Susan Slade (1961) Poster


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Keep that lighter away from the baby!
moonspinner557 February 2001
Sincere, sometimes campy drama from director Delmer Daves (sort of the stepchild to his more-popular "A Summer Place" and "Parrish") wherein young Susan has a baby out of wedlock and her mother poses as the infant's mother, causing jealousy and friction between the two. Beautifully shot by Lucien Ballard (a great choice for a location-rich film such as this), it moves along at a fast clip and has lots of high drama. Connie Stevens isn't Meryl Streep, and she jumps from different emotions with too practiced a speed, but I loved her acting in the hospital waiting room when she comes clean in front of Mama, and I really bought her romance with scowling Troy Donahue. As the elders, Lloyd Nolan and Dorothy McGuire are exceptional, as is the production design (featuring a gorgeous ocean-front home in Monterey). The infrequent voice-over narration (first by Nolan and then later by Stevens) is an intrusion--who are they talking to?--and there's a silliness inherent in the trappings of the plot that render it dated, but I did find myself thinking about it days afterward. As sudsers go, it's first-rate. ***1/2 from ****
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Soap Opera Deluxe
reelguy214 May 2002
Literate, corny, beautifully photographed and scored, Susan Slade is pure soap opera elevated to the realm of high art through the brilliance of Delmer Daves' direction. I'd place Daves right up there with Douglas Sirk for his sheer command of the medium; his generous camera setups within a scene (such closeups!), use of color to suggest mood and character, and seamless transitions from scene to scene make his films a model of craftsmanship however one may feel about their content.

It's a mistake to self-righteously judge the story of Susan Slade and Dorothy McGuire's character by today's sensibilities. Part of the fascination of this film is trying to understand the moral standards and social pressures prevailing in 1961. As Dorothy McGuire says near the end of the film, "love is understanding." That's a message that should speak to any time.
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Like enjoying some Breyers Ice Cream
cokette18 September 2007
I just wanted to share that when this movie came out--I was living in Brooklyn, New York at the time. This is Connie's birthplace.

Well, she and Troy were on a big p.r. junket and went in person to several movie theatres in the NYC area.

So, she and Troy came out after the showing of the movie and talked and joked. At one point, Connie said, "I'm going to teach Troy how to twist." Everyone applauded this.

It was really cute.

Later on it was always written how much these two hated each other.

I was one of those teeny boppers who just "loved Troy" and melted every time I saw him on the screen.

The movie is outdated and we can all now be cynical and write about the outmoded dialogue, old-fashioned mores, and ridiculous plot devices. But, if that is done, you lose the reason for film in the first place.

This film, which I always enjoy, exhibits for all to see what the early '60s and late '50s were like. How parents were willing to sacrifice everything to save the name and reputation of their young daughter, and how a man who truly loves a woman does not prejudge, but understands, and is willing to understand.

This little movie says all of this to me.

And those gorgeous Northern California locations that are underscored with the Max Steinman music, are a treat to behold.

What a gem!!
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delightful piece of fluff and oh that music
kong-79 September 1999
Susan Slade is one of my top ten films of all-time. Connie Stevens is adorable in the starring role and Lloyd Nolan is everyone's idea of the perfect dad. The scene in which the lawyer reads his will is a real tear jerker. Lucien Ballard's photography is lush, but the real star of the film is Max Steiner's absolutely gorgeous score. He is Hollywood's premiere composer and this score is as pretty a piece of music you will ever hear. I have seen Susan Slade 16 times and I think it is an underrated film.
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A Classic Soaper
CdnAirforce8 June 2005
A classic soaper, beautifully photographed by the late Lucien Ballard, and the absolutely lush musical score by the late Max Steiner elevates this movie to dizzying heights.

Connie Stevens is perfectly cast as the the young naive girl falling in love for the first time. Unfortunately her beau is tragically killed before they can get married leaving her pregnant. Lloyd Nolan and Dorothy McGuire are perfectly cast as her understanding parents, as is faithful stable-boy Troy Donahue who pursues Connie until she finally give her heart to him.

