1 May 2011 | rsoonsa
Remaining Within A Skimpy Budget Causes This Lightweight Piece To Suffer From Slipshod Execution.
Made by Chesterfield Motion Picture Corporation, a "poverty row" film studio, this rather disconnected work provides but few choice moments during its short length, hindered by a minuscule budget that is only a shadow of what would be required to craft a well-made production. Additionally, lacklustre direction by Richard Thorpe, sub-standard acting from its male lead, and a script that is bloated with flaws of logic and continuity, encumber the affair from its onset. Action opens for this weakly constructed melodrama as Jerry Grant (John Darrow)hovers over the perfectly supine form (arms to sides) of Barbara Blake (Sally Blane) after having flattened her with his automobile. A policeman takes Jerry to the hospital where Barbara has been removed and there determines that Grant was drinking when he collided with the young woman. However, Barbara declares that she was not struck by Grant's car, an announcement that shelters Jerry from a jail stay, while simultaneously beginning, in characteristically Hollywood fashion, a romantic bond between the pair, to the distress of Jerry's father, played by John St. Polis, a successful businessman who has been developing Jerry as his successor. Key to the budding romance's future is the effort by the elder Grant to prevent a marriage between Jerry and Barbara, a to-be-expected result of young love. His disapproval rests upon the societal class structure in existence during the period of the film's release. Barbara's roommate is, as may be expected, a cynical young woman, Harriet (an able turn by Josephine Dunn), who also opposes the controversial liaison, but from a pragmatic sense of what might result from the union. Nonetheless, a stagy climax shall be expected to satisfactorily resolve the entire situation. This is essentially a fanciful soap opera, marred in the main by a poor performance from Darrow who seems to be virtually comatose even when not mute. Norma Drew, cast as Jerry's sister Diane, wins the acting honours here with a vivacious performance, while Dorothy Christy is wasted with her small part. Blane, an exact physical replica of her far more ambitious real-life sister Loretta Young, gives, as ever, a skillful performance. Chesterfield gathered an adequate number of extras to allow assistant director Melville Shyer to effectively maneuver in crowd scenes more ably than the mechanical Thorpe does with the primary players. Scoring is sparsely utilized (during two brief scenes), serving only to accent Thorpe's lack of imagination. Although not available upon a DVD, an occasional VHS will still be located.