Paul Newman portrays a young man whose struggle for success threatens his personal happiness, in this well-scripted screen version of John O'Hara's best-selling novel. Having never known his father's love or respect, Alfr... more »ed Eaton (Newman) sets out to prove himself in the business world. Marrying the "right" woman (Joanne Woodward), he works unceasingly, but is ultimately confronted with crises and choices that force him to rethink his priorities. Co-starring Myrna Loy as Alfred's alcoholic mother, Leon Ames as his embittered father, and Ina Balin as the woman who might bring him genuine happiness, From The Terrace is an absorbing tale of ambition, power and love fueled by sharp dialogue, complex characterizations and keen insight into the human heart.« less
"A view FROM THE TERRACE is what Paul Newman's character David Alfred Eaton has of his future wife Mary (JoAnne Woodward). The screen play was based on a best-selling novel of the same name by John O'Hara. Given it was released in the 1950s when sex on the screen was verboten and not much more explicit in novels (ban a book in Boston), one must appreciate the work it took for Newman and Woodward to give these performances. Like many other teenagers of my generation, I was "in love" with Paul Newman. Newman could make female hearts flutter by simply looking at the camera with his big blue eyes. Many other teens preferred Marlon Brando, his peer and rival for female affection. I believe these two actors were the Leonardo de Caprio and Brad Pitt of their day, although in the long run, Newman (like de Caprio) has had more staying power and gracefully made the transition to mature roles. In the 1950s, to see a film one had to attend a theater, where the screen was usually covered with a huge velvet curtain. FTT played at the Center theater in my small town, and I saw the film six times after it was released. I was able to get into the theater for a quarter, and as my allowance was $3, this was no small sacrifice. So, you might say this film was one of my all time favorites.Watching it again almost 50 years later, I wondered how I would react, and of course the passage of time and arrival of many other actors and vast changes in filmmaking have affected the way I view the film and Newman, but I still like him enormously, and this film holds it's own, though the storyline may seem archaic. This film is about infidelity and divorce and the price of success, a story line that may be lost on generations raised in an age of no-fault divorces and dual earner households. Once upon a time, divorce and infidelity were considered absolutely scandalous, and financially disastrous. In fact, if you divorced, your life was ruined. Many couples stayed together and suffered the ignominy of a cheating spouse. FTT was a ground-breaking film because it tackled these issues head-on. The DVD version of the film is well done, and the price reasonable (technicolor and cinemascope production). Do your self a favorite, buy this DVD and add it to the shelf where you keep CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF and other 50's favorites."
Rick Galati | Lake St. Louis, Missouri United States | 10/07/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Every few years, I sit back and enjoy "From the Terrace" for what it is. As good old fashioned "potboiler", John O Hara's screen adaptation is not quite as sprawling as say....Edna Ferber's works, but nonetheless is a decent potboiler in its own right. Alfred (Paul Newman), discharged from the Navy after WW II is the ambitious, disaffected son of nouveau riche steel mill owner Samuel Eaton, (Leon Ames). Seeking to make his own unique mark in the world he spurns his father's hopes of joining the business and decides his fortune is to be made elsewhere. Along the way, he meets his future blue-blooded trophy wife Mary St. John (Joanne Woodward) and soon discovers her appetites are far in excess even to his own ambitions. Landing a job at a prestigious Wall Street firm in an oblique way that is a potboiler's trademark, Alfred comes under the watchful eye of old money and traditional expectations by J.D. MacHardie (masterfully portrayed by Felix Aylmer). I very much enjoyed all the scenes in which Aylmer's MacHardie was highlighted and I can almost smell the stodginess of old money, ritual table manners, wood paneled walls, cigars, and brandy that were part of his ultra-conservative environment. Soon enough, while on a trip to scout business opportunities, Alfred meets Natalie (Ina Balin), the unattached daughter of a wealthy coal mine owner. Knowing full well of his marital status, she consents, even encourages his attention and unfaithfulness. Balin manages to pull this off with a naive sweetness without ever seeming cheap or trashy. Infidelity is a major theme in this work and I'm sure its frank discussion must have sparked many a controversy when this film was released very early in 1960. Veteran actress Myrna Loy was given near top billing as Alfred's alcoholic and unfaithful mother, yet her on-screen performance was limited to the first reel of this nearly 2 1/2 hour film. I enjoyed the brief on screen appearance of young Barbara Eden as a flirtatious socialite. Patrick O'Neal was perfectly cast as the smarmy Dr. Jim Roper, the illicit lover of Mary St. John. Over his long acting career, Paul Newman has delivered solid performances again and again. This is one of his lesser known works but serves as a fine example of why he was so popular with the audience as a silver screen heartthrob. Watching this film today and being mindful of his lasting marriage to Joanne Woodward just serves to make this movie all the more compelling to me. I hope you will agree."
