Cinema: Autumn Passion

I Walk the Line is Director John Frankenheimer's second film in a row (the other was The Gypsy Moths) about the quiet terrors of small-town family life and a middle-aged man's irrevocable course toward self-destruction. The theme is both difficult and promising, but in each film it is subordinated, not to say submerged, in melodrama.

Sheriff Tawes (Gregory Peck) is a righteous, brooding Tennessean overtaken by the sterility of his existence. His unattractive daughter asks him inane riddles at the supper table, his wife (Estelle Parsons) quotes marriage advice from the Reader's Digest and...

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