Baby, the Rain Must Fall (1965)
Review by HTQ4

Written by Horton Foote, based on his play The Traveling Lady
Directed byRobert Mulligan
Starring Steve McQueen, Lee Remick, Don Murray, and Kimberly Block

Released by: Columbia Tristar
Rating: NR (suitable for all audiences)
Region: 1
Anamorphic: Yes

My Advice: Rent it, but be ready to want to own it

Georgette Thomas (Remick) has traveled by bus all the way from Tyler, Texas to Columbus, Texas with her young daughter, Margaret Rose (Block) on nothing more than a hope that she will get to see her husband, Henry (McQueen), again. Henry has been in prison for the past several years and has never even met Margaret Rose. She arrives in Columbus to find that Henry has been out on parole long enough to establish himself with a handyman position that was set up by his ailing and overbearing foster mother, Miss Kate. Henry is convinced that if he can raise the money, he can move to either Nashville or Hollywood to sell the songs he writes with his small band that plays the local dance halls on Friday nights. Georgette wants to help him with that dream, but his past may conspire to keep him from it.

There's much more to the story than that, but I didn't want to give anything away. This is a somewhat weak movie with three amazing performances hidden away. McQueen, Remick, and young Block all three turn in some dynamite stuff. Their strained relationship is one of the most touching and real that I've seen on screen in a long time. Mulligan and Foote set up their first meeting wonderfully by opening the movie on the bus from Tyler to Columbus and establishing the mother/daughter relationship between Georgette and Margaret Rose with such ease and grace it's scary. When McQueen enters the picture, you really are not sure how he's going to react to seeing them for the first time in almost ten years and you can cut the gorgeous dramatic tension with a knife.

Not only that, the film is beautifully shot in black and white which really adds to the isolation that the recently reunited Thomas family feels. The whole story moves along fairly slowly, but it works if you allow yourself to step back in time with the filmmakers and really buy into the relationship set up by Remick and Block. This movie is a rare gem that has not gotten a lot of press in recent years but it should be seen by everyone. The shame of it is that, according to the IMDB, this film was not nominated for any awards whatsoever. More's the pity.

The DVD is very sparse. Granted, McQueen succumbed to lung cancer nearly twenty years ago, but it would have been nice to have heard from some of the other people who worked on this movie. After all, Horton Foote is aging, but still with us, as is Mulligan. The two of these guys could have gotten together either for a commentary track or for an interview session about their work on this movie. As it is, there are no special features on the disc whatsoever. It would have been nice to have had a retrospective look at the movie with a few interviews from some of the surviving cast and crew members. This disc doesn't even sport a still gallery from the movie.

I'm just thankful that it's been saved in the DVD format. Pick this one up as a rental before you make up your mind whether or not to purchase it. For my money, I say own it.

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