Newman and Woodward Are Top Drawer!
Michael C. Smith | San Francisco, CA United States | 01/04/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A classic film adaptation from one of John O'Hara's massive tomes, Mark Robeson's "From the Terrace" hold it's age well and is lots of fun to boot. Producer Director Mark Robson presents to us in the glossy grandeur of 20th Century-Fox the postwar portrait of a young man on the rise who sacrifices love for money, to a point that is. Paul Newman turns in an expertly colored performance as Alfred Newman. His brooding good looks and hard angles are the perfect reflection of young corporate America of the late 40's and 50's. Yet under that cool hard as coal exterior he hides a desire that only emerges toward the end of the film, yet it is there from the first frame of the film fueling his performance. Joanne Woodward as Mary St.John is no less brilliant. Her icy cool old money Mary is just the perfect fortress to entice Newman. She plays the part as if she were born to it and in the end she is left hard, jaded and desperate. She proves once again why she is still one of our best film actresses from the fifties who is still working today. Studio costume designer Travilla should be noted for his wonderful costumes. He was most famous for his designs in the 50's for Marilyn Monroe. Here he presents a stunningly elegant collection of the best looks of the late 50's and early 60's. His designs are rich and restrained and a feast for the eye. The score by the late great Elmer Bernstein is another masterpiece by this musical genius who's work spanned the from "The Ten Commandments" to "Vanilla Sky". It is a perfect score. Of particular note is the scene between Mary and her old lover at the ice-skating shed and the scene where Alfred rescues a drowning boy. These cues are magnificent and moving. "From The Terrace" is both trashy fun and a thought provoking view of money, power and sexual politics of mid century America. "
A view of the male in society.
Michael C. Smith | 09/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Based on John O'Hara's novel, Alfred Eaton wants success in his own right but also seeks happiness for himself. He ventures out to New York leaving behind his cold, unloving father and alcoholic mother. As he is settled, he meets Mary St. John at a party in Southhampton. She is engaged to a psychiatrist Jim Roper. She rebuffs him at first but laters falls in love with him, calling off her engagement to her fiance. The two marry. However, their marriage is on the rocks. As Alfred gains success and social status, Mary feels isolated from his affection and has sexual affairs outside of the marriage. A business venture in rural Pennsylvania force him to confront his past and his future. Having dinner at the Benzinger home, he falls in love with the daughter Natalie. Strikingly beautiful and raven-haired, she is the one who understands him and is affectionate towards him.
Alfred Eaton, is relatively like most men. They want to gain recognition and respect from the social and economical community and at the same time, be happy with themselves. However, success doesn't always bring happiness. Happiness comes from within. Eaton's lack of affection from his father caused him to seek happiness elsewhere but he was forced to make hard decisions that would not only affect his career, but himself."
My View From The Sofa
Tracee | Baltimore, Maryland United States | 03/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Paul Newman has many more famous roles...but for some reason, this is one of my all time favorite movies of his. It comes on the Love Stories, AMC, or TCM cable channels every here and now...or you could just buy it like I did.He's nice, determined, well-meaning Alfred Eaton, who starts off with lofty, wealthy ideas about what is important in life...the right woman, the right career, the right friends...and showing them all how important he can be when he has them. Ultimately, he learns that what is important is only what feels right to him alone.I love his story of personal discovery as much as his love affair story with Natalie. Alfred and Natalie have this beautiful scene where they are saying goodbye, they're barely touching, but it's the most painfully romantic thing to see.Paul Newman and his wife Joanne Woodward have some excellent scenes in this movie also with real good comeback dialogue. He's the hardworking, decent man and she's the desperate-to-impress and just plain desperate society wife. She self-righteously and hurtfully accuses him of adultery with a girl with no guts when she's been sleeping with her ex-fiancee all along. She actually calls her lover and arranges a tryst while her husband is in the room!!!! She has guts!!!! (if little else) Unbeknownst to her, Alfred has exhaustingly if unaffectedly (if you can look unaffected and disgusted at the same time, that is) done his best to makes her invisible in the room, but she probably just becomes invisible without any real effort on his part to make her so by that point. Their voices just have the most impactful tones...especially when they get to play off of each other. I can play their final scene over and over again where she says she won't give him a divorce and he says,"Any further communication between you and me will be through legal channels." He has the most genuine smile on that handsome face in that moment than through the entire movie!!!!!This movie is actually pretty long, but not a moment is wasted. It all comes together in the end when Alfred finally chooses what he actually wants instead of what he's supposed to want.Maybe it's because it's so subtle and not at all like a "movie" that it seems to be largely overlooked by everyone except me and 20 other people. Paul Newman is one fine, naturally classy actor, I say."