Very typical early 1960s mores abound. Watching this film now is very dated in fact in some parts even laughable; but that doesn't matter. This film is very underrated, and deserves to be on DVD along with the other Delmer Daves films of that era.

It's hard to believe that the only actor alive from this film is Connie Stevens, everyone else has long since passed away.
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A memorable film!!
tcvll17 September 2005
I have loved this film from the time I saw it as a pre-teen in the late 60's. This is one of about half a dozen films that stayed with me through adulthood. I realize by todays standards this is fluff and possibly corny, but I love it none the less. I am so tired of all the sex, violence and profanity! It is so refreshing to see a film that deals with an unplanned pregnancy, but you didn't have to see the sex act to get the impact of this situation. I think anyone who loved A Summer Place, Parrish, Palm Springs Weekend or Rome Adventure will love this film too. I was lucky enough to get it on DVD, and I watch it every couple of weeks or whenever I need to be transported back to a kinder, gentler time. If you have the opportunity to see this film, don't miss it!!
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Susan Slade
sheshe2022 November 2005
I first saw Susan Slade on Television and thought that it was and still is a great tear-jerker. I am a Connie Stevens/Troy Donahue fan and that movies was one of their best -- together and apart (Parrish) was another great that Connie (wrong side of the tracks) and Troy starred in as lovers. I loved Lloyd Nolan's character(in Susan Slade), in fact, I always liked him in the many movies I have seen him in. In Susan Slade, he is ever so humble. Dorothy McGuire is another actress that worked so well with Troy Donahue -- like in a Summer Place, she played the role of his mother. I always loved her strength and compassion that she brings to her roles. Susan Slade: Young girl raised in a loving family away from the USA who is suddenly thrusted in a society of people her own age and sexually active. Falls in love with a rich young man and conceives a child. He dies before they can get married and when her parents find out about the child they lie to their friends and take possession of her child when it is born. Susan meets Hoyt they become friends a disaster happens Susan has to make a life decision and Hoyt proves to be a man!
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One of my favorite movies
rkyobo21 January 2004
I also really loved this movie and used to watch it almost every year when I was a young girl. Of course, now it is never shown, and I echo everyone else's sentiments about desiring to purchase the movie if it is ever released on VHS or DVD. I especially would like to see it now that I am an adult, as I am curious if it would affect me the same as it did when I was a child. I remember it was so dramatic and so heartwrenching...particularly the hospital scene at the end of the movie...also the scene when her father has the heart attack. Does anyone know how we could get this movie??

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Wonderful girl flick
brenda_senanayake25 December 2002
I saw this movie when it was first released. It was a "must see" because my cousin and I were such Troy Donahue fans. I felt it was wonderful and would like to see it again - often! However, it is never shown on television and I have been unable to get information regarding purchasing it either on VHS or DVD. Please help! Perhaps it is a bit soap operaish but who cares. It is the kind of thing girls loved in 1961 and now that we are older, we like to remember by watching the same movies we saw back when.
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When will it be on video?
ladybird-115 April 2001
I too love this movie. It takes me back to my teenage years when I could sit in the theatre and watch the movie over and over again without having to pay extra! I loved Connie Stevens and Troy Donahue! But I can't watch this movie anymore because it is never shown in Australia and it is not available on video. I hope someday it will be!
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The Sin of Susan Slade....and her mother
AgedInWood25 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is obviously dated by today's standards and it's ultra-soapy in terms of plot. It is from the same director of A Summer Place, the other big hit of this era that takes on promiscuity and premarital sex.

A young, pretty Connie Stevens plays the naive title character Susan Slade. The Slade parents have sheltered their daughter while living in a foreign country and during their return to the U.S., Susan has a shipboard romance with a charming, worldly man who is off to Alaska to climb a mountain. She soon finds herself pregnant and tries in vain to reach her lover to give him the news. The movie makes it abundantly clear that they are very much in love otherwise this sex business would not be tolerated. Sadly, she is not able to reach him and he perishes on the mountain without ever knowing of her predicament. The rest of the movie is about the family leaving the country again for the birth of a son who is passed off as Susan's mother's child, and then finding Susan a good husband who can never know that she has fallen from grace.

