A prison reformer and a controversial judge fall in love and have a child out of wedlock.A prison reformer and a controversial judge fall in love and have a child out of wedlock.A prison reformer and a controversial judge fall in love and have a child out of wedlock.
Perhaps, New York's Cardinal Spellman, in his private audience with her, gave her a good dressing down over this role? That we will likely never know, inasmuch as she never spoke of it in later years, though she did denounce her morally suspect, (though quite successful) 1932 film, "Back Street" as "trash".
Certainly by the time she received the distinguished St. Robert Bellarmine Award in 1965 for exemplary public Catholicism, "Ann Vickers" was no longer recalled by the general public.
Suffice it to say that "Ann Vickers" works neither as entertainment or social commentary.
Miss Dunne's role as an adulterous social worker, who sleeps around, (between reforming prisons and writing a best seller on correctional rehabilitation) doesn't dovetail with her temperament or on screen demeanor, and one keeps suspecting that the whole thing is a kind of tongue in cheek gag, (what else can we think when we witness a montage of Miss Dunne's sympathetic beatific gaze superimposed over a shot of a female prisoner being scourged?) By films end, she has renounced careerism in favor of marriage, (to crusty convict Walter Huston no less--and what kind of lunacy would ever conceive of pairing these two romantically?)
Irene Dunne completists will no doubt wish to see this curiosity, if only for the chance to hear her promise to rehabilitate a cocaine addict under her charge: "I'm going to get you off the snow cold turkey" !!!
Well, if nothing else such sordid goings on, do present her light years from her usual milieu of operatic trills, furbellowed chiffon and strawberry phosphates--cocaine addiction not being the first subject one associates with the irreproachable Miss Dunne.
- Dec 28, 2007