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  • Raoul Walsh's The Man I Love opens during an after-hours jam session at a Manhattan jazz boîte, the 39 Club, where Petey Brown (Ida Lupino, dubbed by Peg La Centra) sings the title song while expelling cigarette smoke. And it seems there was a man she loved, but we don't hear much about him, except that their parting has given her wanderlust, leading her back home to California.

    Living there is what's left of the family of which she becomes de facto matriarch: Her sister Sally (Andrea King), whose shell-shocked husband (John Ridgely) is in a psychiatric hospital; younger sister Ginny (Martha Vickers); and ne'er-do-well brother Joe (Warren Douglas). Almost part of the family are next-apartment neighbors, the O'Connors - doting and deluded Johnny (Don McGuire) and discontented, two-timing Gloria (Dolores Moran, in a deliciously slutty turn).

    They keep Lupino's hands full, but a girl's gotta make a living, too, so she slaps on the war-paint and slithers into a gown, landing a job as `canary' in a nightspot operated by womanizing Nicky Toresca (Robert Alda). She keeps rather tepid company with him, until circumstance brings legendary jazz-piano man San Thomas (Bruce Bennett) into her life; the victim of an unhappy marriage, he's currently AWOL from the Merchant Marine and thinks he's lost his gift for the ivories. They kindle a volatile liaison (apparently the template from which Martin Scorsese struck the romance between Francine Evans and Jimmy Doyle in New York, New York). But Lupino's two lives, family and romantic, start to interlock disruptively....

    An unlikely amalgam of freighted, '40s romance, low-key musical and a touch of film noir, The Man I Love relies less on plot than on old-fashioned story. It's a complicated and ever-shifting story that Walsh manages to juggle adroitly (though he lets a couple of Indian clubs clatter to the floor - the shut-away husband and the Vickers character don't come to much, and the usually glamorous King is ill-garbed as the long-suffering hausfrau).

    But Lupino, though she shares the movie with a large cast, stays at its center - strong and smart-mouthed but compassionate and vulnerable. (Her grand exit, smiling through tears on the waterfront, recall's Barbara Stanwyck's in Stella Dallas.) Bennett proves a good match for her, in a strong, shaded performance (though top billing among the males goes to Alda, looking like a young Danny Thomas and delivering no more than a bland, generic heavy).

