Dove Linkhorn is hitchhiking his way from West Texas to New Orleans in search of his great love, artist Hallie Gerard. He meets a young runaway, Kitty Twist (Jane Fonda), and they begin to travel together. Kitty is a forward young lady, and makes romantic overtures towards Dove, but he'll have none of it. When he discovers that Kitty has robbed a generous innkeeper, Teresina Vidaverri (Anne Baxter), he rejects Kitty totally, and returns the stolen item (a rosary) to Teresina. Grateful, Teresina hires Dove to work in her restaurant, and helps him run ads in the local newspaper, in an effort to locate Hallie.
It doesn't help that Capucine couldn't act her way out of a sack of potatoes. A French model who came to America with Charles Feldman (the producer of this film), she had a moderately successful career - she's best known for The Pink Panther (in which she played Inspector Clouseau's adulterous wife, Simone). But she is so stiff and frozen faced throughout this movie, that one wonders what the heck all these men (Dove, of course, and she's obviously a big hit in the Dollhouse) and Jo could possibly see in her.
She meets her match in lack of affect by her co-star, Laurence Harvey. Cast as a Texas dirt farmer who's never left his home before, Harvey gives new meaning to the words "cold and aloof". What worked beautifully in The Manchurian Candidate doesn't work here at all. According to this TCM article it was hate at first sight between Harvey and Capucine. She accused him of being "unmanly" in his kisses. He responded by saying that "kissing her was like kissing the side of a beer bottle". And, as with Hallie, we have all these women queuing up to bed him. It's unreal.
We also enjoyed seeing Anne Baxter as Teresina. Sure, her Spanish accent is rather odd, but she does a good job with the character in spite of it. A historical aside, Baxter discovered she was pregnant at the time of the filming began, and relied on her wide skirts to hide her girth when filming finally ended during her 7 month. This TCM article will give you more information on the behind-the-scenes of the film.
We get a couple of scenes of Jane Fonda with Barbara Stanwyck, but young Fonda is such a nascent actress (this is only her second film) she is overwhelmed by Stanwyck (the character of Kitty is supposed to be, of course). Good as Ms. Fonda is, you still can't take your eyes off Stanwyck. We would have enjoyed a scene between Baxter and Stanwyck - as the bookends for Good and Evil, but alas, it was not to be. The characters are in the same room for a brief period, but there is no interaction.
All in all, with a disjointed story line that verges into taudry soap opera at times, a cast that never quite all seem to be in the same movie, and some plot twists that seem to be thrown in just to shock (what is the point of Jo's leg-less husband? A symbol of emasculation, maybe?), this is a film that just never quite gets to the point. We'll leave you with our introduction to Jo and Hallie: