All Fall Down (1962)

All Fall Down- Beatty as his sleazy best.

Hoo-boy. Hot on the heels of Splendor In The Grass, in which he plays a good boy so gosh darn good he wouldn’t even screw carpenter’s dream Natalie Wood, Warren Beatty starred in this little remembered but highly entertaining flick playing a women abusing sleaze bag. I’d say it might be his best role ever. I caught John Frankenhiemer’s All Fall Down for the first time recently on late night cable where it followed Splendor… in one of TCM’s theme nights, and it made quite on impression. With a script by William Inge (Splendor, Bus Stop, Picnic), and a solid cast headed by On The Waterfront‘s lip quivering co-star Eva Marie Saint as the thirty something virgin Echo O’Brien (great name),  Shane‘s Brandon De Wilde as Beatty’s obnoxiously good little brother and Karl Malden and Angela Lansbury as the long suffering parents, this one really packs a punch. Beatty would go on to become a major scenery chomping star with Bonnie & Clyde (1966) and then a major embarrassment with Ishtar (1987) and the  rapping politician Bullworth (1998) (those two seemed to have effectively ended his career), but left to someone else’s devices he was actually an excellent actor.  In this day and age of diminished cinematic expectations, All Fall Down stands out as a forgotten, if not classic, at least (low) class act.

14 thoughts on “All Fall Down (1962)”

  1. Love this movie, everytime it's on TCM I'm there. Also in a small role in this is the irrespressible Madamme Spivey who had a much bigger role in Requiem for a Heavyweight. What a character. My favorite Beatty movie with Mickey One running a close second.

  2. Ishtar gets a terrible rap for little reason. It's really not a bad film, much funnier than 98% of alleged comedies made in the past 25 years. It seriously runs out of steam near the end, but the scenes of Beatty and Hoffman composing and singing songs together are an absolute hoot! Loved Bullworth, too. I think its political content probably killed his career more than the fact that people may not have liked it (I don't know whether “the people” did hate it, and don't really care).

  3. Dig the flick as well – especially the inestimable Constance Ford in an early scene doing a hot pants turnaround from her repressed hysteric mom in “Summer Place”. James Leo Herlihy who wrote the novel also authored “Midnight Cowboy” – on which the overrated movie was based. Probably in the minority here but my own fave film with Warren B. is Lilith (from a very fine novel by J.R. Salamanca). Dick Blackburn

  4. An old fav since the LateLate Show days in high school. Glad it's re-surfaced. I'm a “Lilith” fan, too – Jean Seberg!! And don't forget the weird “Mickey One”. Yeah, Bud/Berry-Berry's my guy.

  5. Great post. Would love to see this, and Lilith too. (Jean Seberg … sigh). Another early film of Beatty's I've never seen and am curious about is the film adaptation of Tennessee Williams's The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone. Re Madam Spivy: she has a small but memorable role in The Fugitive Kind, starring Anna Magnani and Marlon Brando. Fascinating character — so butch, and she exudes authentic sleaze!

  6. Jim – Thanks for this — it looks amazing.But most of all, thanks for using the expression “Carpenter's dream”…takes me back to junior high!

  7. The new Youtube embed code sucks. Seems to cut off 1/4 of the view on blogspot. The Streets Of San Francisco – a QM production

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