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Sunday, June 2, 2013

THE APPALOOSA (1965)

Horseplay and gunplay in Old Mexico

In THE APPALOOSA, a bandito kingpin (John Saxon) steals a rancher's (Marlon Brando) prize stud stallion. Brando gets it back and tries to vamoose ... with Saxon's unhappy runaway wife along for the ride. Needless to say, Saxon isn't happy with either loss, and the struggle between the two powerful men quickly escalates. Watch for an early "Ouch!" scene when Brando and Saxon arm wrestle, with the loser getting his forearm ground down onto the stinger of a deadly scorpion. Not a great film, but great fun watching Brando masquerade as a Mexican with coffee ground stain on his face. Saxon won a Golden Globe Best Supporting Actor nomination for his performance - and deservedly. (Trivia note: In his younger days, Saxon often appeared in parts which emphasized his "beefcake" appeal. In 1959's THE BIG FISHERMAN, for example, he was stripped to the waist and flogged in a scene which ranked 39th in the book "Lash! The Hundred Great Scenes of Men Being Whipped in the Movies." Sadly, Brando is gone, but Saxon is still going strong. Not long ago he appeared in an episode of CSI: Las Vegas, directed by Quentin Tarantino.)

THE NAKED PREY (1966)

Wilde prey

A group on safari crosses paths with a Zulu tribe and offends the chief by refusing to gift him. As punishment, the men are chased down one by one time by and each killed in a particularly gruesome, hard-to-watch way. Only one man is spared from immediate death (Cornel Wilde, who also directed) because he had tried to talk his s.o.b. companion into giving the gift. Nevertheless, he’s sentenced to be hunted down like an animal by a party of tribal warriors. Naked and weaponless he’s set loose, the hunters hot on his heels, and so begins a life-or-death hunt for Wilde through the wild. To find out the hell he goes through and how it all turns out, I pray you see THE NAKED PREY. It's about as tense and exciting a chase movie as you’ll ever see.

DETECTIVE STORY (1951)

Tough day in the squad room

"Homicide: Life on the Street," "Barney Miller" and many other TV shows and movies owe their look and feel to DETECTIVE STORY. Based play, this is a gritty and well-acted film spans one day in a police station in which we meet a variety of good buys and bad guys. There's a batty old lady; a petty embezzler and his adoring girlfriend; a pair of slightly comical but ultimately lethal burglars; and a charmingly naïve shoplifter played by Lee Grant who, along with one of the burglars, Joseph Wiseman, had been in the Broadway cast - and the title character, a hard-nosed, by-the-book detective named Jim McLeod (Kirk Douglas). McLeod has no mercy for lawbreakers and discovers, ironically, that his obsessive pursuit of an abortionist leads him to personal crisis. Great cast, great writing, directed by the great William Wyler - and though dated, repeatedly watchable.

THE DESPERATE HOURS (1955)

Bogie pays an uninvited house call on the Cleavers

A tale about armed and dangerous escapees terrorizing a suburban family isn't novel today – neither in reel or real life – but 54 years ago, THE DESPERATE HOURS was genuinely shocking. All the more so because it was based on a true incident. After years of playing good guys, Humphrey Bogart reprises the hard-bitten gangster type he had created in PETRIFIED FOREST (1936), also about a gang of baddies holding a group of people (in a café). Bogie’s character in DESPERATE HOURS is marginally a more articulate and sensitive version of FOREST's Duke Mantee, you still wouldn't want him dropping by. Ditto one of his two cohorts, lumbering Sam Kobish (Ray Middleton), a psychopath if ever there was one. Trust me, this one’s a nail-biter. (Trivia note: The exterior of the house used in the film is the same set used in the TV's "Leave It to Beaver" two years later.)

12 ANGRY MEN (1957, 1997) x 2

Both versions of the classic jury room drama 12 ANGRY MEN are top-notch and full of suspense, despite the fact there's basically only one set, no sex or violence, and not one single special effect. Twelve male jurors (mirroring a cross-section of society) must determine the guilt or innocence of a young Latino accused of killing his father. Eleven of the men are positive it's an open-and-shut case of guilt. But one man (Henry Fonda in '57, Jack Lemmon in '97) isn't sure; and over the course of a steamy day and into the rainy night, turning each piece of evidence inside and out and introducing some of his own, he finally convinces all but one of his fellow jurors of reasonable doubt. It is a powerful moment when these 11 men voting for acquittal stare at the lone holdout for conviction, which is exactly how the day started – in reverse.