    The Man I Love exerts a nostalgic pull that avoids (barely) the campy and the overwrought. Though there's a violent death, it's not a violent film, nor even, really, a crime story. Coming from the immediate post-war era when emotions were still running high and not yet subject to over-analysis, it serves up its thick stew with gusto. Yes, it ends a little too daintily, but with its torch songs, its messy relationships, and unabashed commitment, it still makes a memorable meal.
  • This superb film shows Ida Lupino in top form, oozing enough torment and emotion to knock you out cold. She almost does that to shy, retiring Bruce Bennett, who does a magnificent job of playing San Thomas, a famous blues pianist who 'suddenly disappeared because his wife left him', but now turns up just in time for Ida to fall head over heels for him. The great, hulking Bennett, who had once been in real life an Olympic silver medallist (and whom Ida calls affectionately her 'big lug') is just about the best choice old pro director Raoul Walsh could possibly have made for the role. His innate, brooding melancholy gives the film the picquancy and authenticity a mere performance alone could never have achieved. The chemistry between Bennett and Lupino is so hot you could fry an egg on it in ten seconds. The dialogue really crackles. Bennett: 'Isn't life difficult enough without getting it mixed up with memories?' Lupino: 'I don't know. I don't go back far enough yet.' The film is full of fabulous music, not least the Gershwin theme song 'The Man I Love', sung by Ida with such style your jaw drops and your heart stops. The film is a must for music lovers of the better popular music of the late forties, and the artists who are seen performing. Bennett really plays the piano himself, which is a greater surprise even than seeing Dan Duryea play in one of his crime thrillers. Some of those Hollywood actors certainly knew how to let rip on the keyboard. The whole film sizzles and zizzles. Robert Alda plays an odious serial seducer who owns a nightclub where Ida sings. She hates him. Here is what she says on one occasion when he walks in. Ida: 'Do you always come in without knocking? You almost scared me right out of my new hair dye.' A lot of the wit has unexpected twists like that, which emphasizes the intense individualism of Ida. She is a real role model for the Independent Woman, and the shocking scene where she violently slaps a man repeatedly in the face as if she were a hired thug is so incredible, because it is done so nonchalantly and naturally, that you can imagine her easily playing a female Al Capone in a female gangster film. But of course Ida has the proverbial heart of gold, though she gives it away too easily. What a brilliant woman Ida Lupino was, one of the few high intellects in Hollywood, director of several controversial films which tackled head on taboo subjects like disability and bigamy. She could set the screen on fire whether she was behind or in front of the camera. But did I say camera? She didn't even need one! All she had to do was breathe, and a fresh wind swept through Hollywood. All she had to do was look at a lens, and it melted. This film also features fine performances by Andrea King as a good gal and Dolores Moran as a bad gal, and some fine singing from Tony Romano. I've seen it twice, that's not enough.
  • Kitty-472 September 2003
    Ida Lupino excelled at playing tough, yet vulnerable, women. One of the best Ida Lupino films, "The Man I Love" is all about atmosphere. It has great music, great images, and great lines all tied to a fast-paced and entertaining, if unlikely, story. This film influenced director Martin Scorsese when he made "New York, New York". Scorsese's film is overlong and overdone, but "The Man I Love" is brisk and sleek. You won't be bored. If you enjoy "The Man I Love", I also recommend the Ida Lupino film "Road House".
  • Ida Lupino was a magnificent actress who fulfilled the promise of intelligence and talent that always seemed to burn in her eyes by demonstrating her creative moxie as a director. Unfortunately, her career in front of the camera often found her in cast off looking pot-boilers (she got to rummage through what was rejected by Davis, Crawford, and whoever else might be hot at the moment).

    This noir-ish romantic weepy with a bad nicotine cough was typical of the sows ears she tried to make fit like silk. Filmed in 1945....and not widely released til early in is filled with competent but rather second string talent...many of whom never quite made it to the top rung. Bruce Bennett (who deserves great credit for being one of the few actors to survive being cast as Tarzan without forever being typed and stymied) does his usual low key but very sincere turn as Ida's Piano whiz turned world weary seaman (don't ask). Robert Alda is effectively smarmy as the dame hungry club owner...after Ida and just about every other female with a is a shame that playing George Gershwin (in "Rhapsody in Blue") and having this meaty part in a film based around one of the Gershwin's greatest standards didn't lead to bigger and better film roles.

    The world weary atmosphere of jaded postwar funk that lingers over the film like a cloud of smoke and stale perfume is More persuasive than the rather clunky script...( you have to give the writers credit for gaul however...the final clinch lines are lifted almost verbatim from "Now Voyager" and "Casablanca"...and tend to make this end up looking more shallow and tacky than it is).

    The musical sequences are great...and Ida seems ideally suited for the role of a jam session diva...even if she did have to borrow a voice for the part. The atmosphere of electric bluesy ambiance was seldom captured better on film until Garland nailed it to perfection wailing about "the Man that got away" in 1954.

    Unfortunately several numbers are missing from the print shown on TCM (which runs only 89 minutes...and is in DREADFUL shape...with many scratches, spices, breaks, and reals where the images look like something from a cheap public domain dupe of a dupe).

    Here's hoping someone in the Warner Brother's Library does some digging...finds the original negative...and restores this..because Ida deserved the very best...even if she seldom got it.
  • "The Man I Love" is a 1947 film (though made in 1945) directed by Raoul Walsh. The stars are Ida Lupino, Robert Alda, Andrea King, Martha Vickers, Bruce Bennett, Delores Moran, and Alan Hale.

