Friday, February 19, 2010

Pat Barrington Week: The Agony of Love (1966)

William Rostler's The Agony of Love is basically the same story as Luis Buñel's Belle de Jour. It is the story of a bored housewife whose husband has little time for her. To get some action in her life, Barbara (Pat Barrington) turns to prostitution. The film came out a year before Belle de Jour, and while the latter was a trippy, surrealist film, the former was an exploitation affair for the art-house crowd.

The big difference in the stories is that while Deneuve's "Sevérine" is looking for excitement and falls in love with a dangerous man, Barrington's "Barbara" is filled with self-loathing and wants to be degraded. Now, Sevérine desires degradation too, as witnessed in the dream sequence where her husband hurls manure at her, Barbara is more blatant, and thinks the money she is paid is some affirmation of her worth.

This is Barrington's strongest performance, in my opinion, and while she is not a great actress she does a good job considering her previous work and her background as a stripper. The film is part of a whole genre of bored suburban housewives looking for kicks, like Joe Sarno' Sin in the Suburbs (1964, Audrey Campbell, Dyanne Thorne), and as is typically the case, it ends in tragedy.

2 comments:

Uranium Willy said...

I got to see Belle de Jour on the big screen in Seattle at one of their art house cinema. It was a good film but this one sounds more down my alley. Never heard of it but am going to look for it.

Darius Whiteplume said...

I watched it again recently to make sure this post was not based on my failing memory.

It is surprisingly like Belle de Jour, and did have some trippy dream sequences, though not as surreal as Belle. The worst part is this is one of those 100% dubbed movies, and it is pretty poor at times.

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