Review

  • Warning: Spoilers
    This early Sirk melodrama, shot in black and white, is a minor film, yet showcases the flair of the German director in enhancing tired story lines into something resembling art. Set in the 1910's, Barbara Stanwyck is the woman who has sinned by abandoning her small-town husband and family for the lure of the Chicago stage. She never fulfilled her ambitions, and is drawn back to the town she left by an eager letter from her daughter informing her that she too has taken a liking to the theatre (a high school production, that is). Back in her old town she once again comes up against small-mindedness, and has to deal with her hostile eldest daughter, bewildered (and boring) husband (Richard Carlson) and ex-lover. The plot is nothing new but Sirk sets himself apart by creating meaningful compositions, with every frame carefully shot, and he is aided immeasurably by having Stanwyck as his leading lady. It runs a crisp 76 minutes, and that's just as well, because the material doesn't really have the legs to go any further.