Sunday, February 2, 2014

Film Review - Caretakers (1963)

Caretakers (1963) is an interesting view of the Mental Health system.  Strong performances by all: Robert Stack as the Doctor, Joan Crawford as the nurse administrator who fights him, the wonderful actors and actresses who played the patients and nurses such as Polly Bergen (the main patient) and Susan Oliver as the understanding nurse.  Other amazing performances by Janis Paige, Van Williams, Sharon Hugueny, and Ellen Corby are well worth it. 

Frankly the only performance that did not make much sense was that of Ana Maria Lynch.  The film had such depth that I was distracted and frankly taken out of the film by the clear vanity lighting for Ms. Lynch.  In the credits she was listed as being a special guest performer.  Perhaps this obvious lighting was a condition of her appearing in the film.  I have not heard of Ms. Lynch before.  Was she a well-known actress?  

Ana Maria Lynch

The film brings up many important questions about whether people can be rehabilitated from mental illness.  Not only that, but can they be trusted to live at home and still take care of themselves.  Questions too big for me to answer.  What is the balance between personal freedom and public safety?

Joan Crawford and Herbert Marshall on the set of Caretakers (1963)

One of the things I love about this film, is Joan Crawford's treatment of Herbert Marshall.  He played the director of the hospital in the film, and was nearing the end of his life.  It is well known that she spent an abundance of time helping remember his lines, since he was having difficulties remembering.  Crawford has such a poor reputation.  I wish kindnesses such as this were remembered.

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