“The Sterile Cuckoo”

The Sterile Cuckoo, is the 1965 novel by John Nichols. It tells the story of a quirky young couple whose relationship deepens despite their differences. The successful movie adaptation was filmed by Alan J. Pakula in 1969. The film version of the novel was adapted by Alvin Sargent and It starred Liza Minnelli and Wendell Burton. The Sandpipers sing “Come Saturday Morning” which became a Top 10 hit.

Liza Minnelli plays Pookie as an appealing eccentric who gradually cracks up as her hang-ups surface. Pookie is basically interested only in herself — boringly so, at times. But at least she cares enough to make an effort to reach someone else. Pookie fastens herself to Jerry for neurotic reasons, but she chooses the wrong guy.

There’s Miss Minnelli’s justly celebrated telephone scene, during which she begs, pleads and cajoles Jerry in an attempt to salvage their relationship. This scene is considered one of the greatest piece of acting in the history of the movies. It will probably should have won Miss Minnelli an Oscar.

“The Sterile Cuckoo” is not as good as it should have been because it lacks consistency of tone. But parts of it are awfully good, and Miss Minnelli who became a star is one hell of an actress.

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