Retro: The Unquiet American


George Axelrod
USA 1966
105 min

George Axelrod’s 1966 black comedy about sexual hysteria and the American dream presents a view of southern California that rivals Nathanael West’s <![CDATA[<i>]]>The Day of the Locust<![CDATA[</i>]]> in its savagery and satirical insight. Tuesday Weld, in a career-defining per­formance, plays a luscious high schooler whose Mephistophelian classmate (Roddy McDowell) promises to get her everything she wants, and though the movie is sometimes too dark to be simply funny, a good bit of it is flat-out hilarious. Lola Albright is especially good as Weld’s mother, and the scene in which Weld and her father (Max Showalter) shop for sweaters may top Kubrick’s <![CDATA[<i>]]>Lolita<![CDATA[</i>]]> (as well as Nabokov’s) in its sheer audacity. Axelrod, directing his first feature, collaborated with Larry H. Johnson on the screenplay, adapting a novel by Al Hine; with Ruth Gordon, Martin West, and Harvey Korman.

  • Roddy McDowall - Joe Carraclough
  • Tuesday Weld
  • Lola Albright
  • Martin West
  • Ruth Gordon
George Axelrod
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