In the U.S., she has two suitors Troy Donahue who knows something about life being unfair and Bert Convy, a wealthy young man looking for the right kind of girl. Do soap operas get better than this? The names of all the men in her life are perfect; the rugged and apparently hard to resist alpinist Conn White, the artistic and sensitive Hoyt Brecker, and the privileged dream choice of any mother, Wells Corbett.

Susan finally fesses up when the pressure of living a lie that her mother insists upon becomes too much for her. Director Delmer Daves shines a light on a situation that has happened throughout history and of course, gives it a Hollywood happy ending. Luckily for Susan Slade, she comes from money and has devoted parents so doesn't have to worry about how to get by which was not the case for most unwed, pregnant teenagers back then. And I doubt this movie did much to prevent girls from "ruining" their reputations since Susan gets not one but two handsome guys who adore her. Ah, the stuff of fairy tales. All in all, a good movie with nice performances across the board.
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great weeper
wvwannabe16 May 2002
I have seen this movie everytime it runs on tv. it is one of the great 60's movies like parrish and rome adventure and a summer place. loved them all but I would like to purchase this in vhs. could anyone help me out. It is a great movie. thank you cj
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A Commie Stevens Fan
pketcher3 November 2001
I love a heartwarming movie, and especially a tear-jerker with a happy ending. The old movies are really unique in their meanings and it is hard to find a good movie in today's times. I would love to know how to purchase this movie and other old ones that are not available in stores. Here's To Another Great Film that a lot of People growing up today will probably never have the opportunity to see!
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Favourite Movie
kyharder15 May 2004
Warning: Spoilers
The first time I saw this movie I was about 12 years old and my parents were going out, my mom said watch it you will like it. I went through an entire box of Kleenex. I was riveted with each scene. The acting was great, except Troy Donahue's part. There is nothing complex about this movie but even 35 years later I can still see every scene in my mind. I wish it was out on DVD. It hasn't been on any television I have watched in about 12 years. The scene where Susan finds out Conn has died was a real tear jerker. The scene where baby Roger caught on fire was poorly done, you could tell it was a doll. The sacrifices parents make for their children is something we should all remember. Young love is beautiful.
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Love with the Proper Hero
rpvanderlinden28 April 2011
In viewing movies from different eras I often find it necessary to put on different glasses to adjust my vision. It also helps to have seen all kinds of films from different time periods, for the sake of comparison. Tolerance helps, as well. By today's standards, cultural and moral, "Susan Slade" is hopelessly out-dated, but it does contain some ideals that are - to the jaded - refreshing, and in point of fact, timeless (in movies, stories don't age and die; they're merely re-cycled and re-packaged for modern audiences). And I enjoyed it as much for its lustre and polish as for its story, its stars and the prurience that is the hallmark of this brand of teen melodrama.

Very early in the movie sweet, young, naive Susan (Connie Stevens) gets knocked up. This is several years after young Natalie Wood, in "Rebel Without a Cause", declared: "I'm not a tramp!" Neither is Susan, and the film goes to great lengths, in these early scenes, to prove that she isn't, and to present her relationship with the worldly young man in the most hushed, breathless, reverent way possible. These scenes, though they only show the couple necking, are incredibly erotic. But the young man in question is predisposed to sleeping around. He's a rock-star of mountain climbers, soon checking out to climb a mountain, leaving Susan in the lurch. Eventually the girl finds herself free to consider other suitors, a rich, anal-retentive young man of good breeding and the hunk one longs for, Troy Donohue. Just in case you thought that the social climate had improved since "Rebel Without a Cause" Susan is pregnant, and the parents, ever practical and ever loving, insist on pretending that they're having a baby, going so far as to move to Guatemala for two years to camouflage the pregnancy. One is tempted to treat a storyline such as this with derision, but other films of this era from other countries, the wonderful 1962 British film, "The L-Shaped Room", for example, also deal with the fear of being unwed and pregnant. "Love with the Proper Stranger" goes so far as to suggest other means a woman might consider to deal with the problem. I think that the biggest strength of "Susan Slade" is its overwhelming depiction of family love - a family that sticks together through thick and thin. Conflict erupts in the struggle between mother and daughter for "possession" of the baby. A mother's bond with her child has consequences for the charade that they're trying to pull off.