MY DINNER WITH ANDRE (1981)

Delicious!

In MY DINNER WITH ANDRE, directed by Louis Malle and co-starring director/actors André Gregory and Wallace Shawn (who together wrote the unscripted-sounding script), two men reunite in a chic restaurant and, over a fine and many-coursed meal, talk about their lives. Some say the film is deadly boring; others find it thoroughly engaging. I'm in the second camp. André and Wally could not be more different, yet I see them as two sides of one person: dreamer, pragmatist. Over the course of the evening, interrupted occasionally by an elderly, cadaverous waiter (whose tics and blinks suggest that he is bewildered by the men he's serving), each diner does his best to explain how he’s coping with the world – André talks to trees and Wally is happy if there’s not a dead fly in his cold cup of coffee. When they finally part, Wally treats himself to a taxi ride home. It’s nighttime. Gazing out the window, he narrates that he remembers every block, every shop front from his childhood, it's if he’s seeing the world for the very first time. It's as if, over his dinner with André, Wally had somehow been, in a tiny way, reborn.

JACOB'S LADDER (1990)

Long hard climb

Is Jacob Singer a soldier or vet? Alive or dead? Awake or hallucinating? Married or divorced? Living in the past or present? Sane or nuts? In heaven or hell? Watch the eerie JACOB'S LADDER and you may learn the answers - but it's sure to take you more than one viewing. Tim Robbins stars.

BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK (1955)

Never underestimate a one-armed man. Or a lousy movie title

One blazingly hot day, a one-armed stranger dressed almost comically in tie, white shirt and rumpled black suit deboards off a train in a pothole-of-a town in Arizona, and thus begins a suspenseful movie called BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK – and for both the stranger and blue-jeaned townspeople, a very bad day indeed. Determined to solve the mystery of the town's missing citizen, a Japanese man, government man John J. Macreedy (Spencer Tracy) quickly discovers in various unpleasant ways how equally determined the town is to prevent his doing so. Risking life and remaining limbs at the four hands of two very nasty town bullies (Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine), McCready winds up arresting half the town and re-energizing hope to the other half. Watch for the barroom scene when McCready is forced to reveal his karate moves.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

ON THE BEACH (1959)

Armageddon in Australia


A palpable air of bleak inevitability hangs over ON THE BEACH, a film both entertaining and cautionary. A U.S. Sub Commander (Greg Peck), a tower of stoicism, solidness and sensitivity, arrives in Australia just as nuclear fallout has killed the populations of most of the rest of the globe. His busywork orders are to ascertain how long before radiation arrives to put everybody Down Under, under. Each character deals with rapidly oncoming doom differently: Ava Gardener, playing her a cynical broad, tries to lose herself in booze and her crush on the Greg; Fred Astaire, a cocky, devil-may-care race car driver, decides to go out pressing pedal to metal; Anthony Perkins, a sub officer, opts to help his family avoid a slow death with a fast-acting capsule; and Peck, momentarily misplacing a marble or two, angrily refuses to accept the loss of his family back home but of course just keeps goin’ and goin’ and goin’. After all, orders is orders - even when your superiors back home have been A-vaporated.

HARD EIGHT (1996)

Gambling and gamboling in Vegas

In HARD EIGHT, everything is hard: the characters, the dialogue, the lessons learned, and the string of violent acts that lead to young man's rebirth and an old hood's atonement. A mysterious black-suited man (Philip Baker Hall) walks into a diner and commits a seemingly random act of kindess for a down-and-out young man (John C. Reilly) that starts with a cigarette and cup of coffee and turns out to be a priceless education on how to win in Vegas and in life. Along the way we learn the secret of what binds the two men. Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, this film is about mentoring, love, casino life and sweet revenge. Watch for a brief but absolutely unforgettable cameo by Philip Seymour Hoffman (another of Anderson's regulars) as a loud-mouthed high roller. (Trivia note: Philip Baker Hall played the trench-coated, humorously fascistic library cop Bookman in a Seinfeld episode, and a fictionally suicidal Richard Nixon in Robert Altman's riveting one-man film SECRET HONOR (1985).

INVADERS FROM MARS (1953)

Hey Pop, does that thing in your neck get FM?

