14 December 2006 | Mike-764
Sentimental Kind of Film
Former stage actor Madden Thomas has been off the stage for eight years primarily due to his drinking habits. At the beginning of our film, he is fired from the seasonal job as a department store Santa for drinking on the job. Living w/ his daughter Kathy, Thomas is visited by playwright Robert Carter, who thinks he can build Thomas' career again by giving him a small part in a new play. Even though he still continues to drink, Madden is helped by Kathy, Robert, and Robert's aunt Alma (who was a former lover of Madden) to gain the confidence to stop drinking and take his life & career more seriously. Madden is given that chance when he is to play the title role in a production of King Lear, but when he discovers that Kathy & Robert are planning to wed and leave for Los Angeles, he gets plastered on the opening night, which drives Kathy to her patience limit (even blaming him for her lame leg). When this anger strains the marriage, it is up to Madden to make the right judgment concerning his life and those around him. This is an enjoyable piece of sentiment, while having its heart wrenching moments, it does leave a nice feeling at the end of the film. I think this is the best role Woolley ever had, and is finely supported by Lupino, Wilde, & Allgood. Pichel's direction, while it doesn't go overboard on the melodrama like many of his other films, is disjointed through most of the film since little is mentioned of the character's recent actions which impact certain scenes in the film. Rating, 8.