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      The Sound and the Fury

      Released Mar 27, 1959 1h 55m Drama List
      60% Tomatometer 5 Reviews 44% Audience Score Fewer than 50 Ratings The once-prominent Compson family of Jefferson, Miss., has been reduced to near-penury by generations of alcoholism and sin. Levelheaded Jason (Yul Brynner) struggles to keep the family together, but his teenage stepsister, Quentin (Joanne Woodward), chafes against his strictures. When Quentin's estranged mother (Margaret Leighton) reappears in town and carnival worker Charles (Stuart Whitman) attempts to seduce the virginal teen, the family may finally be headed for complete collapse. Read More Read Less

      Critics Reviews

      View All (5) Critics Reviews
      Moira Walsh The Catholic World The Sound and the Fury is another depressing but generally tasteful and responsible examination of the seamier side of life. Nov 28, 2023 Full Review Manny Farber The New Leader In many ways, "Sound" is a bad joke... However, everything outside the story is sharply etched and fairly gripping for an opulent movie. Sep 15, 2021 Full Review George Bourke Miami Herald The whole cast is magnificent and the color production rates top credits. Jul 1, 2020 Full Review Clyde Gilmour Maclean's Magazine The screen edition of the William Faulkner novel is crammed with hifalutin "significance" which somehow never comes into sharp focus. Nov 14, 2019 Full Review Isabel Quigly The Spectator As a picture of Southern life or a study of human relationships the film utterly fails to convince one, being strangled by local colour and an unwavering belief in the commercial possibilities of the most uncommer- cialised parts of the South, Jul 12, 2018 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

      View All (4) audience reviews
      Mark B As soon as Yul Brynner stands at the top of the stairs and says Qventin vhere have you been? The film turns into a funny movie. Miscast, miswritten. Misdirected. Faulkner deserved better. Rated 1 out of 5 stars 08/26/23 Full Review steve d I stick by my assessment that it is unfilmable. Rated 1 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review kevin w More time spent in the sultry South, where sex is so alluring simply because there's not a heck of a lot much else to do. Joanne Woodward is a young woman feeling bored by the sameness of her life and by the slow decline of her once respected family and thusly looking for a little pick-me-up, nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Yul Brynner is an outsider, but now running the whole show, if only because he's the only one who cares to. Sure, his Southern accent is for the birds, but he delivers the usual strong performance that holds down the usual languid proceedings Southern Gothic usually takes. Not boring, if ever so predictable. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review Audience Member All film adaptations of novels present difficulties since they usually present more story than you can tell in 120 minutes. What is the core of the novel? What story best reflects that core? What essentials must stay? What do you have to leave out? The Sound and the Fury is an utterly unadaptable novel, and it's a fool's errand to try. It's hard enough to figure out what the story even is from Faulkner's stream of consciousness. Now try and figure out a story from that thing in Hollywood in the 1950s that will look like a movie and will survive the Hays Office censorship and become a commercial success. Jeez, why try? Do yourself a favor and option a Zane Grey novel. In memory of my old Honors English teacher Miss Lucas, I gave Martin Ritt's The Sound and the Fury a shot. You can approach a film adaptation of a novel one of two ways - how does it serve the source material, and how does it stand on its own? You'd better choose #2 on this one, because I'll tell you right now, this film has as much resemblance to Faulkner's novel as it has to Green Eggs and Ham. Separating this particular novel from its impenetrable style will probably always deprive it of its oxygen; the style IS the substance. Without the dense impossible prose, it's just a story of a messed-up family. If you can't spend time in Benjy's head or Quentin's head or Jason's head, then it's not The Sound and the Fury. So then you're left with yet another movie about the decaying and decadent South, with nattering women and brooding men, all deep in their own shame and lust. The film concentrates on Caddy's daughter Quentin and her struggle of wills with her Uncle Jason (a step-uncle here so the Hays Office will let them kiss). The script knits together a viable narrative, not terribly plausible and impossibly distant from the novel. Jason and Quentin discover newfound respect for each other and live happily ever after? Are you freakin' kidding me??? At least you have a couple of first-rate performances here from Joanne Woodward and Ethel Waters as Quentin and Dilsey, respectively. Joanne Woodward was 28 at the time, playing a 16-ish girl. Her talent is jaw-dropping. Just watching her absently walk 15 feet puts you straight into her mindset - bored, angry, curious, aimless, unsure, impatient for what life has waiting for her. Ethel Waters played the standard role just about every middle-aged black woman played back then - housemaid to white people. Her every moment is pain - physical pain, emotional pain, memory pain. Happily, the screenwriters spared her most of the bossy Mammy-type dialogue this role usually gets and gave her dialogue that was short, succinct and cut right to the character's truth. She bore the pain of all the years with this horrible family her every moment on screen. Yul Brynner carries all the appropriate power and anger you'd want from a Jason, but it's sadly impossible to ignore his Russian accent. Did they really think we'd think his accent was Cajun? Sheesh. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 11/16/15 Full Review Read all reviews
      The Sound and the Fury

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis The once-prominent Compson family of Jefferson, Miss., has been reduced to near-penury by generations of alcoholism and sin. Levelheaded Jason (Yul Brynner) struggles to keep the family together, but his teenage stepsister, Quentin (Joanne Woodward), chafes against his strictures. When Quentin's estranged mother (Margaret Leighton) reappears in town and carnival worker Charles (Stuart Whitman) attempts to seduce the virginal teen, the family may finally be headed for complete collapse.
      Director
      Martin Ritt
      Producer
      Jerry Wald
      Screenwriter
      Irving Ravetch, Harriet Frank Jr.
      Distributor
      20th Century Fox
      Production Co
      20th Century Fox
      Genre
      Drama
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Mar 27, 1959, Original
      Runtime
      1h 55m