Comic booky title notwithstanding, INVADERS FROM MARS is a real sci-find – not only because of excellent special effects and stunning art direction (by legendary production designer William Cameron Menzies), but also because we see the action from a kid's point of view. David wakes up to see a flying saucer land behind his house, but of course nobody believes him. But then, starting with David’s dad, people start getting their minds and hearts snatched by Martian invaders, and only David, his teacher and an astronomer are left to alert the Army. Just as David is about to get his mind zapped and the U.S. miliary are preparing to blow up the Martians, David wakes up and realizes it was all a dream ... and then he wakes to the sound of a flying saucer.

THE FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX (1966)

Fasten your seatbelts - it's going to be a bumpy desert

  The only woman who appears (very briefly) in THE FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX is a mirage – but thanks to an action-packed survival-in-the-sand plot, there isn’t much interest in dates – except the dried kind. A planeload of men, piloted by James Stewart, crashes in the Sahara. Chances of survival look pretty slim until one of the passengers, an arrogant young German, announces he's an aircraft designer and can build a smaller plane out of the wreckage. A skeptical Stewart reluctantly agrees to the plan, and then angrily cancels it when he finds out the man actually designs model planes! A war of egos ensues. Does the cobblecraft, dubbed "The Phoenix," eventually rise? You bet your ashes! (Forget the 2004 remake.)

THE QUIET EARTH (1985)/DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS (1963)

Two really bad ways to start the day

What if you woke up one morning and discovered you might be the last person on earth? That’s the basic premise of two terrific sci-fi thrillers, THE QUIET EARTH and THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS. In the first, an Aussie scientist figures out that the project he was leading to create a worldwide energy grid has misfired and caused a fundamental change in the basic structure of all matter. In the second, a man in a London hospital, his eyes bandaged from surgery, discovers that while he was asleep a meteor blinded the entire world population and spawned people-munching plants. In both movies, it turns out there are a few other survivors still around, but way too few to rate a zip code! And each of these movies is saved from being a time waster by imaginative plotting and interesting, if not always sophisticated, special effects.

THE COUNTRY GIRL (1954)

Bing goes dramatic - Grace goes without makeup

The bravado of Bing Crosby’s performance as a washed up, alcoholic singer/actor partially offsets the dreadful miscasting of Grace Kelly as his plain, unhappy wife, THE COUNTRY GIRL. When veteran actor Frank Elgin (Crosby) gets a chance to make a big comeback in a new musical but drops out during tough rehearsals to co-star again with the bottle, wife (Kelly) gets him back on the wagon and the boards. Thanks to her pushing, prodding, cajoling and threats, he triumphs. Even though COUNTRY GIRL is Hollywooded up from Clifford Odets' original play, the film is still pretty potent, owing not only to Der Bingle's Oscar-nominated acting, but also to William Holden’s as the no-nonsense director. But oh my, the spectacle of the future Princess Grace made down to look deadly drab, complete with thick glasses and a woolly sweater - and then, when she falls in love with Holden, she's suddenly Graceful and glam. Got an Oscar, though!

ORDINARY PEOPLE (1980)

The family next door in silent crisis

In 1980, movie screens were ruled by extraordinary people, including a hunk from Krypton (SUPERMAN II), a spinach-popping sailor (POPEYE), and a galaxy of aliens from the fertile imagination of George Lucas (STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK). Only one of the 10 top grossers for that year was about ... ORDINARY PEOPLE. Robert Redford’s debut, Oscar winning directorial effort focused on a family in trouble and in denial, and 26 years later it’s still compelling, still at times painful to watch (as the scene when the father admits to his wife that he can't love her anymore). The three leads are superb: Timothy Hutton as the suicidal son, a deserving Oscar winner; Mary Tyler Moore, bravely cast directly against type as the emotion-suppressed mother; and as the sad dad, Donald Sutherland. Only Judd Hirsch playing the psychiatrist falls short - it's a pivotal role, and he’s good in it, but stereotypical. What makes this movie so extraordinary is how well it tells the stories of ordinary people - people we all know

ONE-EYED JACKS (1961)

