This Property Is Condemned (1966)

by guest writer

This Property Is Condemned concludes our month dedicated to Sydney Pollack. An adaptation after a one-act play by Tennessee Williams, the movie begins with a flashback of Alva’s (Natalie Wood) life as told by her little sister, Willie Starr, as she is sitting on an abandoned railroad track. Set out as a love triangle, the story includes some other very important elements like: the political turmoil of the Great Depression, the unfitting parent willing to do whatever it takes to get her way done (even at the expense of causing unhappiness and harm to her own daughter), the betrayal, the unfulfilled love, the child’s stubbornness and naivity.

The film is a complex achievement from the point of view of the original story, even though the screenplay’s writers (Francis Ford Coppola, Fred Coe and Edith Sommer) did a lot of harm to the characters’ depiction. All these considered, even Tennessee Williams tried to withdraw his name from the movie’s credits, but didn’t succeed in doing so. Another plus for This Property Is Condemned is brought by Robert Redford’s interpretation of a New Orleans stranger sent out to lay off railroad workers, falling in love with beautiful Alva. One of Sydney Pollack’s strengths stands in his capacity to create immortal characters often outrunning the dusty painting of vanished times.


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