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(Review originally written at 12 December 2009)

Considering its resources and it's rather small budget, this is a pretty good movie, from director/actress Ida Lupino. It was made without the backing of any big studios but yet it starred some capable and big name actors in it, no doubt thanks to Lupino's connections in Hollywood.

Ida Lupino was quite a big name actress at the time, thanks to roles she played in "High Sierra", "They Drive by Night" and "The Sea Wolf", among others. But due to her age good acting roles were becoming more hard and hard to get by. She then decided to do a not so common thing for a female at the time; she decided to direct and also write movies on her own. Not that she ever became much successful with it though but that seems hardly her fault. There were simply no big studios or producers at the time who dared to back a female director up at time, despite of her good reputation as an established actress. Therefor she got mostly stuck to directing low budget films that never got big releases. This is a real shame, since she definitely had some directing qualities and knew how to bring a good story to the screen.

Perhaps with this movie Lupino also tried to make a social statement and address the issue of bigamy, which supposedly was happening on quite a large scale at the time but was of course not much talked about. So seems to me that this movie was handling a quite delicate matter, though the movie doesn't ever try to make a big issue out of it, or try to be preachy about it.

You don't really know whether you should hate or care for this man and the situation that he got into, as the Edmund Gwenn character also says in the movie. You don't like him at first or what he is doing but yet you can also grow some understanding for him and hope things will work out for the good of him in the long run.

It's pretty obvious that this movie was low budget, especially when you compare it to the other stuff that got done in 1953. It has a simplistic and cheap look over it but the movie sort of overcomes this all, thanks to its good story and the overall handling of it, by the director and actor.

This movie has quite some big names in it, next to Ida Lupino herself of course. Edmond O'Brien plays the real main and not so grateful role of the movie. He does handle his character and manages to be unlikeable in the beginning but likely toward the end. Joan Fontaine also stars, as does her mother Lillian Fontaine, in a much smaller role.

Definitely a good movie, also especially when consider its limited resources and the fact that a female directed it, in a time when this wasn't really socially accepted in Hollywood.

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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