(Review originally written at 17 January 2007)

In the '40's these coming of age movies were pretty popular in America. Some good though always sappy movies were made in that time period. "Kings Row" is definitely one of the more better and memorable one's.

It's a story of growing up in a small American town, around and before 1900. The movie features lots of characters but mainly focuses on the two friends Parris and Drake. The movie follows them from their early youth, to their early adulthood, involving their early love-life, study and jobs. Of course the movie also features the necessary drama and deaths. I mean, there probably is more drama in this, than in a month of soap-series episodes. Definitely an over-the-top dramatic story but it works amazingly well.

As a matter of fact, the story is really the highlight of the movie. Lots is happening and the movie isn't heading in one clear main direction. It gives the movie a couple of surprises in its drama and doesn't make the movie as predictable as you maybe would expect from a genre-piece like this one.

The many characters in this movie are just great and well written. Everybody serves a purpose in the story and for the development of the two real main characters of the movie. On top of that, they are also being played by some great actors. Robert Cummings and Ronald Reagan are real great as the two main characters. Reagan has never been known for his solid actor performances but this movie forms an excellent exception. One of his biggest and perhaps also best roles out of his career. See it to believe it. Also the supporting cast is great with Ann Sheridan, Charles Coburn and Claude Rains in some notable roles.

The movie doesn't really ever pick on true main character. At first the movie mainly focuses on Parris but the second halve is mostly about Drake. Also, the key characters in the first halve of the movie differ from the ones in the second. It's an approach that works well for the story and keeps it interesting, original and unpredictable to follow, from start till finish.

The movie is typically '40's looking, meaning that the style is kept simple and the sets cheap but all good enough to serve their purpose. The musical score by Erich Wolfgang Korngold is outstanding and deserves recognition.

A great movie to watch and one of the better ones out of its genre.


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About Frank Veenstra

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