27 March 2005 | bob the moo
A good film driven by the character development and strong performances from Saunders and Fitzgerald
Harry Quincey is a bachelor who lives with his two sisters and is head designer in a small town cloth factory. When a New York colleague comes into town to design new fashions early in the production process Harry falls for her and soon it is evident that his relationship with Deborah is going somewhere in the longer term. This is seen as a threat by Harry's sisters, specifically the glamorous hypochondriac Lettie who selfishly guards her brother as her own and has no intention on ever losing him to another woman.
The title of this film and the early tone suggests an enjoyable if standard romantic comedy with some light wit, however it becomes much more dramatic and interesting with some good character development and themes. Harry's romance is indeed quite light and enjoyable but it gives way (well, produces) tension between the women in his life specifically Deborah and Lettie, who is a wonderfully acerbic and possessive character that leads the film into darker territory towards the end. The film is driven by the characters and I was taken by Harry while enthralled by his relationship with Lettie. The ending is a bit of a cop out as it was selected to be the least controversial and meet the requirements of the moral code of the time; the fantasy ending suggests a dark conclusion but really it is a nonsensical cop out that didn't do the film justice.
With this the case it was important that the cast be able to produce the goods or else it may not have worked, fortunately the cast are roundly good. Saunders is best known to me as the Falcon and the Saint, perhaps roles that aren't the most demanding for an actor, but here he shows good touch and a subtly that works well with his character. He is more than matched by a wonderful Fitzgerald, who is convincing and complex with a performance that could so easily have hammy and OTT but one that she gets spot on. Support is good from Raines, MacGill and others but really the film belongs to the lead two and it is there strong performances that drives the film.
Overall this is a fine piece of drama that moves from a standard romance into a much more interesting character piece that draws out great performances from Saunders and Fitzgerald. The direction is good and the story drew me in well to produce a film that is well worth seeing if you can track it down.