Better smile when you call somebody that

Five years back, Rio (Marlon Brando) and his best pal “Dad” Longworth (Karl Malden) rob a bank in Mexico. With a single horse between them and a posse closing in fast, Dad volunteers to ride off with the gold to fetch ammo and bring back another horse. Being a crooked pragmatist, however, he just keeps riding. Rio gets nabbed and goes to jail while Dad goes straight, marries, and gets himself elected town sheriff. Now Rio’s free and come to pay Dad a little visit. Does Rio just want to get back in touch base get even? Hint: Dad doesn't want him around to mess up his new life. Many critics panned Brando's first and only directorial effort, but I love ONE-EYED JACKS. Brando and Malden had co-starred six years earlier in ON THE WATERFRONT and are terrific, as are Slim Pickens and Ben Johnson as bad guys. (Trivia notes: A novice behind the camera and at editing, Brando delivered such a long movie and so late that Paramount was forced to take over and recut it themselves. There are two endings floating around: Brando's, in which Dad misses Rio and kills his step-daughter Louisa, and the studio's, in which Rio and Louisa have an emotional parting at the beach and Rio rides away. I've seen both, and without doubt Brando's is the right one.)

RED PLANET (2000)

Stranded in space

While I hesitate to recommend either its plot (space jocks stranded on Mars) or acting (by, among others, puffy-faced Val Kilmer; perennial bad boy Tom Sizemore; and Sigorney's successor as Underwear Queen of Outer Space, Carrie Ann-Moss), RED PLANET is a lot of sci-fi fun, with terrific futuristic gadgets and special effects and a clever combination of the two in the form of the nastiest robot villain since SATURN 3 (1980).

SERPICO (1973)/PRINCE OF THE CITY (1981)

Good cops, bad cops

Real-life NYC Blueboys Frank Serpico and Danny Ciello both fought police corruption, and both were portrayed by actors who brought them to life on-screen.

In SERPICO, Al Pacino is the young officer who, to maintain his individuality, splits his passion and energy between bohemian living and good police work. Refusing to take bribes, he is ostracized by his already skeptical fellow officers. Sickened by the extent of police corruption, he goes to his superiors, but when he discovers they are ignoring his charges, he takes the potentially fatal step of breaking the blue wall of silence and going public with his exposé.

Eight years later, Pacino passed on the role of Ciello in PRINCE OF THE CITY, thinking the character too similar to Serpico. Lucky for us Treat Williams got the part of the conflicted New York cop who goes undercover for the feds in order to ferret out police corruption. At first, Ciello recklessly gets off on the danger, believing himself invincible. But as trial dates near and various screws tighten, the guilt-wracked Ciello is forced to give up his partners and friends, and the house of cards comes tumbling down. Danny Ciello is arguably the best role of Williams’ career, just as Frank Serpico was one of Pacino’s. Must-see performances, both.

HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREET (1993)

Three men and Adena

 This intense episode is one of the very best of many intensely fine episodes of TV's HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREET (1993-99), packing as much top-notch writing, direction and acting into 50 minutes as any critically acclaimed motion picture. Eleven-year old Adena Watson has been brutally murdered, and Dets. Pembleton and Bayliss have only 12 hours to get a confession out of their prime suspect, a sly old produce vendor named Risley Tucker. Good-bad copped for hours in the “box,” Tucker (Moses Gunn) keeps his accusers – and us – guessing whether he's guilty or innocent, even after he's released for lack of hard evidence. Watch for Tucker's bitter exchange with Pembleton (Andre Braugher) accusing him of being one of the 500 ("a white nigger"), and one with Bayliss (Kyle Secor) in which he spits, "You got your dark side, and it terrifies you, and it frightens you. It scares you ‘cause it's powerful and it makes you capable of doing anything. Anything. Without it, you look in the mirror, and all you see is an am-a-toor." In both instances, Tucker pushes exactly the right button, and it’s great fun to watch Gunn out-gun the two. Better acting you'll never see than Gunn's (in one of his last roles), Braugher and Secor in this regularly repeated Sleuth cable station rerun. Tom Fontana deservedly won Emmys for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series (Single Episode) and for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series (Single Episode).

ARLINGTON ROAD (1999)

Imagine if Ozzie and Harriet were terrorists


In the three years since his FBI agent-wife's murder in a botched anti-terrorist operation, a college history professor (Jeff Bridges) has grown increasingly obsessed with subversive groups. His bitterness and paranoia momentarily ease when new neighbors (Jim Robbins, Joan Cusack) befriend him and his young son. But soon, he begins to suspect they really are terrorists and begins a pursuit for the truth that leads to a horrific revelation you won't see coming. Too-timely a topic, unfortunately.

