Strangers When We Meet

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  • Approved
  • 1960
  • 1 hr 57 min
  • 7.1  (2,590)

Strangers When We Meet is a 1960 drama film starring Kirk Douglas, Kim Novak, and Ernie Kovacs. The movie explores the complex relationships and tensions that unfold between two families living in a suburban Los Angeles neighborhood. Douglas plays Larry Coe, a successful architect who seemingly has it all: a beautiful wife, two kids, and a comfortable home in the suburbs. However, he finds himself disillusioned with his life and unfulfilled in his marriage to his wife, Eve (Barbara Rush). Meanwhile, Novak plays Maggie Gault, a seductive and free-spirited housewife who is also unhappy in her marriage to her controlling and neglectful husband, Ken (Ernie Kovacs).

When Larry and Maggie meet by chance at a local bookstore, they are immediately drawn to each other and begin a passionate affair. However, their romance is complicated by their obligations to their families and the disapproval and gossip of their neighbors. As their relationship becomes more intense and their circumstances grow more complicated, Larry and Maggie must navigate the moral and emotional challenges of their situation.

What makes Strangers When We Meet stand out is its nuanced portrayal of the characters, especially the women. Novak's character is not just a femme fatale but a sympathetic and complex figure struggling to assert herself in a male-dominated world. Rush's character, too, is not just a shrewish wife but a woman grappling with her own frustrations and regrets. In many ways, the movie is ahead of its time in its depiction of the emotional lives of suburban women.

The film also features excellent performances from its lead actors. Douglas brings a brooding intensity to his portrayal of Larry, while Novak infuses Maggie with a vulnerability and sensuality that makes her character all the more compelling. Kovacs, a noted comedian, is surprisingly effective as Ken, playing against type as a manipulative and abusive husband.

Director Richard Quine does a fine job of balancing the eroticism and melodrama of the story with a grounded realism that gives the film emotional depth. The lush and moody cinematography adds to the film's ambience, capturing the sun-drenched California landscapes and the dark corners of the characters' hearts.

Overall, Strangers When We Meet is a subtle and thought-provoking drama that explores the limits of love and desire in the conformist culture of the 1950s. It remains a powerful and timeless reflection on the human capacity for connection and longing.

Strangers When We Meet
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 57 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.1  (2,590)