“When does the game stop and the terror begin?”
Directed by Robert Mulligan
Based on actor/author Thomas Tryon’s best-selling novel, about the duplicity of innocence and evil in the incarnation of twin boys. Set in the Depression era during a hot and dusty summer of 1935. The atmosphere of rural quaintness is painted beautifully by cinematographer Robert Surtees.
Niles and Holland Perry (Chris and Martin Udvanoky) live with their extended family on a rural farm. The boys are looked after by their old world and arcane, loving Russian Grandmother Ada (the extraordinary icon Uda Hagen.)
The sagely mysterious and angelic Ada has taught the boys a special and esoteric gift from the old country she calls ‘the game.’
When several inextricably grotesque accidents beset the town, the clues start to point toward Niles’ wicked brother Holland who may be responsible for the gruesome deaths.
Also starring Diana Muldaur as the boy’s hapless mother Alexandra.
Norma Connolly plays Aunt Vee, Victor French co-stars as the drunken swarthy handyman Angelini, Lou Frizzell is Uncle George, Portia Nelson as the uptight Mrs. Rowe, Jennie Sullivan as Torrie, and a young John Ritter as Rider.
Tryon’s story is a most hauntingly mysterious journey through the eyes of a child, a macabre and provocative psychological thriller from the 70s that has remained indelible in triggering my childhood fears, filled with wonder and the impenetrable world of the supernatural. I plan on doing a broader overview of this film as I am prone to be long-winded. But for now, The Film Score Freak would like to focus on the film’s hauntingly poignant score contributed by one of my favorite and in my opinion one of THE BEST composers of all time, Jerry Goldsmith.