Love of teaching is a many splendored thing for spinster teacher Jennifer Jones in this enjoyable, if simplistic drama. There's no blackboard jungle or up staircase, no thugs threatening her or student obsessively in love with her. Those plot points would be more potent in darker dramas, so this is somewhat old fashioned in its themes. Her students of the past and present rally around when her seemingly cold, by the books educator is suddenly hospitalized. Jones is seen in flashbacks going from 19 to 58, and it's surprising how she manages to go nearly 40 years, keeping in character, and stay true to who Miss Dove is.
More a character study than a film with a serious linear plot, this is Ms. Jones' film all the way, and as aggravating as her character is with her business like attitude, you can't help but identify with her. She sticks by her value of propriety and never slips from that. Yes, she's a cold lady most of the time, but underneath, you know she only wants the best for each of these children and is always open to visits from old students who seem to confide in her their most intimate secrets. One of them is Robert Stack, a hero returning from war, her obvious pride and joy, and now her doctor. Mary Wickes and Richard Deacon are a funny pair as fellow teachers enamored of each other. But this is all about Miss Dove, and the little bits here and there about other characters often seems less than secondary.
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