Released in 1971 (the same year as Dirty Harry and Play Misty for Me), the gothic melodrama The Beguiled was a disappointment at the box office. Based on the novel A Painted Devil by Thomas P. Cullinan, The Beguiled is set in the final days of the Civil War and concerns Cpl. John McBurney (Clint Eastwood) a severely wounded Union solider who finds refuge in a small Confederate girls’ boarding school. They take him in to dress his wounds and plan to turn him in when the next patrol comes. In the meantime, McBurney cons his way into all their good graces.
Thick with a sense of uneasiness, where not sure where director Don Siegel is taking us, but we know it’s nowhere good. The grisly third act (including a blood-curdling scene of “period medicine”) are sometimes difficult to watch but seems inevitable. The story occasionally goes over the top and doesn’t seem to care whether viewers will follow or not.
The strong performances help to soften the occasionally difficult story. Geraldine Page is excellent as the head of the school. Watch her very carefully in in the terrific scene where she shakes off three soldiers who stop in late one night, offering to help “look after” her girls. She’s no pushover. All of the younger actresses are solid as well, with Elizabeth Hartman (A Patch of Blue) and Jo Ann Harris deserving plaudits. Eastwood is quite good in a role that doesn’t allow for his usual restraint. Unlike a lot of Clint Eastwood’s films, The Beguiled doesn’t lend itself to repeated viewings. Nonetheless, it’s occasionally funny, sometimes disturbing and never boring.
Cited as being from a new 2K master. Like the other ‘Special Edition’ Clint Eastwood films being released by Kino (Play Misty for Me, Joe Kidd, Two Mules for Sister Sara, High Plains Drifter and The Eiger Sanction), this looks strong throughout. Colors are rich and deep. Details are impressive in close-ups and really highlights the cinematography.
The DTS-HD Master 2.0 audio is a wonderful sounding mix to my ears. Clean dialogue with no hisses or pops. Lalo Schifrin’s score shines.
English SDH subtitles are included.
The following extras are available:
- NEW! Audio Commentary by Film Historian Kat Elinger
- Interview with Actress Melody Thomas Scott (HD, 17:54)
- The Beguiled, Misty, Don and Clint – Featurette (HD, 6:13)
- TRAILERS FROM HELL with John Landis (HD, 2:52)
- Theatrical Trailer (2:43)
- Reversible Art
- Limited Edition O-Card Slipcase
The Beguiled (1971)
Movie title: The Beguiled
Duration: 105 min
Director(s): Clint Eastwood
Actor(s): Clint Eastwood, Geraldine Page, Elizabeth Hartman, Jo Ann Harris, Darleen Carr , Mae Mercer
Genre: Drama, Western, War, Romance, Period