Cinema: Rags to Wretchedness

Five Finger Exercise (Columbia], adapted from the prizewinning play by Britain's Peter Shaffer, is a perspicuous and painful study of a family that has risen from rags to wretchedness.

As the picture begins, the family arrives for the summer at its seaside estate in California. Father Harrington (Jack Hawkins), an immigrant boy who came up the hard way in the furniture business, is a narrow-eyed, loud-mouthed merchant who slaps his lips together when he eats, picks his teeth elaborately when he's done, thinks TV is the greatest thing since the sofabed, and looks uneasy...

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