12 September 2014 | bkoganbing
Lack of discipline
Some sincere performances by the cast characterize My Son My Son about the doings of a young cad and how he affects the lives of all around him. The title role here is played in adulthood by Louis Hayward who while pretty much forgotten today was a fine player and equally capable of playing heroes as in The Return Of Monte Cristo, villainous cads as in this film or both sides of the coin as in The Man In The Iron Mask.
Brian Aherne plays his long suffering father who realizes he's spawned a completely selfish cad in his desire to provide the best of everything for his son. Aherne and best friend Henry Hull are a pair of poor Irishmen who are determined to better themselves. Hull becomes a rich designer of furniture and Aherne a celebrated author. Both marry and have children, Aherne his one and only son and a boy and a girl for Hull.
Early on Hayward while still a child and played by Scotty Beckett is discovered to be charming but bad. His mother Josephine Hutchinson wants to discipline him severely, but she dies early and Aherne spoils him rotten.
Hayward ruins the lives of all around him, but in the end redeems himself somewhat so that Aherne can be proud of him. For how Hayward ruins and redeems you see the film for.
Madeline Carroll is also in the film as Aherne's second wife who Hayward makes a play for. Hull's grownup children are played by Bruce Lester and Laraine Day and both are touched negatively by Hayward.
Aherne maybe next to David Niven was the actor who was cast in roles that required charm and little else to carry a film. He never became as big a star as Niven among other of his contemporaries, but was on occasion called on to do more than be charming as in the case of My Son My Son. In this as in Smiling Through Aherne has to age many years and with the help of good makeup does so gracefully.
My Son My Son got an Oscar nomination for Art Direction for and black and white motion picture. Dated severely it still is a credit to the cast and crew who made it.