Though this film was made in 1969, it is a portrait of many contemporary women, who are drowning in a sea of their emotions, and letting the awareness of their feelings supersede a rational appraisal of their situation, ending with the use of alcohol/pills to "manage" their moods. I know far too many Mary Wilsons, the character so beautifully played by Jean Simmons, who captures the emptiness of a woman lost in a 15 year marriage; she has a good, loving husband, a beautiful daughter, and more than enough money to cover her needs...yet all these blessings elude her, as she longs to return to the romantic fantasy she remembered experiencing while courting, though "nothing is the way it was, not even then."
Many of the events are told in flashback, as the dread of an anniversary party creates stresses that Mary cannot handle.
The stunning, luminous Ms. Simmons is surrounded by an excellent cast, with John Forsythe as hard working husband Fred, Nanette Fabray as a housekeeper who tries to pacify Fred while she enables Mary with her tray full of pills and bottles of vodka, Teresa Wright as Mary's mother, and Shirley Jones as her college chum who is mistress to married man Lloyd Bridges. Bobby Darin plays gigolo Franco, and others include Dick Shawn and Tina Louise. Simmons was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar, but lost to Maggie Smith in "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie."
Written, directed and produced by Richard Brooks, it has a nice, tight script, with a rather interesting way of ending the film with a question mark. Though it has its flaws, there are many scenes that make this film worth one's time, with the added attraction of Conrad Hall's cinematography, and Michel Legrand's score.
The soundtrack is wonderful, and features the Oscar nominated song "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life ?" with lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman, and sung with much tenderness by Michael Dees (it lost the Best Song race to the Bachrach/David "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head"). In the casino bar scene, there is a piano version of "The Windmills of Your Mind," one of Legrand's most melodic and haunting songs, which he wrote for the 1968 film "The Thomas Crown Affair."
Total running time is 113 minutes.