The Beguiled (1971) is a film adaptation of the novel by Thomas Cullinan. It’s about an injured Union soldier who has been taken in by a Southern belle and her three daughters, who are all hiding out from Confederate soldiers.
The the beguiled (1971 blu-ray) is a film directed by Don Siegel and starring Clint Eastwood. It tells the story of an injured Union soldier who takes refuge in a Southern girls school during the Civil War.
It’s a survival tale, or a torture porn odyssey, depending on your point of view, and it’s quite powerful, but I’m not sure it’ll need repeated viewings.
A wounded Union soldier is rescued by a Confederate seminary for girls, and as he recovers at the all-girls’ school, desire and self-preservation get the better of the soldier… with disastrous results.
Union soldier John McBurney (Clint Eastwood) is on the brink of death after being wounded on the battlefield when he is saved by a young girl attending a neighboring ladies’ seminary. She manages to bring him to the school, where the headmistress Martha (Geraldine Page) reluctantly welcomes him into their house, and all the girls — young and old – are immediately enthralled by him. He’s been nursed back to health, but he’s still frail, and John is well aware that these girls and their headmistress would hand him up to the Confederates at the first opportunity, so he sharpens his flattery skills at a rapid speed, appealing to all of their feminine senses. At first, Martha despises him and is reminded of her incestuous relationship with her brother (which, according to disturbing flashbacks, did not end well), but she eventually sees in John a welcome presence of masculinity and strength, and she begins to fall in love with him over the course of a few days/weeks. She isn’t the only one, though: Edwina (Elizabeth Hartman), who is already in her twenties but has never experienced love, confides in John, who plays on her flaws, ensuring that she falls in love with him, and very profoundly. Carol (Jo Ann Harris), a naughty little Lolita of a spitfire who all but clobbers John with her untamed sensuality, is also there, and John has a difficult time juggling all of this attention while still plotting his escape. When John is discovered having sex with Carol, a fatal accident happens, resulting in Martha amputating one of his feet, making it almost difficult for John to get out of this rapidly heating up hell. John is no longer the Alpha in this scenario, but a rat in a cage, as the females, young and old, turn against him.
The Beguiled is a horrific Civil War drama that might almost be called a horror picture, and although it’s essentially a chamber piece, it offers a variety of storylines, since the film enables us to actually hear what nearly every character is thinking throughout the film. That would be distracting and unpleasant in other films, but it seems essential in this one. It’s a survival tale, or a torture porn odyssey, depending on your point of view, and it’s quite powerful, but I’m not sure it’ll need repeated viewings. Don Siegel is the director.
A special edition Blu-ray of The Beguiled was just published by Kino Lorber, and it includes a new audio commentary by a film historian, as well as an interview with one of the cast members, a featurette, and trailers. A fresh 2K master is being transferred.
The breezy blu-ray review of the 1971 film, The Beguiled (1971), is a remake of the Sofia Coppola’s film. This movie stars Colin Farrell and Kirsten Dunst.
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