28 February 2008 | Michael_Elliott
*** (out of 4)
Hard hitting drama from John Ford about an overbearing mother (Henrietta Crosman) who can't stand to see her son (Norman Foster) with a farm girl (Heather Angel) because she wants him to stand with her his entire life. When the mother learns that her son has the girl pregnant, she puts him in the draft for WW1 where he is eventually killed. The mother still doesn't accept his son's girlfriend or their kids but when she goes to France to visit her son's grave she meets a young couple who are in the same boat as her dead son. This isn't one of Ford's greatest films but I might go on the record as saying it's his greatest directing jobs. It's rather amazing at what Ford is able to do with this film because it's so strong on so many levels when you'd think these levels wouldn't work together. Henrietta Crosman's character is one of the most evil bitches to ever show up in any film. Her self centered ways and the ways she abuses the young woman after her son is killed made my blood boil with hatred. I really, really hated her character and wished the very worst for her. I knew there would be some sort of redemption but I thought it would be impossible for me to give it to her yet Ford works the film in such a way that the message of forgiveness comes across very strong. SOme might balk at the ending but it worked perfectly well for me. Ford handles the redemption very well and it's terrific how he's able to get it while earlier in the film creating a hated character. The supporting cast is very good but the show clearly belongs to Crosman who delivers a brilliant performance. This isn't one of the director's better known films but hopefully its recent DVD release will change that.