Cinema: A Woman Wronged

The Visit is the kind of movie that leaves viewers wishing they had seen the play instead. On the screen, it is little more than a melodrama. On Broadway, as an unforgettable vehicle for the Lunts in 1958, Friedrich Dürrenmatt's drama drilled annihilating satire into a spare, pitiless tale of vengeance and greed.

In the stage version, an express train stops unexpectedly at Guellen, a poverty-stricken village somewhere in Central Europe. Onto the platform sweeps "the richest woman in the world," a flamboyant beldame whose effects include a wooden leg, a pair of eunuchs,...

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