Saturday, January 5, 2008

"The Beguiled"

I may have written about this movie before, but I'm pretty sure I haven't. I thought of it again, because when we were in Springfield, we saw previews for it on TV. Ken's step dad loves Westerns, whether movies or TV shows, so we watch some of both while we're there. They're very entertaining, but then, I've always loved Westerns, too. ("The Long Riders," "Silverado," "Tombstone," "Purgatory"...I could go on.)

Probably my favorite Clint Eastwood movie (and one of my favorite movies of all-time) is "The Beguiled," which is not really a Western. (Ken's mom and step dad knew of the movie, and apparently have watched it before.) It was released in 1971, but I recall seeing it on late night TV sometime in the mid-70's. I would say that it's as much of a horror movie as it is anything. It's sick and twisted in a lot of ways, and it's one of the rare movies in which Clint is actually a bad guy. He's a Union soldier that is wounded in the South, and he's found by a group of girls that attend a Southern girls' school in the area. They take him in and nurse him back to health. "Mr. McBee" is Clint in his young, very handsome prime, and almost all the girls are charmed by him: young Amy, who loves him in a brotherly way; Edwina, the shy and repressed teacher; Martha, the older headmistress who still has a fire burning; and nubile Carol, who is a first-rate tease. As you can imagine, things go horribly wrong. Did I mention that Amy picks mushrooms in the woods, and Mr. McBee loves them? Mm-hmm.

It's some good stuff. If you ever get a chance, watch it, especially the uncut version that didn't air on TV. I didn't see the unedited version until many years after I saw the edited one, and the cut scenes add a whole 'nother level to the complexity and twistedness of the relationships in the movie.

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