Saturday, May 09, 2009

A Mother's Day Movie

Just out of curiosity, if you were planning to show a movie about a mother on Mother's Day, which movie would you choose?

Would you choose "Forrest Gump," which shows the close relationship between a mother (played by Sally Field) and her mentally challenged son (Tom Hanks)?

Would you choose a move about an overprotective mother, like "Butterflies Are Free," the film for which Eileen Heckart won an Oscar?

Would you choose a movie about an abusive mother, like "Mommie Dearest," in which Faye Dunaway played the allegedly monstrous mother, Joan Crawford?

There are many movies that explore the relationship between a mother and her child(ren). There are even movies that explore the relationship between a stepmother and her child(ren).

But the movie that Turner Classic Movies has chosen for its primetime spotlight tomorrow night, "Bunny Lake Is Missing," probes a relationship that may not even exist — because the child may not exist.

In the movie, Carol Lynley plays a single woman who relocates from America to England where she and her 4–year–old daughter, "Bunny," will live with her brother. Lynley's character drops Bunny off for her first day of nursery school, but when she returns to pick her up later that day, no one at the school can recall ever seeing the child.

For that matter, movie viewers haven't seen her, either.

Thus begins a harrowing tale of a police investigation for a possibly nonexistent child. Laurence Olivier plays the police superintendent, Noël Coward (in one of his final film roles) plays a sadomasochist who lets himself into the Lakes' apartment as he wishes and Keir Dullea (perhaps best remembered for his role as "Dave" in the film "2001: A Space Odyssey") plays Lynley's brother.

The movie has a surprise ending, which I won't give away here. I will only encourage you to watch it. It has become something of a cult favorite since it made its debut in 1965.

The film is directed by one of my favorite directors, Otto Preminger, who also made one of my favorite courtroom films, "Anatomy of a Murder." He also directed one of my favorite political films, "Advise and Consent."

The movie will be shown at 7 p.m. (Central).