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I'll Wait for You

I'll Wait for You(1941)

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teaser I'll Wait for You (1941)

The big studios liked to showcase promising talent, and 1941's I'll Wait for You is a classic example. Promoted as the 'new Bette Davis,' beautiful Broadway actress Marsha Hunt teams with the handsome but somewhat bland newcomer Robert Sterling in this remake of a 1934 melodrama by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, the writers of Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life (1946). The story will seem familiar to fans of John Garfield and John Wayne: a gangster finds atonement and moral values on a country farm. Sterling's cynical hood 'Lucky' Wilson is wounded in a New York shooting, and makes it as far as Connecticut before passing out. Taken in by the Millers, a farming family, he finds the sticks a good place to hide. Only when Lucky falls in love with the lovely, unspoiled daughter Pauline (Marsha Hunt) do his feelings become more sincere. A sympathetic cop (Paul Kelly) eventually shows up, and when Lucky confesses his criminal past to Pauline, she promises to wait for him. MGM had hired the handsome Sterling as a backup for Robert Taylor, but he's best remembered for starring in the TV series Topper (1953). Leading roles in major pictures eluded Marsha Hunt. Although the blacklist derailed her film career for several years, she remained popular on the stage and television. Critics in 1941 praised Miss Hunt's performance but complained that studios were recycling too many tired old stories. Variety also noted that rural audiences might resent the way Paul Kelly and another detective patronize the Millers by speaking city jargon as if it were a foreign language. Actor Kelly's own story was more scandalous and heartbreaking than anything the movies could show. He served two years in San Quentin for the 1927 death of the husband of his lover, actress Dorothy MacKaye. She indeed waited for him. They married on his release, but MacKaye died in an auto accident in 1940.

by Glenn Erickson

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