Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967)

109 mins | Drama | 10 October 1967

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HISTORY

On 27 Jul 1956, NYT reported that Hecht-Lancaster Productions was pursuing screen rights to Carson McCullers’s 1941 novel, Reflections in a Golden Eye, for writer Tennessee Williams and director Carol Reed. Five years later, however, a 6 Aug 1961 NYT article announced the option by Ray Stark and Eliot Hyman of Seven Arts Productions. The company was set to produce in association with Louis de Rochemont once he completed The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1961, see entry), but de Rochemont did not remain with the project. Development continued for several years, during which time the 20 Jul 1963 NYT named Keir Dullea for the role of “Private Williams.”
       Following a successful collaboration on The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962), British director Tony Richardson signed a multi-picture deal with Seven Arts, which included Reflections in a Golden Eye. The 17 May 1964 NYT and 20 May 1964 Var indicated that Richardson would also produce through American Woodfall Productions, the newly formed U.S. division of Woodfall Productions, which he co-owned with John Osborne. The script had been written by twenty-four-year-old Francis Ford Coppola, and the budget was estimated at $2.5 million.
       By the following year, however, a 25 Feb 1965 DV brief indicated that the film no longer had a writer, and no further contemporary sources mention Richardson’s involvement. The property struggled to find a home, as news items in the 31 Mar 1965 and 30 Mar 1966 Var cited negotiations with both United Artists and Paramount Pictures before it was picked up by Warner Bros. ... More Less

On 27 Jul 1956, NYT reported that Hecht-Lancaster Productions was pursuing screen rights to Carson McCullers’s 1941 novel, Reflections in a Golden Eye, for writer Tennessee Williams and director Carol Reed. Five years later, however, a 6 Aug 1961 NYT article announced the option by Ray Stark and Eliot Hyman of Seven Arts Productions. The company was set to produce in association with Louis de Rochemont once he completed The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1961, see entry), but de Rochemont did not remain with the project. Development continued for several years, during which time the 20 Jul 1963 NYT named Keir Dullea for the role of “Private Williams.”
       Following a successful collaboration on The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962), British director Tony Richardson signed a multi-picture deal with Seven Arts, which included Reflections in a Golden Eye. The 17 May 1964 NYT and 20 May 1964 Var indicated that Richardson would also produce through American Woodfall Productions, the newly formed U.S. division of Woodfall Productions, which he co-owned with John Osborne. The script had been written by twenty-four-year-old Francis Ford Coppola, and the budget was estimated at $2.5 million.
       By the following year, however, a 25 Feb 1965 DV brief indicated that the film no longer had a writer, and no further contemporary sources mention Richardson’s involvement. The property struggled to find a home, as news items in the 31 Mar 1965 and 30 Mar 1966 Var cited negotiations with both United Artists and Paramount Pictures before it was picked up by Warner Bros. The 21 Apr 1965 Var and 26 Aug 1965 NYT suggested that Joanne Woodward and Richard Burton were in talks for roles, although they do not appear in the final film. Peter Glenville was also mentioned as director, and the expected locale reportedly changed from Louisiana to Mexico. On 20 Apr 1966, LAT announced that filmmaker John Huston would direct a script by English novelist Chapman Mortimer, whose work Huston greatly admired. With a start date finally scheduled for early fall, Ray Stark decided to step down from his executive position at Seven Arts to personally oversee his productions. According to the 29 Jun 1966 and 19 Oct 1966 Var, the agreement allowed him to continue serving as a consultant for the company, and stipulated a $62,500 bonus should he deliver Reflections in a Golden Eye to Warner Bros. within the designated budget.
       Meanwhile, Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift were signed to portray the unhappily married couple “Leonora” and “Maj. Weldon Penderton.” According to a 13 Mar 1978 DV review of Patricia Bosworth’s biography, Montgomery Clift, Taylor, a longtime friend, personally covered the actor’s insurance fee, as most major studios were no longer willing to hire him due to his increased dependency on drugs and alcohol. Despite these efforts, Clift died of a heart attack on 23 Jul 1966, prompting a rush to secure a replacement in time for filming. A 17 Aug 1966 Var report claimed that Burton, Taylor’s husband at the time, was once again in consideration, but the role ultimately went to Marlon Brando.
       According to a 30 Sep 1966 DV production chart, principal photography began four days earlier, on 26 Sep 1966. Items in the 5 Oct 1966 DV, 17 Oct 1966 NYT, and 26 Oct 1966 Var reported that the first portion of the film was shot in Long Island, NY, on locations in Garden City and the Mitchel Field Air Force Base. The unit then spent the remaining ten weeks at the Dino de Laurentiis Studios in Rome, Italy, which NYT claimed was done “solely to accommodate” Taylor. This decision proved to be problematic following an aggressive incident on 24 Nov 1966 between Brando and the Italian paparazzi. As a result, the 12 Dec 1966 DV and 26 Apr 1967 Var alleged that Huston threatened to cancel the final weeks of production and reassess plans for future projects in Italy. An 18 Jan 1967 Var news item indicated that Huston briefly left the country, during which time production designer Stephen Grimes completed pickup shots with Taylor. Huston wrapped solo work with Brando upon his return.
       The 30 Nov 1966 Var stated that former British boxing champion Dave Crowley was cast as a referee in the film, but his involvement could not be determined. Additionally, a 4 Oct 1967 LAT news story named Mary Squire as Brando’s stand-in, and the 1 Nov 1967 Var revealed that Taylor used a body double for her nude scene.
       Although publicity surrounding the film often focused on the potentially controversial adult themes, the 6 Sep 1967 Var announced that no edits had been made to the completed cut, which received a Production Code seal from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and was tagged as “Suggested for Mature Audiences.”
       According to a 5 Oct 1967 LAT advertisement, the Los Angeles, CA, world premiere engagement was scheduled to begin 10 Oct 1967 at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, followed by a New York City opening the next day. Contemporary reviews noted that the initial release was screened in a monochromatic sepia tone, with only selected objects, often pink, appearing in color. While the 8 Oct 1967 LAT praised Huston’s coloring, NYT critic Bosley Crowther’s 12 Oct 1967 critique called the effect “pretentious” and distracting for viewers. A 24 Dec 1967 NYT letter to the editor revealed that later engagements featured full Technicolor prints. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
25 Feb 1965
p. 10.
Daily Variety
25 Jul 1966
p. 7.
Daily Variety
30 Sep 1966
p. 9.
Daily Variety
5 Oct 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
12 Dec 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
13 Mar 1978
p. 14.
Los Angeles Times
20 Apr 1966
Section D, p. 13.
Los Angeles Times
4 Oct 1967
Section D, p. 11.
Los Angeles Times
5 Oct 1967
Section D, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
8 Oct 1967
Section D, p. 14.
New York Times
27 Jul 1956
p. 13.
New York Times
6 Aug 1961
Section X, p. 5.
New York Times
20 Jul 1963
p. 11.
New York Times
17 May 1964
Section X, p. 9.
New York Times
26 Aug 1965
p. 40.
New York Times
17 Oct 1966
p. 49.
New York Times
11 Oct 1967
p. 36.
New York Times
12 Oct 1967
p. 59.
New York Times
24 Dec 1967
p. 74.
Variety
20 May 1964
p. 5.
Variety
31 Mar 1965
p. 4.
Variety
21 Apr 1965
p. 13.
Variety
30 Mar 1966
p. 18.
Variety
29 Jun 1966
p. 3.
Variety
17 Aug 1966
p. 4.
Variety
19 Oct 1966
p. 5.
Variety
26 Oct 1966
p. 18.
Variety
30 Nov 1966
p. 61.
Variety
18 Jan 1967
p. 24.
Variety
26 Apr 1967
p. 40.
Variety
6 Sep 1967
p. 7.
Variety
1 Nov 1967
p. 24.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A John Huston-Ray Stark Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dir
Set dir
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus comp
Mus cond
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup
Makeup
Hairstyles for Elizabeth Taylor
Hairstyles
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Prod mgr
Scr supv
Horsemaster
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Reflections in a Golden Eye by Carson McCullers (Boston, 1941).
DETAILS
Release Date:
10 October 1967
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 10 October 1967
New York opening: 11 October 1967
Production Date:
26 September 1966--January 1967
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros.--Seven Arts International, Ltd.
Copyright Date:
28 October 1967
Copyright Number:
LP35799
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
109
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1948 Major Weldon Penderton and his wife, Leonora, are living at an Army post in Georgia. A latent homosexual, the major tries to hide his sexual impotence by maintaining a brusque and authoritative attitude toward his men. Leonora, on the other hand, treats her husband with obvious contempt, making little effort to conceal her adulterous affair with a neighbor, Lieut. Col. Morris Langdon. Langdon's wife, Alison, is a brooding psychotic who, following the birth of a deformed child, mutilated her breasts and now finds solace only in the company of her effeminate houseboy, Anacleto. Also living on the post is withdrawn young Private Williams, who works in the stables and takes care of Leonora's favorite stallion. Unknown to all, Williams is in the habit of sneaking into the Penderton house late at night to gaze intently at Leonora's sleeping body and lovingly fondle her lingerie. After observing Williams, stark naked, riding a horse in the nearby forest, the major secretly begins to lust after the young man, following him on the post and into the woods where he sunbathes in the nude. Late one night, Alison spies Williams entering the Penderton house and follows him to Leonora's room. Upon witnessing his voyeuristic ritual, she suffers an emotional breakdown and makes plans to divorce her husband and go away with Anacleto. Langdon, believing her to be mad, has her committed to a sanitarium, and there she dies of heart failure. Then, during a driving rainstorm, Private Williams makes another trip to the Penderton house. The major sees him and mistakenly assumes that he is the reason for the soldier's visit. When Williams enters Leonora's room instead, Penderton takes a ... +


