Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Preorder Alert: THE PEOPLE NEXT DOOR (1970)

Eli Wallach is attacked my mentally unstable daughter Deborah Winters

Last night I watched David Greene’s THE PEOPLE NEXT DOOR (1970), a film I’ve long wanted to see, which is coming out next month from Kino Lorber. For a film that looks and sounds on the surface quite “dated” (always a suspect qualifier at best), in terms of its fashions and music, this is a remarkably truthful document of its time. There are some forced elements in it (I couldn’t buy Julie Harris as a chain smoker for a second; it’s just a cheap tic to make her character look more obviously crippled by nerves) but it’s the only film I’ve seen about the so-called generation gap to portray it less as a gap than as a very sharp corner between two reflecting surfaces. As a longtime fan of Deborah Winters (one of my favorite ‘70s actresses for her work in CLASS OF ‘44 and BLUE SUNSHINE), I was especially pleased to discover what may be her finest and certainly bravest performance. (For 1970, this is a pretty strong R. The MPAA must have shown leniency because the film earnestly addresses important parent-child communication issues.) There is a
Bill Ackerman commentary provided as well, which I am looking forward to enjoying, as well as a new interview with cast member Don Scardino - who, like Winters, went on to work with writer-director Jeff Lieberman (in his case, in SQUIRM).

(c) 2021 by Tim Lucas. All rights reserved.

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