Neil Sinyard
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God’s lonely woman
The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1987)
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Brian Moore's début novel, The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, was published in 1955 to immediate acclaim. When screenwriter Peter Nelson acquired the rights of Judith Hearne in 1982, he had talked to Shirley MacLaine about doing it, with Mike Nichols directing. Jack Clayton tried to option the screen rights for the book in 1961, 1964, 1970 and 1973. Clayton sent a copy of Nelson's screenplay to Moore for comments. Judith Hearne is arguably Clayton's finest and most completely realised film since The Pumpkin Eater. The release of The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne turned out to be something of a disaster. It was prémiered in Los Angeles in the Christmas week of 1987 in order to qualify for Oscar consideration. Like John Huston, Clayton is a tender chronicler of the courageous spiritual processes of lowly people whose hopes are defeated by destiny but who nevertheless endure.

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