25 June 2005 | fsilva
Once again, like many other film's I've finally come to see, after reading so many about them and longing to have the opportunity of watching them (i.e. "Trouble in Paradise"), I was afraid this one was not going to meet my expectations, and I was wrong.
First of all, Gary Cooper really impressed me so favorably; so early in his career he was able to handle such a difficult role and give a complex and sensitive performance, conveying Peter Ibbetson's ethereal aspects. Gary Cooper was really a fine actor (not only a charming personality and huge star), good at Drama, Adventure, Western, Romance, Comedy et al.
Cooper portrays the idealistic Peter Ibbetson, a young man so deeply attached to his childhood memories, that he cannot feel fulfilled or happy, in spite that he's supposed to have everything a man would wish, to find happiness.
Ann Harding, on the other hand, of whose performance regarding this film I've read that she wasn't ethereal enough to play this part (Peter Ibbetson's childhood sweetheart, Mary), I must say that I found her well suited to it, as always giving a sincere, sensitive, natural and restrained performance, looking perfect in period clothes.
Both lead performers transmit truth into their characterizations, embodying the love that transcends all the obstacles or "L'amour fou" as French defined it, giving endearing performances. Beautiful Cinematography by the great Charles Lang and great sets by Hans Dreier.
John Halliday plays expertly the stern Duke of Towers; Ida Lupino looks pretty and shows her great talent in a supporting role as a vulgar English woman Peter Ibbetson befriends in Paris and Douglass Drumbille is the "menacing at first sight", uncle of the Title character.
Mention apart deserve lovely Virginia Weidler and Dickie Moore, who portray the leading stars as children, giving impressive, terrific performances. Their scenes together have been among the most heart-wrenching and sincere I've ever seen, featuring a couple of child actors (the 1949 film "The Secret Garden" featuring Dean Stockwell and Margaret O'Brien comes to my mind).
If you liked such pictures as "Smilin' Through", "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir", "I'll Never Forget You", "Berkeley Square", "Somewhere in Time" or "Portrait of Jennie", you must see this one.
The DVD transfer (released by Universal as part of the "Gary Cooper Collection") is of very good quality.