An American Romance (1944)

Passed   |    |  Drama


An American Romance (1944) Poster

Stefan Dangos immigrates to America and works his way up from the iron mines and steel mills to become a great American success story as an industrialist.

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6.9/10
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  • An American Romance (1944)
  • An American Romance (1944)
  • Brian Donlevy and Ann Richards in An American Romance (1944)
  • Brian Donlevy and Ann Richards in An American Romance (1944)
  • Brian Donlevy in An American Romance (1944)
  • Brian Donlevy and Bob Lowell in An American Romance (1944)

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6 June 2012 | bkoganbing
7
| By Dint of his own hard work ethic
Watching this film tonight and for the first time in about 40 years I also was seeing it in color for the first time and made me even more curious as to why no name stars were in the title roles with such an expensive production. From Robert Osborne I learned tonight that Spencer Tracy was originally going to be Steven Danglos instead of Brian Donlevy. Personally I would have waited for Tracy to become available and not because Donlevy gave a bad performance.

Donlevy's role is that of an Eastern European immigrant who starts work at a steel mill and by dint of his own hard work ethic rises to become a captain of industry. Along the way he woos and weds Ann Richards and they have a girl and four boys. A lot of immigrants did it that way and some are still doing it though many are illegal now. Back when we had virtually unlimited immigration because we wanted to grow the country a lot of stories like Donlevy's were possible although few rose to his heights. On both sides of my family that story could be told modified quite a bit.

In the end Donlevy is confronted with of all things labor management problems. He proves as stubborn as people like Henry Ford in that regard. If you remember in Citizen Kane a drunken Joseph Cotten tells off Orson Welles that something called organized labor is coming on the scene and what you gave your employees as largess is now thought of as their rights. Donlevy has the same paternalistic approach.

American Romance is also a tribute to the power of American industry which was growing to what we thought in 1944 as having unlimited potential. It was the backbone of our war effort and the last ten minutes without words show what Donlevy's Steven Danglos was a part of.

For reasons I think that no name star was in the lead, American Romance did not do that well. That's a pity because it's a fine film with wonderful cinematography which I finally saw on a color TV. Nice casting all around with such familiar folks as Walter Abel, John Qualen, and Stephen McNally. I hope TCM broadcasts it again soon.

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Drama

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