Sneha Girap (Editor)

Desperate Characters

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
1 Ratings
Rate This

Rate This

Director  Frank D. Gilroy
Screenplay  Frank D. Gilroy
Country  United States
6.2/10 IMDb

Genre  Drama
Story by  Paula Fox
Language  English
Desperate Characters movie poster
Writer  Frank D. Gilroy, Paula Fox
Release date  September 22, 1971 (1971-09-22)
Cast  Shirley MacLaine (Sophie Bentwood), Kenneth Mars (Otto Bentwood), Sada Thompson, Carol Kane
Similar movies  Play It As It Lays (1972)

Desperate characters part one

Desperate Characters is a 1971 American drama film produced, written, and directed by Frank D. Gilroy, who based his screenplay on the 1970 novel of the same name by Paula Fox.


Desperate Characters wwwgstaticcomtvthumbdvdboxart5302p5302dv8

Desperate characters part two


Desperate Characters Desperate Characters movie posters at movie poster warehouse

Sophie and Otto Bentwood are a middle-aged, middle class, childless Brooklyn Heights couple trapped in a loveless marriage. He is an attorney, she is a translator of books. Their existence is affected not only by their disintegrating relationship but by the threats of urban crime and vandalism that surround them everywhere they turn, leaving them feeling paranoid, scared, and desperately helpless. The film details their fragile emotional and psychological states as they interact with each other and their friends.


Desperate Characters Desperate Characters Movie Review 1971 Roger Ebert
  • Shirley MacLaine as Sophie Bentwood
  • Kenneth Mars as Otto Bentwood
  • Sada Thompson as Claire
  • Gerald S. O'Loughlin as Charlie
  • Production

    Desperate Characters DVD Savant Review Desperate Characters

    Sir Lew Grade had signed Shirley MacLaine to make a TV series Shirley's World. She asked Grade to fund the film which she did for minimal payment and a share of the profits; Grade agreed. He says the budget was so low he managed to recoup his money.

    Critical reception

    Desperate Characters DESPERATE CHARACTERS PART THREE YouTube

    In his review in the New York Times, Vincent Canby said, "I must confess that Desperate Characters left me, if not unmoved, then unenriched. It's as if its cheerlessness had been bottled straight, without the additive that transforms recognizable experience into art . . . In every respect, the screenplay is a vast improvement over Gilroy's Pulitzer Prize-winning The Subject Was Roses. Its literary style, however, is similar, and it's a style to which I . . . find it difficult to respond. His characters talk in great chunks of theatrical exchanges, and monologues, which not only deny the splendid accuracy of the situations and the settings, but also somehow make me suspicious of the integrity of the characters. This is especially true of the supporting characters, who are always telling us too much, remembering too many details out of the past, nudging us for sympathy and never letting us discover them at our own speed . . . I have a feeling that the director has perfectly served the writer. That is to say that Gilroy has realized the movie he intended to make. I wish I liked it more."

    Desperate Characters DESPERATE CHARACTERS PART SEVEN YouTube

    Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times described it as "a terribly interesting and well-acted movie that does not deserve some of the criticism it's getting . . . Kenneth Mars offers a deeply felt, complex performance . . . Shirley MacLaine, as his wife, achieves one of the great performances of the year. She proves that we were right, when we saw her in films like The Apartment, to know that she really had it all, could go all the way with a serious role. Watching Miss MacLaine and Mars work together is enough to justify the movie, whatever you think of its urban paranoia."

    Desperate Characters DESPERATE CHARACTERS PART ONE YouTube

    TV Guide rates it 3½ out of a possible four stars and calls it a "well-written if somewhat stagey character study [with] one of Maclaine's best performances."

    Stanley Kauffmann of The New Republic called this "a film of authenticity, of delicately realized intangibles: small-scale about large issues, truthful without settling for honest-to-God TV fact." He lists it as a "top film worth seeing" in late 1971. 9/25/71, Vol. 165 Issue 13, p24-34, 2p

    Awards and nominations

  • 21st Berlin International Film Festival:
  • Silver Bear for Best Actress (Shirley MacLaine, co-winner with Simone Signoret)
  • Silver Bear for an outstanding single achievement (winner)
  • Silver Bear for Best Screenplay (winner)
  • UNICRIT Award (Frank D. Gilroy, winner)
  • Golden Bear for Best Picture (nominee)
  • References

    Desperate Characters Wikipedia
    Desperate Characters IMDb Desperate Characters