I recently saw "Parrish", and the romantic sub-plot in that film is an uncanny reflection of that of "Susan Slade". Naive young man is seduced by a girl who sleeps around, dallies with an a troubled rich girl and finally ends up with a practical, down-to-earth girl who saves herself for him. Donohue, in both films, plays a rugged individualist who works hard to achieve and won't put up with any nonsense. A real American hero. He even joins the Army for a couple of years and returns a man, just as Susan returns a woman after her stay in Guatemala. Donohue and Connie Stevens are as good as they need to be, and Stevens, who was also the sleep-around girl in "Parrish", is so hot and sexy that it's amazing she didn't ignite the prints in theatres everywhere.
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Delmar Daves melodrama
blanche-223 April 2011
People talk a lot about Douglas Sirk and Ross Hunter when it comes to glossy soap operas, but let's not forget about "written, directed, and produced by Delmar Daves." As a writer, Daves was responsible for some wonderful films such as "An Affair to Remember," "Dark Passage," and one of my favorites, "It All Came True." Once the late '50s hit, he was happier with the big glossy films for the younger set - "Rome Adventure," "Youngbood Hawke," "Parrish," "A Summer Place," and "Susan Slade," all of which he directed.

"Susan Slade" stars Troy Donahue, Connie Stevens, Lloyd Nolan, Brian Aherne, Bert Convy, and Dorothy McGuire. Stevens plays the title role, that of a sheltered young woman who's been living with her parents overseas. She becomes involved on the ship back to America with a mountain climber named Conn (Grant Williams) who loses his life on a mountain and leaves Susan pregnant. She has a couple of men after her: the brooding Hoyt Brecker (Donahue), whose father was involved in a scandal, and Wells Corbett (Bert Convy), the son of the Slades' best friends (Brian Aherne and Natalie Schaefer). Susan's loving parents (Lloyd Nolan and Dorothy McGuire) are very concerned that an illegitimate child will ruin Susan's life and her prospects.

Well, needless to say, this is pretty dated, considering nowadays most people have babies and don't think about getting married, if they do, until much later! So all the hoopla hearkens back to a different morality.

Connie Stevens is good, though I prefer her in lighter comedy, where she really shone; and Donahue looks good (by Palm Springs Weekend he'd really had it) and Daves knew how to direct him to his best advantage. However, he always did a lot with that brooding look. Bert Convy doesn't seem all that comfortable, or is it that I associate him with game shows, I don't know.

Stevens and Donahue are surrounded by a terrific cast of veterans, which also includes Kent Smith as the doctor.

"Susan Slade" is very lushly photographed and scored, with young, vital, good-looking leads. It's entertaining, as are all of the Daves films in this genre.
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Always loved it!
riokitten19 October 2006
For whatever reason, this movie has always stayed with me. I only saw it a few times when I was younger, and have tried to find it in several places but without any luck.

I've never seen anything even remotely like it. It was such a taboo subject for that time, which I suppose is why I found it so interesting. Connie was just so beautiful, I remember wanting to look just like her!

I remember a few of the scenes so well...when Susan's mother feigns morning sickness, the scenes on the boat with "the boy", the coffee table lighter scene. It was heartbreaking...if a bit overacted and cheesy, but what movie of that time wasn't? Regardless of it's mild Gouda cheese factor, it remains a sad commentary on what unwed mothers used to have to contend with.

