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Old friends Ward and Phillip both become smitten with Phillip's mother's attractive young secretary Stella. But Stella marries Phillip and stands by him as his behavior becomes more and more erratic and his jealousy of Ward increases.Written by
Ron Kerrigan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Over-the-top melodrama with good cast and a bad script.
I usually don't agree much with Leonard Maltin, but he knew what he was talking about with this stinker. If it wasn't for the presence of such great actors like Robert Montgomery, George Sanders, and Ingrid Bergman, this would surely be a total bomb.
First of all, Montgomery and Sanders play against type: Montgomery is a brooding British aristocrat who suffers from suicidal tendancies. Sanders is his long-time friend who is as noble as he could be. They are both in love with Ingrid Bergman, a sweet young thing who marries Montgomery before she is aware of his psychosis and Sanders' love for her. Montgomery is instantly paranoid and jealous, and invites Sanders up for a visit to test his wife's fidelity and his friend's loyalty. This leads to actions that will forever change all of their existences.
The synopsis doesn't sound bad, but don't let that fool you. This is not your typical MGM glossy love triangle. Although it does fall under the "A" category, it is perhaps one of their worst disasters of the "golden era" (falling into the category of "Parnell", "Desire Me", and "The Kissing Bandit"). Montgomery, who had earlier played a psychotic character in MGM's "Night Must Fall", is plagued with melodramatic lines that would scare off any young heroine. How Ingrid Bergman couldn't see through him is beyond me. Bergman, at the beginning of her successful American career, was on loan to MGM for this film (and "Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde" the same year), and should have thought twice about accepting. According to Robert Osborne of "TCM", the film did so bad during its first release that several years later when Bergman was a major star, MGM repackaged it, and released it so people would think it was a brand new film. She isn't bad in it (whenever was she bad?), but it was the type of film which could have done irreparable damage to her career. The best of the leads is George Sanders, coming off many a scoundrel role. He is totally believable, and this did make a nice change of pace for him. In the supporting role of Montgomery's matronly mom, Lucille Watson does all she can to inject her usual wisdom, but is wasted as the bedridden matriarch.
My biggest complaint with this is the fast conclusion which rushes towards its finish with such disbelief that the viewer can't help but say, "OK, that was ridiculous!". The film might have ranked a measly two stars if it had thought about a different way to wrap up a story which was already unbelievable. I watched in disbelief as the writers hastily threw away the story and what little credibility there was before my eyes. All this on an "A" picture meant to showcase major stars. 'Tis pity she's a flop.
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