The Beguiled Author:Thomas Cullinan It should have surprised no one when Thomas Cullinan?s novel, The Beguiled, was made into a movie starring Clint Eastwood. An instinctive feel for the dramatic situation lies at the heart of all of Cullinan?s work, whether conceived for the stage, the television screen, or the intimate mindspace of a novel. — Take a badly wounded Union soldier f... more »ound in the last days of the Civil War by a twelve-year-old girl in the Confederate South and brought to an all-female boarding school, where the poor man can be made more comfortable and his injuries properly tended to. Make that a good-looking soldier, and a house full of women deprived of normal relationships by the war, caught up instead in intensive rivalries and petty jealousies. Such a situation, giving a willing (but physically dependent) male, could lead to many interesting situations, and even, in a time of violence and brutality, to savage recriminations.
Eastwood and Don Siegel, who went on to direct Dirty Harry, The Shootist and Escape from Alcatraz, clearly saw the possibilities of Cullinan?s southern gothic story, though the 1970 film adaptation: ?a twisted tale of lust. . .and horror? that cast Geraldine Page as the repressed headmistress, Elizabeth Hartman as the frail teacher and JoAnn Harris as the saucy student - was a mixed success. A stage adaptation was recently produced in London.« less