    Lupino plays a nightclub singer, Petey, who goes home to visit her family - two sisters and a brother. They're all in one way or another pretty messed up, so Petey, the strong one, sticks around to try and help. Her brother Johnny (Don McGuire) is married to Gloria (Delores Moran). They're the parents of twins, but Gloria is out a lot visiting "friends." With Johnny working at night, Gloria gets bored easily.

    One of Petey's sisters (King) has a husband (Jon Ridgeley) who is institutionalized due to a breakdown after the war. Petey gets a job at Nicky Toresca's (Robert Alda) nightclub. Toresca is a slimeball who is constantly on the make, but Petey ignores him and goes crazy for a pianist who has seen better days, Sand Thomas (Bennett). But Sand is still grieving over his ex-wife, who comes back to town during the time he and Petey have together before he ships out on a merchant steamer.

    Basically, this is a story about not so great men and the women who love them, except for Gloria's poor husband Johnny - but since Gloria is crazy about Nick Tedesco, we can leave Johnny out. All I can say is, with those twins, Johnny is darn lucky his sisters live across the hall. And Sand's not a bad guy but let's face it, he's carrying a torch for the ex.

    There is music throughout, including the title song played a great deal in the background. Other music: "Why Was I Born," "If I Could Be With You," and "Liza." Peg LaCentra dubbed for Lupino.

    Ida Lupino looks fabulous and wears some great gowns. She plays the strong, independent, no-nonsense Petey well, there for her family for as long as it takes. Robert Alda is smooth with a hint of sleaze, perfect as Nick Tedesco.

    As Sand, Bruce Bennett is good. Bennett was one of the most interesting men in show business. Under his real name of Herman Brix, he was a silver medalist for shotput in the 1928 Olympics. Going into films, Bennett enjoyed a good career in supporting roles, including Mildred Pierce's husband, and roles in "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre," "Dark Passage," "A Stolen Life," etc., and tons of TV. He died in 2007 at the age of 100. I can't imagine what it was like watching his old films and realizing that he'd outlived every single person in the movie.

    Atmospheric with its nightclub scenes and fog, "The Man I Love" is a different kind of film - it looks like a noir, is part love story, and part an unusual family drama.
  • rube24244 September 2003
    I had never been an big Ida Lupino fan until I recently saw THE MAN I LOVE. The film was fun, frothy and, ultimately, forgettable, but Ida was terrific. As the eldest of four siblings, she holds the clan, as well as the film, together with her tough, wisecracking, heart of gold persona. Even while lip syncing the title song, Ida makes an impression. Check out her reading of the lines, "From which I'll never roam, Who would, would you?" She really nails it.

    THE MAN I LOVE is a fun way to pass an evening but Ida Lupino is a revelation.
  • This is a relatively unknown Warner Bros. movie, that really shows off the skills of Ido Lupino, even in 1947, a tough independent spirited woman. Bruce Bennett, plays his best role outside of early Tarzan style films, and the entire mood of the film would stand up even today. In a lot of ways, not the Hollywood merry go around that film after film became in the late 1940s. I highly recommend it to movie fans, and to music fans, the soundtrack, and nightclub scenes are great.
  • jjnxn-17 May 2012
    This atmospheric drama is Warners film making at near its best. Part family drama, part nightclub story with many touches of noir thrown in this is a fine example of what could be termed a factory film from Hollywood's golden age. That is meant to be a compliment, by having all the necessary components on salary...actors, directors and technicians the studios were able to turn out fine entertainments like this consistently.

    As far as this particular picture goes it contains what might be Ida Lupino's best performance she's saucy, funny but still able to do the heavy lifting dramatics that the role requires at times. Plus she looks sensational, her clothes are amazing she wears them with great style and dig the forties slang they sling around.

