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An obsessively bitter war widow and one of the men her husband saved in WW2 meet. He tries to convince her the sacrifice was necessary, but her problem isn't that simple. And can she help him with his wartime emotional scars he hides with alcohol?Written by
Serious, Earnest, Dares To Be Different. But It Is Still Bad
A common plot in 30s and 40s cinema is the jaded writer/actor/director of comedies who is tired of writing/acting/directing light fluffy stuff, and want to try his hand at real drama. (Think Sullivan's Travels, or the Bandwagon). Of course, it always turns out that the great serious drama is worthless, lousy, or unintentionally funny. In these films, we usually see only a few moments of the drama (or just hear the title), but can surmise the unrelenting awfulness of the play or movie.
Well, in case you were curious -- here is the movie/play all those failed serious artists were making. It is deadly serious -- all about the mental problems of those who went to war and the mental problems of the women who were left behind. It is told in the most up to date manner -- there are long extended scenes that take place in the united subconscious of heroine Rosalind Russell and hero Melvyn Douglas. There is much moody photography. There is a lot of embittered drinking (mostly by Melvyn). And the words "neurotic" and "Freud" come up a lot. There is even extended references to the play "Peter Ibbetson", which are vital to the plot.
The only things missing are believable, worthwhile characters, a sense of humanity by the authors, or anything resembling a life force -- er -- sense of humor. (There is a bit by Sid Cesar that is intended to be funny. If you like late-period Jerry Lewis or Danny Kaye, you might be amused.) I can tell, by the roles Roz was taking at this time (her next movie was Mourning Becomes Electra-- in which she is quite good) that she was trying to get away from the paint by numbers lightweight stuff she got stuck into after her turn in The Women. Nevertheless, this humorless horror does not show her to best advantage. Mevyn Douglas has an almost unplayable role. Nonetheless, he does as good a job with it as you might expect.
If you like classic movies -- you won't like this. It's not fun, and it is far too impressed with itself.
If you like more recent -- independent film -- you still won't like this. It dares to be different, but buys into every conventional post-war trope about a woman's place.
In other words, this one should be buried and forgotten. Unless, like me, you've got to see everything.
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