The Angry Scot
The war has come to an end and the soldiers stationed in Burma are being sent home except for Lachie MacLachlan (Richard Todd) he finds himself stuck there with Lieutenant Colonel Dunn (Anthony Nicholls) refusing to let him go after he suffered a back injury. What Colonel Dunn hasn't told Lachie is that when he was injured they discovered one of his kidneys was no good and the other was failing fast with him just having weeks to live. In order to try and make Lachie's last weeks pleasant Dunn arranges for Lachie to stay with Sister Margaret Parker (Patricia Neal), a compassionate nurse who has a small ward of patients she looks after. Not one for friendship Lachie rebuffs their kindness especially when he discovers that they knew he was dying before he did.
So let me break down "The Hasty Heart" starting with Richard Todd's performance as Lachie an angry Scot who doesn't do friendship and is made all the more angry for not knowing why he can't ship home. Somehow this performance won Todd an Oscar nomination yet it is such an over the top performance of an angry Scot that it is hard to swallow especially when it is Richard Todd delivering it. At the same time there is Patricia Neal as the compassionate Sister Margaret and she also over does the compassion to make her character as fakes as Todd's.
Then we have the storyline which to me seems almost pointless as we have this drama about a dying man and the friendships which form which are incredibly fragile. Maybe I was just not in the right frame of mind for this light weight drama or maybe it was the acting from Todd and Neal which made it not work but this drama just failed to draw me in. Even the comedy of how the others try to befriend Lachie and end up exasperated by him didn't really make me smile.
That leaves one thing and that is that "The Hasty Heart" also stars Ronald Reagan and I am sure the only reason why this movie gets so many positive reviews as the late U.S. President's movies always garner positive interest. In fairness Reagan as Yank is probably the best thing about the movie and that is because his character is the nicest one in the whole movie with a winning smile, a kind word as well as a funny line.
What this all boils down to is that "The Hasty Heart" just didn't do it for me and maybe it is just a simple case that this stage play probably works best for those with a love of stage plays and can appreciate the way it has been turned in to a movie.