the beguiled

When it comes to watching either version of The Beguiled, whether it is Don Siegel’s adaptation from 1971 or Sophia Coppola’s vision of the novel, I recommend having few expectations.

Don Seigel is a seldom referenced genre-film giant. His resume is punctuated by two landmarks, 1956's "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and 1971's "Dirty Harry". Equally worthy are "Charley Varrick" (1973) and the film shown here, 1971's "The Beguiled". The film follows Clint Eastwood as Corporal John McBurney, a wounded Union soldier taking refuge in a Confederate girl's boarding school during the American Civil War. McBurney is an unscrupulous Lothario who manipulates the pubescent girls and their spinster headmistress both for survival and sexual fancy. The games eventually catch up with McBurney and the maidens of the house swing from sweet to sinister, a snapshot of which you can see above.