Hey, guys, today I've got a review of The Rainmaker (1956) for you all - and I'm sorry to say I didn't like it all that much!
THE RAINMAKER (1956): Cast, plot details
Flimflamming his way through the drought-plagued Southwest, Bill Starbuck (Burt Lancaster) promises -- for $100 -- to bring rain to farmer H.C. Curry (Cameron Prud'Homme). But Curry's spinster daughter (Katharine Hepburn) remains dubious about Starbuck's guarantee until he works his pitchman charm on her. [from Netflix]
- Katharine Hepburn as Lizzie Curry
- Burt Lancaster as Bill Starbuck
- Wendell Corey as Deputy J.S File
- Lloyd Bridges as Noah Curry
THE VERDICT: ★★★
This movie has wonderful actors and a plot with substance, but the matter in which it is executed results in simply a ridiculous romp you weren't really expecting. Maybe give it a watch.
I was expecting this to be one of those "a spinster falls madly in love for the first time" kind of movies, which it sort of was, but then it wasn't.
The plot sounded pretty interesting to me, and then, of course, Katharine Hepburn - Kate Hepburn is a good enough reason to watch anything - so I was really excited to see this. So I'm very sorry to find that it didn't really live up to my expectations.
Let's start with the acting. As always, Kate Hepburn is perfect - no really, I couldn't hate Katie in anything - but truly. I like her character, because I like spinster characters, and Lizzie Curry was definitely one. Kate is brave and spunky, and it's really all her movie, despite the title. It's nice to watch her transform from the insecure spinster sister who has accepted the fact she's a "plain Jane" into a woman who knows how beautiful she is. She was Oscar nominated for this and her performance is one of, or perhaps the best, attributes to this whole film.
Burt Lancaster is a little over the top as a rainmaker, but in his defense, Bill Starbuck is a wildly whimsical character and so I guess the only way you could play a role like that is to overreact. Wendell Corey and Lloyd Bridges were okay, but they were mostly props for Lizzie Curry and Bill Starbuck and don't really have the opportunity to do much. As a comic relief, Earl Holliman plays Jim Curry and he was entertaining to say the least.
The whole movie was very stagey and very talky; for that matter, it was based on a play, but plays can be easily transferred to the screen without feeling like you're watching a filmed stage performance - which was what this felt like. The whole movie takes course over one night that seems to go on forever, and so much happens within what really should be a short time frame, it just felt ridiculous. Lizzie & Bill's relationship seems pretty much frivolous and at the end of the movie you're not sure if you watched a melodrama or a comedy or what anymore.
Too bad, I really thought that this was going to be a good movie. The pros are pretty much the two main characters, Lizzie Curry & Bill Starbuck, which are just entertaining roles to watch. And then another pro is Katharine Hepburn, of course, and it's also very visually appealing. But otherwise I can't think of much else that I liked about this movie.
PHOTOS & TRIVIA
- Paramount originally wanted William Holden for the role of Bill Starbuck
- Bing Crosby wanted the role of Bill Starbuck
- Elvis Presley tested for the role of Jim Curry
A MOVIE TIDBIT
The whole movie's right on the tube of You -
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