This is just a great film for a girl (perhaps some select guys) to watch on a rainy Saturday afternoon. I highly recommend it...if you can find it!
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Good movie especially for its time
theace2tor8 April 2005
The first time I saw this was on TV when I was a little child. I had remembered bits and pieces and, over the years, had consulted my parents and others about it. I could never remember the title or who was in it but I had thought it was Troy Donohue and Sandra Dee. They, of course, had been together in A Summer Place. I'm writing this for all those out there who also have nagging recollections of movies and need to know more. I got information from a classic movies chat group. From there, I contacted Movie Hunters and they were able to have a DVD of this movie made for me. So, it's not been officially released but you CAN get it on DVD if you pursue it.
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Soap Opera Boils Over
wes-connors24 April 2011
After ten years in Chile, seventeen-year-old Connie Stevens (as Susan Slade) goes to live in California with mom Dorothy McGuire (as Leah) and pop Lloyd Nolan (as Roger). With tight dresses and open lips, Ms. Stevens is about as ready as a girl can get. She starts out on ship, losing more than her head to handsome mountain-climber Grant Williams (as Conn White). Meanwhile, Mr. Nolan is secreting a heart problem from his family. Settling near sunny Carmel, Stevens meets dimpled Bert Convy (as Wells Corbett), then blond hunk Troy Donahue (as Hoyt Brecker). Dressed up like James Dean, Mr. Donahue is an aspiring writer dealing with the death of his criminal father. Fate intervenes in their lives, again and again...

Soft-focused close-ups, beautiful location photography, and a lush soundtrack are what you expect from a 1960s Delmer Daves production helped by Lucien Ballard and Max Steiner - and they are all here. However, so is the tilt from serious to hysterical. Rich and friendly Brian Aherne and Natalie Schafer (as Stanton and Marion Corbett) help give it an upper-crusty air. Despite taking second billing, "Susan Slade" stars Stevens. It was a quick follow-up to "Parrish" (1961) starring Donahue. Both Donahue and Stevens were popular for their television characters "Sandy" and "Cricket" plus numerous magazine covers catering to young adults. In this one, the soap bubbles are on fire - literally, at a crucial moment.

***** Susan Slade (11/8/61) Delmer Daves ~ Connie Stevens, Troy Donahue, Dorothy McGuire, Lloyd Nolan
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Burnin' Baby
johnnymacfox27 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I remember going out to a drive in movie with my parents when I was a 7 year old. I was too young to understand the concept of the film but I do remember a blonde named Susie who had a baby, went horseback riding and almost got killed, and who went crazy a lot. I'll be 54 within the next week from today, but I read a review about the movie on a site called that helped me understand the movie a lot better than I did then when I was 7. I haven't seen it since then. And I remember the part where the baby picked up the cigarette lighter while his mom Susie (Connie Stevens) was talking to this visiting guy (Troy Donahue), then a minute later I heard the baby crying from the other room and as Susie and the guy ran into that room, the scene of that kid burning on his bed really jolted me out of my back car seat in a horrifying kind of way that my mom and dad had to calm me down. It was a nightmare on the silver screen that I'd never forget to this day. But from the reviews that I've read including the other comments on IMDb, I feel this movie is a must see and should be released on DVD. Hey, Warner Bros! Where are you when we need you? Please release this movie on video. I'd like to see it again.
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Delightfully bad
hamalu284 January 2009
I can't believe I'm seeing "Susan Slade" again after all these years on Turner Classic Movies. Warner Bros cranked out these formula films with the same contract players for years. From "A Summer Place" to "Parrish," the exquisite music of Max Steiner and deft directing of Delmar Daves against a picturesque backdrop combined to create a certain screen magic for a naive early 60s generation. Troy Donohue was the handsome, brooding good guy, played with all the charisma of a turnip. Connie Stevens, not exactly Academy Award material her own self, was the naughty nubile. A supporting cast of fine older actors (Lloyd Nolan, Dorothy McGuire) helped with credibility, but couldn't overcome this sappy script. The names of the young characters rivaled the Elvis movies for creative crud (Con White, Hoyt Becker). Still, I watched and remembered. And it was 1961 all over again.
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Horrifying, when you look beneath the hilarious surface
broberts-213 August 2001
This is one of those movies which anyone interested in the twisted moral codes of the 1950's must study. Apart from the ludicrous acting and smarmy music, there's the notion that any form of dishonesty is preferable to admitting to an illigitimate child. The most facinating character is the mother, played by Dorothy McGuire. From a 50's perspective she is a warm, caring, nurturing mother, seemingly only concerned with her daughter's future happiness. But as time has melted away those strict moral codes, she can now be seen, rightfully, as cold, manipulative, obsessive, controlling, and incredibly weak when faced with adversity. In the beginning, on the ship returning to America, she's trying to pique her daughter's interest in the handsome stranger in the suite across the way. When Susan decides, in Connie Stevens' inimitable acting style (if you put lots of pauses in the middle of lines, it will approximate real speech) "I guess I'll..... just little.....deckwalking" She does and ends up pregnant. Mom is instantly against the boy and harps on it long, long into the film, eventually boiling over into supressed (everything was suppressed in the 50's) hatred, but she's not honest enough to say so directly.