    Also quite good is Robert Alda as a sleazy nightclub owner and Dolores Moran as an incredibly beautiful but very foolish tramp across the hall. The film's only real weak spot is Bruce Bennett a handsome but bland leading man who is miscast as a man of mystery that Ida finds irresistible, that's the problem he is very easily resistible. If the part had been cast with an actor with a more charismatic presence like Kirk Douglas or Robert Mitchum it would have made the picture even stronger.

    This was the inspiration for Scorsese's New York, New York and while the story differs it's easy to see his influences with the atmosphere here. A fine film overall anchored by great work from one of the best and most undervalued of actresses Ida Lupino.
  • My favorite of the movie was the "bitch-slappin'" scene where she is on the staircase knocking some sense into neighbor Johnny's head. What a hoot and what a total surprise! And right in front of her wanna-be gangster boyfriend, Nicky! I cheered and clapped myself silly. Fine film,lots of plot twists and turns. San, the piano player, was a dour disappointment. Too stiff and unemotional for me. Looked a lot like Charleston Heston, too. Ida Lupino's gowns were simply divine and she looked simply fine in them. Great costuming for the whole cast. The neighbor's wife, Gloria, was hilarious with her anti-Mom comments that were decidedly politically incorrect. All in all, great fun.
  • rhoda-918 July 2018
    Ida Lupino is always good or really good--here she is overpowering, but without unbalancing a movie with a very strong script and a cast of actors who may not be all that famous (Robert Alda, beautiful but sinister; Bruce Bennett, the sad shadow of Gary Cooper) but who certainly pull their weight. Ida begins the movie by smoking and drinking while she sings the title song in a killer deadpan, and goes on to confront, unarmed, a gunman and slap him silly. But, unusually, these theatrics are balanced by romantic and psychological dialogue of a maturity that is rare indeed in the movies, certainly at this early date. Occasionally harsh realism (for instance, in the terrifying behavior of a mentally disturbed veteran) more than earns the qualified optimism shown here.

    Two other things to be impressed by: Bruce Bennett, as the jazz pianist, does all his own playing (bet Gary Cooper couldn't do that!), and Ida, in skin-tight evening gowns, looks astonishing. What a figure!
  • I saw this movie and feel it is truly one of the all American classics along with Body & Soul and The Helen Morgan Story. Ida Lupino was magnificent in the role as well as Robert Alda. Bruce Bennett was well cast as the piano man and if nothing else, The Man I Love by Ira and George Gershwin is the most beautiful song ever written. The music is outstanding and the simple lyric by Ira Gershwin compliments this most haunting refrain.

    I had the opportunity to become friends with George Gershwin's sister, Frances who performed at Carnegie Hall singing her brother's memorable song Embraceable You. I sent her a tape of my version of The Man I Love and after her death, her maid LaLa said she played it every night for one year. This was the highest compliment for me. I have always been an avid fan of the Gershwin Brothers and as a professional cabaret singer, I have included many of their beautiful songs in my shows. God Bless All of Them. They have gifted the world with the most beautiful music.
  • bkoganbing15 February 2009
    Ida Lupino could have and should have ranked up there with the best of film actresses, she could have been up with Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck and Katharine Hepburn. Picture for picture she never got the quality roles in quantity that the other three got. But outside of Bette Davis, Ida Lupino pushed more mediocre material before the movie going public and made them accept it through the strength of her talent.

    The Man I Love is a great example of such. Other than her it features a good cast of competent second string performers. Even Robert Alda cast as the mobbed up club owner got his real stardom on Broadway in four years with Guys And Dolls. He figures prominently in the lives of Ida and her sisters.

    Ida plays Peta Brown, a nightclub singer going home to Los Angeles where her two sisters and brother live and all in close proximity, like in the same building. In one way or another their lives connect with Alda. Andrea King works for Alda and spends a lot of time fending off passes. She has to work because her husband, John Ridgely, is in the VA Hospital recovering from shell shock from World War II. Martha Vickers has a hankering for neighbor Don McGuire who is the father of twin babies. McGuire's married to wild child Dolores Moran who Alda hires for his chorus also because he's got designs. Vickers is also married to Warren Douglas. Finally Jimmy Dodd the little brother is working for Alda in some unnamed capacity. Alda has him doing a bit of dirty business that brings everything to a head in the climax.

