28 February 2008 | Michael_Elliott
Garfield the Great
Four Daughters (1938)
*** 1/2 (out of 4)
A musician and father (Claude Rains) does his best to raise his four daughters (Priscilla Lane, Rosemary Lane, Lola Lane, Gale Page) the right way, which he does but things start to go wrong when a rebel musician (John Garfield) enters their house. I was surprised to see how much I enjoyed this film because I was really just expecting a lot of melodrama and sappy scenes but the film became much more than that due to Curtiz's tight direction of the material and a terrific performance by Garfield. The story is certainly mainly for women but Rains and Garfield both make it more entertaining for the men and both of them also give a lot of backbone to the story. Rains is terrific as the old-fashioned father and the four women are also very strong with Priscilla being the real stand out. The supporting cast includes May Robson, Jeffrey Lynn and Dick Foran and all of them are very good. It's easy to see why Garfield received an Oscar nomination and jumped to stardom after this one role because it's one of the most memorable performances from this late 30s period. Garfield brought along a new style of acting and it's still quite refreshing seeing it where it started.