Anyway I could go on and on, but let it suffice to say this has got to be seen to be believed, and then seen again, just to make sure you saw what you saw. Lloyd Nolan is hilarious as the bossed around dad, whose sole purpose is to come up with little homilies suitable for embroidery like: "Well I guess there's a lot to do getting ready to climb a mountain" and "I don't remember love hurting so much, did it?" and the classic "Well, isn't there a bigger word than 'thanks'?" Two scenes to watch for: When Dorothy McGuire tried to fool her friends into thinking it is she who is pregnant, two of the extras with her look around and grin as if they don't even speak English. Terrible direction. And the scene when McGuire and Nolan sneak into the sleeping Susie's room to surprise her with their birthday song is truly stomach churning and the best argument for patricide I've ever seen. This is one laugh classic that you never tire of.
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Making Connie Stevens an honest woman
bkoganbing25 November 2017
Romance novel Susan Slade was acquired by Warner Brothers as a vehicle for two of their young stars Troy Donahue and Connie Stevens. In that respect it served them well as it made good box office and showed them well in what was the height of their careers.

In a part normally reserved for Sandra Dee, Connie Stevens plays the virginal daughter of Lloyd Nolan and Dorothy McGuire and they've all been living out in the Atacama desert area of Chile where Nolan is the chief mining engineer for Brian Aherne. For a job well done with efficiency that saved Aherne millions, Nolan has been given a real nice house in Aherne's neighborhood as a company bonus.

But on the way from Valparaiso to San Francisco, young Susan Slade who out at the mining camp was carefully sheltered was never given the facts of life talk by either parent gets seduced and pregnant by mountain climbing Van Williams. He'll marry her once he climbs Mount McKinley, but he's killed in the attempt.

Conventions being what they were and soap opera novels being what they are an elaborate scheme of McGuire claiming the baby for herself to preserve their social status is cooked up. Stevens also has two ardent suitors for her hand, Bert Convy the son and heir of Aherne and his wife Natalie Schaefer warming for her role as Mrs. Howell and Troy Donahue son of a man who embezzled money from Aherne's company and who runs a stable.

If you are a reader of this kind of literature I think you know where this one is going. If Connie who does acquit herself well in a role that had to have been written for Sandra Dee, Donahue is in the quintessential kind of role for him. The All American boy who is a noble fellow.

All this one needed was Ross Hunter producing and Douglas Sirk directing.

For those of us nostalgic for the early New Frontier years this is your film.
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A deluxe cheese fest
jjnxn-130 April 2013
Florid and overripe is too mild a description for this potboiler. The sets and photography are beautiful but the story is pure corn. And what a cast! Connie Stevens was never much of an actress but up against Troy Donahue and Bert Convy she seems like Vanessa Redgrave. Truly talented actors Dorothy McGuire, Lloyd Nolan and Brian Aherne are used to prop up the underwhelming leads and do the best they can with the meager material provided. The supporting cast is full of familiar faces, Lovey Howell is Bert's mother!, and they acquit themselves as well as they can given the tripe they're handed. If your in the mood for an over the top melodrama look no further.
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