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Mr. and Mrs. Bridge

Director James Ivory and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala have painstakingly adapted two outstanding novels by Evan S. Connell about the strained marriage of a ramrod-stiff Kansas City lawyer and his inhibited wife. The film tells the story of Walter and India Bridge, played by Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, by means of a series of vignettes that move through the Thirties and Forties as their children grow up and go off to worlds more violent, erotic and dangerous than anything the Bridges have encountered in their cocoon of rigid formality. The film is dawdling, sometimes maddeningly so, but Newman and Woodward deliver lovingly detailed and bruisingly true performances that not only command attention but richly reward it. Blythe Danner, as India’s stifled friend, and Diane Kagan, as Walter’s fed-up secretary (the scene in which she tells the bastard off is a gem), also contribute powerfully to this elegant and exacting anatomy of a marriage.


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