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.

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