In 1948 Major Weldon Penderton and his wife, Leonora, are living at an Army post in Georgia. A latent homosexual, the major tries to hide his sexual impotence by maintaining a brusque and authoritative attitude toward his men. Leonora, on the other hand, treats her husband with obvious contempt, making little effort to conceal her adulterous affair with a neighbor, Lieut. Col. Morris Langdon. Langdon's wife, Alison, is a brooding psychotic who, following the birth of a deformed child, mutilated her breasts and now finds solace only in the company of her effeminate houseboy, Anacleto. Also living on the post is withdrawn young Private Williams, who works in the stables and takes care of Leonora's favorite stallion. Unknown to all, Williams is in the habit of sneaking into the Penderton house late at night to gaze intently at Leonora's sleeping body and lovingly fondle her lingerie. After observing Williams, stark naked, riding a horse in the nearby forest, the major secretly begins to lust after the young man, following him on the post and into the woods where he sunbathes in the nude. Late one night, Alison spies Williams entering the Penderton house and follows him to Leonora's room. Upon witnessing his voyeuristic ritual, she suffers an emotional breakdown and makes plans to divorce her husband and go away with Anacleto. Langdon, believing her to be mad, has her committed to a sanitarium, and there she dies of heart failure. Then, during a driving rainstorm, Private Williams makes another trip to the Penderton house. The major sees him and mistakenly assumes that he is the reason for the soldier's visit. When Williams enters Leonora's room instead, Penderton takes a revolver and kills him. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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