- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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- kevin sellers
Long, dull half ass "Dodsworth." (i.e. Bored wife ditches thoughtful, sensitive small town hubby for a life of sophistication, only to learn etc etc) Screenplay, by the usually witty and perceptive Donald Ogden Stewart, is too damn cute with all the lovey dovey exchanges between Spencer Tracy and Lana Turner and the cat schtick, plus it's got a big story problem, namely that one minute Turner is blissfully happy married to Tracy's establishment judge and the next moment she's announcing how bored she is in the small town of Grand Republic. Particularly egregious on Stewart's part is that he makes no use of the key character of Queenie, the snobby country club wife who hates Turner for her lower middle class origins. You expect scenes of conflict between them, to mention nothing of ostracism, that would help to explain Turner's dislike of her provincial surroundings, but there is nary a one. Pretty major oversight from a pro like Stewart. Maybe a better director like a Cukor or a Mankewiecz would have spotted this omission and done something about it but George Sidney, best known for lightweight musicals rather than examinations of troubled marriages and small town classism, certainly did not. About the only reason I stuck with this rather plodding film was the performance of Tracy and a couple of the supporting actors like Mary Astor who is so fascinatingly vicious as Queenie that you really want to shake Stewart and Sidney for under utilizing her and Jessie Grayson who manages to go beyond 1940s racial stereotypes as Tracy's housekeeper who is also a friend. As for Turner and Zachary Scott they stay within their comfort zones of alluring and smarmy and are rarely if ever pulled out of those zones by Sidney.Give it a C. P.S. The age difference between Turner and Tracy, a big deal in Sinclair Lewis' novel, is not even hinted at. Another example of Stewart falling down on the job.
I don't know how it happened but Mary Astor, once again and as always, plays the witch! (The only film I can think of wherein she portrayed a good person is "Dodsworth" and she was sensational in that film!) Astor is a minor player in this film, the leader of a group of catty gossips, as it belongs solely to Spencer Tracy and Lana Turner, along with the typically smarmy Zachary Scott (another actor who always played a vile person!). I've viewed this film many times over the years and I still enjoy both Tracy and Turner here, as they play well off one another. Even though there is a visibly discernible age difference in the two, it is fairly easy to accept them as the lonely widower and the woman who sees the goodness in him even though she doesn't fully realize he is the father figure she had been searching for. The small town girl marries and finds herself in yet another small town and one in which she is completely ostracized by the country club set to which her husband belongs. She falls head over heels for the cad (Scott) who, after she has left her husband, tells her he isn't interested in her as a wife. Her making her way back to her marriage and to her husband is the crux of the film and is a lesson in good vs. bad choices we make during life's journey. Well worth watching!
"An unexamined life isn't worth living" (Socrates)
- Dan Eastwood
Thoroughly enjoyed it! Probes the depths of human motivations and the degree to which we often make choices without fully understanding ourselves and the consequences of our choices. Even the best people (as portrayed by Tracy & Turner) can screw their lives up pursuing what they thought were good motives... yet redemption is always possible for those willing to re-examine their lives to make different choices. Excellent performances from both Tracy and Turner.
- Leo Presser
The first time this movie was on TCM I did not have the capability of seeing it. It is one of my all time favorites. I would love to see it again now that I have the capability.
- Anne Huffstatler
When will TCM show this movie again? You have shown it and another Lana Turner Movie, Homecoming, in the past.