SNEAKERS (1992)/SPY GAME (2001)


I enjoy Robert Redford's performances in two spy-cy little films made a decade apart. In the fun and fast-moving SNEAKERS, he’s the leader of a tight team of unorthodox security specialists (Sidney Poitier, David Strathairn, Dan Aykroyd, River Phoenix) tricked into finding a mysterious box that can break into any encrypted computer system in the US. And in a more serious and even faster-moving SPY GAME, he’s a retiring CIA agent spending his last day recalling for superiors his recruitment and training of a young spy (Brad Pitt), while secretly working against them to free his protégé from Chinese captors. Both movies feature good casts and dialogue.

CAPTAIN NEWMAN, M.D. (1963)

Attorney Atticus Finch Turns M.D.

Amidst a mishmash of comedy, drama, melodrama and scene chewing in CAPTAIN NEWMAN, M.D., one actor gives a particularly moving performance. It’s not Greg Peck as the title character who runs the psychiatric unit in a U.S. Military Hospital during WWII, although he's very good playing a medical version of lawyer Atticus Finch; and it's not Bobby Darin, who won well-deserved rave notices and was nominated for an Academy Award but whose performance I think is hammy. The stand-out is Eddie Albert, who really did see action in some of the South Pacific war's bloodiest battles. Albert (yes, Green Acres Albert) is an officer who breaks under the strain of having sent one too many men off to die. The several intense encounters between him and Peck are electic. (They were also greatl together 10 years earlier in ROMAN HOLIDAY). (Trivia note: Even though the story takes place in 1944, hairstyles, uniforms and clothes are clearly those of '63.)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT (1944)

Bogie and Bacall's first film together

Legend persists that 17-year old Andy Williams dubbed 19-year old Lauren Bacall's singing voice in TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT. Ain’t so. But what's true is that the legendary public and private relationship of Bacall and Bogie began during filming, and their onscreen chemistry is impossible not to see. Bogart is an American ex-pat living in the Vichy-controlled French colony of Martinique in 1940, trying to eke out a living as a fishing boat captain and mind his own business while the war rages outside the movie frame. But thanks to a snappy screenplay by William Faulkner and Jules Forthman, he falls into both love and trouble. Directed by Howard Hawks, this is a sexy, old-fashioned wartime picture with some great dialogue and a ton of style. (Trivia note: This is the one in which Bacall as “Slim” trims Bogie down to size with the classic come-hither line, "You know how to whistle, don’t you? You just put your lips together and blow.")

SHIP OF FOOLS (1965)

"It's a ship of fools!" wryly observes the philosophical dwarf and one-man Greek chorus (Michael Dunn) of the luxury vessel he and others are sailing to a pre-Hitler Germany – giving us both a preview of what's to come and a succinct commentary on life. The fateful cruise of Stanley Kramer’s SHIP OF FOOLS follows the intersecting lives of its passengers on a 36-day voyage. From the sad love affair between the ship's dying doctor (Oskar Werner) and a heroin-addicted passenger (Simone Signoret), to the fading relationship of two young American artists (George Segal, Elizabeth Ashley), the characters represent a cross-section of pre-war society including disciples of Nazism, wealthy Jewish men, sleazy dance troupers and the aforementioned bitter lovers, well played by such A-list actors as Vivian Leigh, Jose Ferrer and Lee Marvin. Especially fine is Werner, a respected stage actor who also graced such films as JULES AND JIM (1962), THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD (1965), and FAHRENHEIT 451 (1966) before his too-early death.

Teresa Wright (1918 - 2005)

  Teresa Wright was a natural and lovely talent upon whom I've had a crush my entire life. She was discovered for films by Samuel Goldwyn and distinguished herself early on in high-caliber, Oscar-worthy form -- the only performer ever to be nominated for Oscars for her first three films.

Born Muriel Teresa Wright in the Harlem district of New York City on October 27, 1918, her parents divorced when she was quite young and she lived with various relatives in New York and New Jersey. An uncle of hers was a stage actor. She attended the exclusive Rosehaven School in Tenafly, New Jersey. The acting bug revealed itself when she saw the legendary Helen Hayes perform in a production of "Victoria Regina." After performing in school plays and graduating from Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey, she made the decision to pursue acting professionally.

