Opening with two children walking down the railway track, we flashback to the depression era of rural Mississippi. We recount the life of the beautiful Alva Starr (Wood), living in the bleak home of her mother - a boarding house along the same railroad track. Momma is two days away from being a tramp, but these were different times than now, and just slightly jealous of her young beautiful daughter, Wood. Wood has a smaller sister who at this time is a young gawky pre-teen. She is one of the children we later see walking the railroad track reminiscing.
Most of the clientele staying at the boarding house are railroad workers, including Charles Bronson, momma's lover. Suddenly a new boy comes to town. Cute, hot and handsome (of course, this would be Redford) under the guise of providing a better system for the railroad. His true mission however is laying off many of the workers, virtually closing down this already ravaged town and most certainly the infamous boarding house.
Love blooms between Redford and Wood but unfortunately the truth of his visit comes out. Momma tells Redford that Wood is already engaged to someone else and he leaves town disheartened. Learning of her mothers deception , Wood marries Bronson out of spite, running off the next day to New Orleans to find Redford.. Momma comes after her wayward child forcing her to return home to Bronson and her miserable life.
Later as we return to the children walking along the tracks, her sister (Mary Badham) looks back in glory at her sisters' life seeing only the romantic side of it and not the despair.
Starring Natalie Wood, Robert Redford, Charles Bronson, Robert Blake, and Dabney Coleman. Two powerful performances given by Wood and Redford who at this time are probably the two most beautiful people in Hollywood. Her dark, petite good looks play off his WASPish college boy demeanor to the full extent. This movie is adapted by a short story from Tennessee Williams who became so disenchanted with the screenplay adaptation he asked to be removed from the credits.
The entire movie with swamped with unfortunate disasters from the beginning to the end: the small town in Mississippi where it was being filmed objected to the content of the movie; Redford had several run ins with the executive director; Bronson felt his part was underplayed and demanded a larger part in the movie (this was refused). Fortunately this movie was made back when indiscretions of this type were glossed over and promises were made to the stars that things would be better in the next film.
One wonders if the title of the movie really refers to the town and the home or if it refers to the unfortunate life of Alva Starr in this movie......
Inspired by the great Tennessee Williams' one act, two person play of the same name, brought to the screen by sreenwriter Francis Ford Coppola and directed by Sydney Pollack, "This Property Is Condemned" is a sordid, sick, and ultimately sad story of the Starr family trying to make a go of running a boardinghouse minus their runaway father during depression era in a small backwater town called Dodson in the state of Mississippi. Told in flashback sequence from the jaded eyes … more