This Property Is Condemned (1966)

[6.5]

Robert Redford and Natalie Wood headline this Tennessee Williams tale adapted by Francis Ford Coppola and directed by Sydney Pollack. Redford plays a railroad representative who comes to a small Mississippi town during the Great Depression to lay off several of the company’s workers. Despite being the bearer of bad news, Redford develops feelings for the local innkeeper’s daughter (Wood), whose mother is essentially prostituting her out for cash. Wood and Redford plot their escape, but in typical Tennessee Williams fashion, things don’t go according to plan.

This Property Is Condemned benefits from evocative production design and costuming that succeed in creating a palpable atmosphere. The supporting cast members are, on the whole, pretty compelling — including Charles Bronson as a romantic foil and To Kill a Mockingbird‘s Mary Badham as Wood’s little sister, who frames the storytelling. But stars Redford and Wood hold the film back with their disparate methodologies. Redford is too laconic and reserved, which makes Wood’s over-acting all the more garish. Each certainly has their own kind of charisma, though — enough to keep the movie watchable, and fairly engaging for any audience interested in a somber, nostalgic stroll.

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