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The Pumpkin Eater (1964)

aka The Pumpkin Eater

"A Much Married Woman Who Drifts From Husband to Husband!"

Directed By: 
Written By: 
Details: 118 mins · English

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Cast:

No_movie_poster
Small Jack Armitage
Small Bob Conway
No_movie_poster Beth Conway
Small Mr. James - Jo's father
No_movie_poster Mrs. James - Jo's mother
No_movie_poster Mr. Armitage - Jake's father
Small Giles
Small Philpot
Small Jo Armitage
No_movie_poster
No_movie_poster
No_movie_poster
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Small

Crew:

No_movie_poster Jack Clayton Director
No_movie_poster James Woolf Production
Small Harold Pinter Writer
No_movie_poster Penelope Mortimer Story Contributor
No_movie_poster Jim Clark Editing

Taglines:

"A Much Married Woman Who Drifts From Husband to Husband!"

Plot:

The story revolves around Jo Armitage (Bancroft), a woman with an ambiguous number of children from three marriages, who becomes negative and withdrawn after discovering that her third (and current) husband, Jake (Finch), has been unfaithful to her. After a series of loosely related events in which Jake's infidelity is balanced by his reliability as a breadwinner and a father, Jo and Jake take a first tentative step toward reconciliation.


Most of the story is based on two issues: Jo's predilection for childbearing and Jake's extramarital affairs. The question of Jo's fertility is first broached by her psychiatrist. He suggests that she may feel uncomfortable with the messiness or vulgarity of sex, and that she may be using childbirth to justify it to herself. This does not prevent her from becoming pregnant again, but she follows suggestions by Jake and her doctor that she have an abortion and be sterilised, and she seems happy after the operation.


Meanwhile, signs accumulate that Jake has been having affairs while pursuing a successful career as a screenwriter. The first indication is about a woman who lived with the Armitage family for a while. Jake reacts irrationally and unconvincingly to Jo's questioning after the children tell her the woman fainted into Jake's arms. The second sign comes from Bob Conway (Mason), an acquaintance who alleges an affair between his wife and Jake during production of a film in Morocco. Finally, Jake admits some of his infidelities under heated interrogation by Jo. After venting her frustration by furiously assaulting him, she retaliates by having an affair with her second husband. This elicits a similar coldness from Jake.


In the film's finale, Jo spends a night alone in the unused windmill that the family once lived in. The following morning, Jake and their children arrive at the windmill with food. Seeing how happy her children are with Jake, Jo indicates her acceptance of him by sadly but graciously accepting a can of beer from him, a gesture which echoes another scene in the windmill from a happier time in their marriage.