Baby, the Rain Must Fall

I took my towels to the laundromat so that I would have a fresh supply for the upcoming storm.  I went to work, where someone wished me a Happy New Year and talked to me about “La La Land.”  I stopped for a hamburger before returning home and seeing “Baby, the Rain Must Fall.”  The screenplay was by Horton Foote, and the stars were Steve McQueen and Lee Remick.  Remick is Georgette Thomas, a woman who gets on a Trailways bus with her daughter to Columbus, Texas to meet her husband Henry.  I kept thinking of how uncertain and stressful it would be to go to an unknown place, but she meets a deputy named Slim who helps her out.  Henry is out on parole, although he’s always just a step away from going back to jail.  I thought the main problem with the movie was McQueen’s unconvincing musical performance.  His singing was obviously dubbed, and his movements were wildly exaggerated.  I could never believe that someone like Henry would have any success at school.  I imagine him having a short attention span in the classroom, and with his violent nature, he couldn’t sit down and actually concentrate on his work.  Glen Campbell was in the movie briefly.  I liked watching Lee Remick, even though I couldn’t picture her as a Southern woman.  I guess there were links between this movie and “Tender Mercies.”  I thought the role of Henry Thomas was a natural for Elvis Presley.  The producers should have brought an actor who could really sing, or a singer who could act.  Even though the DVD cover claimed that this story reached a shattering climax, I didn’t find it all that dramatic.  The director Robert Mulligan was best known for “To Kill a Mockingbird,” but he also worked on “Up the Down Staircase” and “Summer of ’42.”  He died in 2008 at age 83.  Lee Remick died of cancer in 1991, when she was 55.  “Baby, the Rain Must Fall” is not one of Steve McQueen’s great movies.  The shot towards the end where he’s running after the flatbed truck but can’t quite catch up is symbolism of what this movie is, something that got away.  It certainly feels incomplete.  Some of the people who died on January 6 include Louis Braille (1852), Georg Cantor (1918), Theodore Roosevelt (1919), Victor Fleming (1949), Rudolf Nureyev (1993), Don Martin (2000), Lou Rawls (2006), and Pat Harrington (2016).  Today is a birthday for Eddie Redmayne (35) and Rowan Atkinson (62).

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