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The Fox

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Mark Rydell
Produced by Raymond Stross
Written by Lewis John Carlino
Howard Koch
Based on the novella by D. H. Lawrence
Starring Sandy Dennis
Anne Heywood
Keir Dullea
Music by Lalo Schifrin
Cinematography William A. Fraker
Editing by Thomas Stanford
Distributed by Claridge Pictures
Release date(s) December 13, 1967 Canada
February 7, 1968 United States
Running time 110 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Fox is a 1967 American drama film directed by Mark Rydell. The screenplay by Lewis John Carlino and Howard Koch is based on the 1923 novella of the same title by D. H. Lawrence. The film marked Rydell's feature film directorial debut.

Contents

Plot

Jill Banford and Ellen March struggle to support themselves by raising chickens on an isolated farm in rural Canada. Dependent Jill tends to household chores and finances while the self-sufficient Ellen deals with heavier work, such as chopping wood, repairing fences, and stalking the fox that keeps raiding their coops, although she is hesitant about killing it. Jill seems content with their secluded existence, but the frustrated Ellen is less enchanted by the solitude.

In the dead of winter, merchant seaman Paul Grenfel arrives in search of his grandfather, the now-deceased former owner of the farm. With nowhere else to go while on leave, he persuades the women to allow him to stay with them in exchange for helping with the work. Tension among the three slowly escalates when his attentions to Ellen arouse Jill's resentment and jealousy.

Eventually Paul tracks and kills the fox. Just before his departure, he makes love to Ellen and asks her to leave with him, but she confesses she would feel guilty about abandoning Jill. After Paul returns to his ship, the women resume their regular routine. Paul returns unexpectedly while the two are chopping down a dying oak. He offers to complete the job and warns Jill to move away from the tree's potential path as it falls, but she refuses to listen and is killed when it crashes on her. Ellen sells the farm and she and Paul set off to start a new life together.

Production

In adapting Lawrence's novella for the screen, Lewis John Carlino and Howard Koch opted to change the setting from 1918 England to contemporary Canada in an effort to make the plot more relevant for late-1960s audiences. [1]

The film was shot on location in and around Kleinburg, Ontario.

The song "That Night," with music by Lalo Schifrin and lyrics by Norman Gimbel, is performed by Sally Stevens.

The film was released soon after the dissolution of the Motion Picture Association of America Production Code and includes scenes of nudity and sexuality, between Paul and Ellen and specifically masturbation and physical relations between two females. Rated R at the time of its original release, it was re-edited and rated PG in 1973. [2]

Cast

Critical reception

Renata Adler of the New York Times called the film "a good and interesting movie" and continued, "The pace and the quality of the color, muted and unnatural, with many scenes photographed in shadows of various kinds, convey a brooding sense of something not quite right with everyone, rather like the tone of Reflections in a Golden Eye." [3]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times called the film "a quiet, powerful masterpiece" and added, "Do not go to see The Fox because of its subject matter, and do not stay away for that reason. The scenes which disturbed Chicago's reactionary censors are filmed with quiet taste and an intuitive knowledge of human nature. And they are only a small part of a wholly natural film. Indeed, it is the natural ease of the film that is so appealing . . . The delicately constructed atmosphere of cold and snow, of early sunsets and chill lingering in the corners, establishes the tone . . . Miss Dennis has a difficult role [that] . . . could have become ridiculous, but [she] manages it well. Dullea is also stronger than he has been in other recent performances. Since David and Lisa, he has been trapped into playing a series of insecure, weak characters; this time, as the dominant personality, he is altogether successful. And he meets his match in Miss Heywood." [4]

TV Guide called it "an uneven adaptation of D.H. Lawrence's novella" and rated it three out of four stars. [5]

Awards and nominations

Because it was made in Canada, the film qualified for Best Foreign Film in the English Language at the 25th Golden Globe Awards. It also was nominated for Best Screenplay and Best Director, and Anne Heywood was nominated Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama.

Lalo Schifrin was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Music Score and the Grammy Award for the Best Original Score from a Motion Picture or Television Show.

References

External links








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