The Little Foxes

Director: William Wyler
Year Released: 1941
Rating: 2.0

History seems to suggest that successful plays don't always necessarily translate into interesting films. Lillian Hellman's "The Little Foxes" does not work on screen - I found this effort emotionally distanced. Davis and company are good at playing greedy, heartless villains, but the characters the audience are supposed to root for (namely Wright and Herbert Marshall, who plays Davis' sickly husband) don't really come across very well: we never find out exactly what Marshall's illness is, nor do we spend enough time with his character, nor do we feel much for Wright, who comes across as stupid and irritating. If you want to look at it from a more abstract angle, Wyler and crew have done a good job laying the groundwork for the story, but the inter-personal relationships are never very clear, and often times I was confused as to who was using who. I didn't feel for any of the characters, so by the end I wound up enjoying the scenery instead of interacting with it. This problem crops up in a lot of plays-converted-to-cinema - but it can be averted (Cabaret, Harvey).