Tag Archives: Glenn Ford

Dear Heart (1964)

dear heart 3

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 7 out of 10

4-Word Review: Love at a convention.

Harry Mork (Glenn Ford) is a greeting card salesman traveling through New York on business when he bumps into the quirky and very lonely Elvie (Geraldine Page) who’s attending a convention there and eyes Harry as a potential catch. Harry though is already engaged to Phyllis (Angela Lansbury) a woman he has only known through correspondence, but is starting to have second thoughts about when he meets her grown son (Michael Anderson Jr.). Elvie tries putting on some moves, but Harry keeps backing away unsure at age 48 if he even wants to settle down at all as he has at times still feels the itch for the occasional fling.

One of this film’s crowning achievements and something that becomes like a third character are the crowd scenes. This may sound inconsequential, but many films have a hard time getting background extras to behave like people amidst large groups of strangers do, but here for whatever reason it gets it right and seeing the dizzying stream of people going back and forth leaves a strong impression and helps accentuate the loneliness and isolation of the main characters particularly Elvie.

I also liked the way the characters hemmed and hawed with each other during the beginning stages. At times Elvie seems more into Harry than he is with her and then other times it gets reversed. Both characters at different points put up an array of defenses and it takes a while for either of them to trust the other and come out of their shells and move into an actual relationship, which is far more realistic than most movies that usually jumps ahead too quickly and never shows the awkward phase that most anyone else goes when testing the waters with someone that they’ve just met.

Page is excellent as always playing the eccentric type of character that she’s proven to be quite adept at, however her myriad of strange quirks got a bit ridiculous and overdone.

Ford is equally good especially with this type of comedy where he plays nervous characters unsure of how to deal with some of the offbeat people around him. I was disappointed though that there was a long drawn out sequence where he tries to get a clerk at the gift card shop (Barbara Nichols) up to his hotel room for a fling, but the film then cuts away and never follows through with what occurred once they got up to the room even though it is later intimated that things didn’t go too well.

The supporting cast of familiar faces lends great comic support, but the most memorable thing about the film is that it features both actresses who went on to play the Mrs. Kravitz character in the ‘Bewitched’ TV-Show. There’s Alice Pearce, who played Mrs. Kravitz for the first two seasons before she died of cancer and then Sandra Gould who replaced her and there’s even a surreal moment where the two have a bit of a confrontation, which I found to be pretty cool.

dear heart 2

My Rating: 7 out of 10

Released: December 2, 1964

Runtime: 1Hour 54Minutes

Not Rated

Director: Delbert Mann

Studio: Warner Brothers

Available: VHS, DVD (Warner Archive), Amazon Instant Video

The Visitor (1979)

visitor 1

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 6 out of 10

4-Word Review: Her daughter is evil.

Dark forces from another dimension conspire to use an 8-year-old girl named Katy (Paige Conner) as their centerpiece in creating an evil empire on earth. Dr. Walker (Mel Ferrer), while working under the cover of being a noted surgeon, heads the secret organization. He instructs local millionaire Raymond Armstead (Lance Henriksen) who made a pact with the group years earlier in order to receive his fortune, that he must impregnate his girlfriend Barbara (Joanne Nail) again, so that she can give birth to an evil son to complement their already wicked daughter Katy and allow the two to eventually reproduce a new offspring. Barbara though, who does not know of Raymond’s secret pact and feels leery of her child already, is unwilling to have another one, which forces him to use unethical ways to get her to change her mind.

This Italian production, which was filmed in Atlanta, Georgia, has gotten a bad rap from the critics and there have been several different cuts issued with some making more sense than others. For the most part it’s a mixed bag with lots of story loopholes and an ill-advised music score that seems better suited for an NFL highlight reel. The movie also defies any genre and jumps between several, but ultimate fails at all of them.

However, if taken as a cheesy over-the-top production then it’s not half-bad. The camera work, editing, special effects and sets are to a degree impressive. The scene where Glenn Ford’s character is driving down a busy highway only to have his eyes pecked out by an evil hawk, which creates a major road accident that culminates with the car tumbling onto a softball field is quite exciting. Katy’s cat-and-mouse foot chase with the John Huston character through the Atlanta streets and some abandoned buildings is also well done as is her ice skating foray in which she single-handedly takes out a group of much older and bigger boys by sending them flying through the windows of some nearby shops and restaurants.

Conner’s bad girl performance with her angelic face making a perfect contrast to her otherwise dark personality is great. Nail as her mother is equally beautiful and creates enough sympathy from the viewer to make the torment that she goes through unsettling to watch. Shelley Winters, in a rare turn playing a normal, likable character, is also excellent as the family’s housekeeper

The male cast though is wasted including Franco Nero who appears briefly only at the beginning and very end. John Huston and Glenn Ford were too old for their respective parts and casting younger actors in their roles would’ve made more sense, but seeing director Sam Peckinpah in a brief acting bit is fun.

The ending can’t quite equal the audaciousness of the rest of it, but there is enough weird, wacky, one-of-a-kind shit here to keep anyone especially those with an affinity for the bizarre entertained and amused.

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My Rating: 6 out of 10

Released: March 22, 1979

Runtime: 1Hour 48Minutes

Rated R

Director: Giulio Paradisi

Studio: American International Pictures

Available: DVD, Blu-ray, Amazon Instant Video