavy, but Redford, through voice, expression and movement – total acting – makes the character sympathetic.
Charles Bronson is excellent as the earthy boarder.