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Top Customer Reviews
It was filmed on a soundstage, with very effective scenic design by William Cameron Menzies...I just love the skies !
Brilliantly conceived and directed by Sam Wood, it's based on Harry Bellamann's best-selling novel. The excellent Erich Wolfgang Korngold score also adds to the drama and atmosphere.
Set in a turn of the century small town, where the dark secrets and vile motives of some contrast with the goodness of others, the best scenes are between Ann Sheridan and Ronald Reagan.
The chemistry between them is a delight, and their acting so real, one feels one is sharing the moment with them, even though this was filmed over 60 years ago. They shine as Randy and Drake, two strong, independent, and fun loving souls.
With the exception of one or two scenes with rather stilted dialogue between Betty Field and Robert Cummings, the pacing never lags. There are great actors even in the supporting roles, like Dame Judith Anderson and Maria Ouspenskaya. Claude Rains is absolutely marvelous, and steals every scene he's in.
This classic was nominated for several Oscars...B&W Cinematography (James Wong Howe), Director, and Best Picture, but lost to a "Mrs. Minever" sweep.
It's perhaps Ronald Reagan's best performance, so this film is a piece of American history, as well as being highly entertaining.
The film focuses on five childhood friends who grow up to complicated lives. Parris Mitchell (Robert Cummings) has become a medical student, studying privately with Dr. Alexander Tower (Claude Rains), whose daughter Cassandra (Betty Field) is a sheltered neurotic. Louise Gordon (Nancy Coleman) has been raised by harsh parents who warn here away from playboy Drake McHugh (Reagan), who is living off an inheritance. Drake ends up falling for Randy Monoghan (Ann Sheridan), the former tomboy who has grown up in to a most practical working class girl. Things then get very dark. First, when Dr. Tower discovers Cassandra is pregnant he kills her and himself. Then, after losing his fortune and taking a job at the railroad yard, Drake is injured and Dr. Gordon (Charles Coburn) decides to amputate the young man's legs as a punishment for his former hedonism. This is what leads to Reagan's unforgettable scene when he wakes up and discovers what has been done to him. The scene could have become ludicrous, but Reagan pulls it off and it is clearly his finest moment as an actor.Read more ›
Sheridan is the one who really shines in this film. Given the chance to prove that she was more than just a second lead or wise-cracking girlfriend, Sheridan shows that she can handle drama, especially in the scenes with Reagan (who also is above his usual workman-like performances) after he has his accident and loses his legs.
Maria Ouspenskaya, best know as the gypsy in "The Wolf Man," shows that she was a very underrated character actress in her brilliant performance as Parris' grandmother, a queenly and noble woman who instills all of the right values in her grandson.
Korngold's score is superb (a precursor of John Williams' score for "Star Wars"), and if you can find a copy of it on CD, I suggest a listen to that as well. It gives the film a real boost, and is one of Korngold's best.
In all, one of the best dramas of the 1940's, and one of Warner Bros. best films ever.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Ronald Reagan at his best. A very great film!!! A classic worth watching two or three times!!!Published 1 month ago by allen
Great movie ......all that was promised. Thanks....our former President in his younger days....very entertainingPublished 5 months ago by Doris Judy O'connor
This 1942 Classic Film Was Perhaps The Greatest Acting Performance By The Future 33rd, Governor Of California (1967-1975) And 40th,President Of The United States (1981-1989) Ronald... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Matthew Bulger
A rousing and touching film. Ronald Reagan gives a fine performance -- they all do! My aunt always raved about it -- and now I see why.Published 8 months ago by Barbara
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