A plain maid and a wounded war veteran are transformed by their love for each other while residing in an enchanted honeymoon cottage.A plain maid and a wounded war veteran are transformed by their love for each other while residing in an enchanted honeymoon cottage.A plain maid and a wounded war veteran are transformed by their love for each other while residing in an enchanted honeymoon cottage.
'Enchanted Cottage' has a real message. This is a film about seeing with your heart, not your eyes. Laura Pennington (McGuire) and Oliver Bradford (Young) learn to do so while cast under the magic spell of the 'enchanted cottage' they are inhabiting. It seems a hokey concept on paper, but this film really works.
Laura is a homely maid who looks as if she is going to spend her days as a spinster. She takes on a job at a pretty cottage owned by a dour old widow. Oliver Bradford originally wanted the cottage as a honeymoon location for him and his soon-to-be bride. However, Oliver was called to war a day before their wedding. He is disfigured and scarred as a result, and upon arriving home, his fiancé expresses disgust (although we never see it) at his changed appearance. Crippled, bitter and lonely, he takes the cottage as a single man. The kind-hearted, yet plain, Laura helps him in his loneliness, as she too knows what it feels like to be judged on looks alone.
They eventually decide to marry out of convenience. But the spell of the enchanted cottage starts to work on them on their wedding night, as they realise the true love and affection they harbour for each other, a love that goes past face value and transports them into another realm.
It is a tender love story. McGuire is never anything but convincing as the downtrodden yet kind Laura; she impressed me a lot more here than in her Oscar-nominated work for 'Gentlemen's Agreement'. All the time throughout watching the film I was thinking of her as a perfect actress for 'Jane Eyre'. She certainly could play the plain, ordinary girl well, with emotional depth and understanding. Indeed, the relationship between the once-handsome but now-scarred Oliver and the homely, unwanted maid Laura is reminiscent of the Jane-Rochester relationship.
The widow seems to subscribe to the English novel theory too; her stopped clock at the time of her husband's death is very 'Miss Havisham' from 'Great Expectations'.
Marshall is great, giving his usual understated performance as the blind composer who cannot 'see' with his eyes, but can feel with his heart and his brain.
A great musical score accompanies the scenery well, and appropriately dark cinematography complements the darker points of the story too. This was a war-time pic, and once again we are being shown the harsh realities of war through the disabled figure of Oliver. Still, this is more of a love story than propaganda.
This was made by the cash-strapped RKO studio, and today it is little-known. Apparently finding this film is hard, but here in Australia the ABC free-to-air network plays it regularly. I view myself as lucky.
This a tearjerker, and a beautiful romance story. Keep the tissues nearby.
- Apr 25, 2006