Saturday, March 25, 2006


"Lobotomy gets em' home!"

This biopic tells the story (although its accuracy has been debated) of 1930's star Frances Farmer and her harrowing career as a young Hollywood actress. Jessica Lange gives the performance of a lifetime and was nominated that same year for Frances as well as Tootsie (she won for the latter). Stage actress Kim Stanley plays her mother Lillian Farmer and she too was nominated for her equally captivating performance. This film is quite sad and difficult to watch at times. Certain events and characters in the film have been heavily debated as to whether or not they ever occured or existed. There are two out-of-print books as well, one titled "Will There Really Be A Morning?" is scathingly sensational and was written almost entirely by Jean Ratcliffe (not Francis Farmer as credited). Ratcliffe was Farmer's friend towards the end of her life and she later confessed she had exagerrated much of it to enhance its marketability. The other book "Shadowland" (which Frances is based on) does not hold up much better as it claims she had a lobotomy which has been reputed by many close to Farmer. But as a film Frances is quite mesmerizing, although the film's antagonists (with the exception of Kim Stanley) are played as mere caricatures. The undeniable performances by Lange and Stanley are to be studied. John Barry's provides a momentous score.


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