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(Review originally written at 9 August 2008)

Even though drama is not my favorite movie genre I'm still a big fan of King Vidor drama's. He directed classics in the '20's, '30's, '40's and even still in the '50's. Seriously, what other director can say that? He seems to have the ability to provide movies with some human and realistic feeling drama. It concentrates on the little things rather than purely on the big picture. It makes the emotions always humble but realistic and therefor effective as well. Of course it all feels terribly outdated now days but if you're into old movies you really should be able to appreciate it.

The movie is really written with its drama and despite being not that long, it still is a movie that features a long time-line, with many different story elements and characters. It makes the movie as well as the drama diverse. It's a movie about ordinary people, with ordinary common every day problems. It's not a movie that tries to make the world look like a perfect place and shows just life how it is and nothing is everlasting. Everybody must make some sacrifices in life. Funny thing is that the movie itself is based on a novel, on which the screenplay got based, with 2 writers working on that and then again 2 writers were called in to write a dramatization of it all. On top of that also a writer called in for the movie its extra dialog. That's the way drama's got done in the '30's.

It's a movie that is also being carried by its characters and actors who are portraying them. Barbara Stanwyck is a wonderful lead for this movie. She also received her first ever Oscar nomination for this movie. She would be nominated 3 more times in the future, before receiving an honorary award for her entire career in 1982. All of the characters are well written and nicely developed. They are not just one dimensional, as often is the case with genre movie from the same period this movie got made in. Besides Barbara Stanwyck, also Anne Shirley got nominated for an Oscar, which was a bit too much credit though.

It's a great typical '30's looking drama, with nice settings and costume design, though lots of it is obviously studio work. The musical score is from expert Alfred Newman, which sounds outdated and very clich├ęd by now however. You know, lots of loud strings during the dramatic moments and all of that.

A great example of what made '30's drama movies so great and why King Vidor was such an expert within the genre.

9/10

About Frank Veenstra

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