19 September 2009 | moonspinner55
"Spring never comes again...perhaps in the Indian Summer, we'll meet once more."
Fake history, played for bathos. On Founders Day in the thriving metropolis of Hoyt City, eager-beaver reporters swarm the home of a 109-year old woman, reputedly once married to founding father Ethan Hoyt; she's surely got a tall tale to tell, beginning when she was just a teenager in 1848 Philadelphia. Barbara Stanwyck begs, borrows, and barters to finance the future of idealistic husband Joel McCrea, who owns a great stretch of land with nothing on it but a shack. The narrative skitters over such crucial story-elements as railroad access, livestock, a water supply, financial aid--all for the sake of marital melodrama. Brian Donlevy, as a shady gambler who has immediate eyes for Stanwyck, does what he can with a character conceived as an afterthought (he plugs up the holes left behind by a screenplay spanning many years' time); Stanwyck and McCrea fare a bit better, though this story is seldom credible, and is often downright loopy. Production is handsome enough, and the intentions behind the film are apparently heartfelt, but there isn't a surprise in its entire 91 minutes. ** from ****