Apprenticing at the Wharf Theatre in Provincetown, Massachusetts during the summers of 1937 and 1938 in such plays as "The Vinegar Tree" and "Susan and God", she moved to New York and changed her name to Teresa after she discovered there was already a Muriel Wright in Actors Equity. Her first New York play was Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" wherein she played a small part but also understudied the lead ingénue role of Emily. She eventually replaced Martha Scott in the lead after the actress was escorted to Hollywood to make pictures and recreate the Emily role on film. It was during her year-long run in "Life with Father" that Teresa was seen by Goldwyn talent scouts, was tested, and ultimately won the coveted role of Alexandra in the film The Little Foxes (1941). She also accepted an MGM starlet contract on the condition that she not be forced to endure cheesecake publicity or photos for any type of promotion and could return to the theater at least once a year. Oscar-nominated for her work alongside fellow cast members Bette Davis (as calculating mother Regina) and Patricia Collinge (recreating her scene-stealing Broadway role as the flighty, dipsomaniac Aunt Birdie), Teresa's star rose even higher with her next pictures.

Playing the good-hearted roles of the granddaughter in the war-era tearjerker Mrs. Miniver (1942) and baseball icon Lou Gehrig's altruistic wife in The Pride of the Yankees (1942) opposite Gary Cooper, the pretty newcomer won both "Best Supporting Actress" and "Best Actress" nods respectively in the same year, ultimately taking home the supporting trophy. Teresa's fourth huge picture in a row was Alfred Hitchcock's psychological thriller Shadow of a Doubt (1943) and she even received top-billing over established star Joseph Cotten who played a murdering uncle to her suspecting niece. Wed to screenwriter Niven Busch in 1942, she had a slip with her fifth picture Casanova Brown (1944) but bounced right back as part of the ensemble cast in the "Best Picture" of the year The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) portraying the assuaging daughter of Fredric March and Myrna Loy who falls in love with damaged soldier-turned-civilian Dana Andrews.

With that film, however, her MGM contract ended. Remarkably, she made only one movie for the studio (Mrs. Miniver) during all that time. The rest were all loanouts. As a freelancing agent, the quality of her films began to dramatically decline. Pictures such as Enchantment (1948), Something to Live For (1952), California Conquest (1952), Count the Hours (1953), Track of the Cat (1954) and Escapade in Japan (1957) pretty much came and went. For her screenwriter husband she appeared in the above-average western thriller Pursued (1947) and crime drama The Capture (1950). Her most inspired films of that post-war era were The Men (1950) opposite film newcomer Marlon Brando and the low-budgeted but intriguing The Search for Bridey Murphy (1956) which chronicled the fascinating story of an American housewife who claimed she lived a previous life.

The "Golden Age" of TV was her salvation during these lean film years in which she appeared in fine form in a number of dramatic showcases. She recreated for TV the perennial holiday classic "The 20th Century-Fox Hour: The Miracle on 34th Street (#1.6)" (1955) in which she played the Maureen O'Hara role opposite Macdonald Carey and Thomas Mitchell. Divorced from Busch, the father of her two children, in 1952, Teresa made a concentrated effort to return to the stage and found consistency in such plays as "Salt of the Earth" (1952), "Bell, Book and Candle" (1953), "The Country Girl" (1953), "The Heiress" (1954), "The Rainmaker" (1955) and "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs" (1957) opposite Pat Hingle, in which she made a successful Broadway return. Marrying renowned playwright Robert Anderson in 1959, stage and TV continued to be her primary focuses, notably appearing under the theater lights in her husband's emotive drama "I Never Sang for My Father" in 1968. The couple lived on a farm in upstate New York until their divorce in 1978.

By this time a mature actress now in her 50s, challenging stage work came in the form of "The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the Moon Marigolds", "Long Day's Journey Into Night", "Morning's at Seven" and "Ah, Wilderness!" Teresa also graced the stage alongside George C. Scott's Willy Loman (as wife Linda) in an acclaimed presentation of "Death of a Salesman" in 1975, played a small but pivotal role in Somewhere in Time in 1980, and then and appeared opposite Scott again in her very last play, "On Borrowed Time" (1991). In her final film, in 1997, she played the touching role of an elderly landlady opposite Matt Damon in The Rainmaker.
 
Teresa passed away of a heart attack in 2005. She was 87.