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It’s wartime, and young people are rushing into hasty –sometimes unwise – marriages. But not pretty, level-headed Alice. Then she meets Joe, a G.I. on a two-day pass, and falls heart-over-level-head in love.
Judy Garland and Robert Walker are sweethearts for the ages in this glowing valentine of a movie directed by Vincente Minnelli (who, to add another layer of radiant romance, was about to marry his leading lady). And New York itself plays a role, transforming the whirlwind courtship into a love triangle. The city helps and hinders, holding the young lovers in a warm embrace one moment, then tossing up funny, frustrating roadblocks the next. The National Board of Review named The Clock one of the Top 10 movies of 1945. Film fans rate it even higher. They know The Clock is timeless, one of the great cinema loves of a lifetime.
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I give it 4 stars because it is a story that is somewhat improbable today, especially with the naivete and innocence of these characters and the way they interact as they get to know one another, but that makes it a sweet telling of a story from another time, when girls and boys didn't fall into bed together, but let their feelings lead them toward imagining a life commitment together.
They meet after she loses her heel on the subway and Robert Walker (Joe) asks her to show him the city.They eventually spend the day together but miss their last bus only to be given a lift by a milkman, after helping him to do his morning round.They both fall in love and decide to get married and there is a terrific race against time to obtain the necessary legal papers in order and meet the time deadline before Joe has to return to "Uncle Sam".
It is rather refreshing to see films like this where the actors actually speak to each other and there is no sex or violence but lovely old fashioned courting on screen.I couldn't help thinking Robert Walker was playing an extension of the same role he played in "Since You Went Away (1944)of corporal "Bill", the previous year.
Joe is a soldier from a small town bewildered to find himself in New York City during a layover. Alice has lived in New York for a few years as a sensible working girl. When she loses the heel of her shoe after tripping over the lonely soldier, they strike up an unlikely friendship that eventually leads to a whirlwind romance. But time, for him, is running out. As the clock's hands move towards his departure, the young lovers become desperate not to let anything end their newfound love for each other.
This movie could have taken so many wrong turns and become just another sentimental 1940s romance. However, even though the plot seems trite, the story is captured with refreshing naturalness. Judy Garland, famous for her role as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, turns in a lovely performance as the conflicted young woman who finds herself falling for a soldier against the advice of her bossy roommate. Robert Walker plays Joe, the inexperienced and kindhearted Midwestern boy with the utmost sincerity.
In fact, sincere is probably the best word for the whole production. You don't stop to question the story or the characters, because they all exude a real-life quality. The acting is excellent throughout the film, including the minor bit parts. James and Lucille Gleason, a real life married couple, are especially memorable as the elderly milkman and his wife who encourage Joe and Alice not to let fear influence their decisions. "If people thought about all the things that could happen, they'd never do anything," is what the experienced couple tells the young lovers.
The very talented Director Vincente Minnelli captured the all of the subtle nuances of the story with grace and poignancy. At the time, he and Judy Garland were falling in love with each other, and were married soon after the filming wrapped. He filmed Judy as she had never been filmed before: as a gorgeous, sophisticated young woman full of beauty and love. The audience cannot help but fall in love with her, just as her director did. Consequently, I believe that this is one of the most romantic movies I have ever seen.
Is it a chick-flick? Well...maybe. Is it worth watching? Oh, definitely.
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