    Through all of this Ida finds time for a little romance with former piano prodigy Bruce Bennett whose a bit of drunken lout and carrying a statue of liberty size torch for his ex-wife who was a prominent socialite, a would be Paris Hilton. Why Ida's bothering with him is totally beyond me.

    But Ida's arrival seems to sort out all the problems except for one individual who winds up dead. And I'll give you one hint, if you're thinking the dead one is Robert Alda, it's not.

    On the strength of her considerable abilities, Ida Lupino makes The Man I Love rise to the level of mediocrity. It would get a far lower rating from me if she wasn't in the film.
  • The Man I Love is directed by Raoul Walsh and adapted to screenplay by Jo Pagano and Catherine Turney from Maritta M. Wolff's novel. It stars Ida Lupino, Robert Alda, Andrea King, Martha Vickers, Bruce Bennett, Alan Hale and Dolores Moran. Cinematography is by Sidney Hickox.

    Loved by some, not so by others, Walsh's film is pretty much a soap opera meller with some faint noir shadings. The plot, that has more holes than a bullet riddled bucket, sees Lupino's torch singer return home for the holidays and complications arise in the love and lust department - for her, her family, and the ruthless nightclub owner played by Alda.

    There's a mature look at womanhood and masculinity in the post war years, with a poignancy factor boosted by it being set around the Christmas holidays. As usual Lupino is as watchable as ever - in fact into the bargain she's very sultry here as well - and there's some nifty noirish dialogue.

    However, as the story is intent on reflecting upon damaged love across the board, there's a distinct lack of fatalism or bitter cynicism to be found, thus explaining why many have be forced to put it in the soapy meller category. This is good film making, but for entertainment purpose it helps if you go into it not expecting a hidden film noir gem, but a pic of unhappy people wandering aimlessly in a melodramatic fog. 6/10
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Even though Ida doesn't do her own singing (Peg La Centra does that), the emotion and feeling she puts into the song "The Man I Love" is worth the price of admission. She also does a great version of "Why Was I Born?" later in the film. She plays Petey Brown, a beautiful jazz singer who is set to pay her family in California a long over due visit - she wants to forget about "him" - "he was a pill" she wisecracks.

    There is plenty going on at home to make her forget and she instantly becomes a "Miss Fixit" to her broken family. For a start there is her sister Sally (Andrea King) trying to keep everything together for her husband Roy (John Ridgely) who is in hospital recovering from the psychological effects of the War. Her younger sister Ginny (beautiful Martha Vickers) would rather sit at home in a housecoat and look after the twins of the troubled couple across the hall. Neighbour Johnny thinks everything is okay, but his wife, Gloria, spends a lot of time nightclubbing with "girlfriends" and needs furs and pretty clothes to match her lifestyle. Johnny is happy to work double shifts until he hurts his hand. Petey's brother, Joey, is trying to make easy money running messages for a local racketeer, Nicky Toresca (Robert Alda).

    With all the plot complications it is to Ida Lupino's magnificence as an actress that she is able to be the core and focus of the story - I also have never seen her look more beautiful. She gives a gritty and gutsy performance as the "been around" Petey. She soon comes across Nicky (who has been making Sally's life difficult with his forceful ways) - she gets a job as a singer at his club, but he has no luck with her either as she soon becomes entangled with disillusioned pianist San Thomas (Bruce Bennett). When man hungry Gloria (Dolores Moran) is accidentally killed, Joey, who was escorting her home, comes to his senses, as does Johnny, who comes to the club after Nicky's blood. The film ends when songbird Petey walks through the fog on her way to another town "maybe Chicago...New York".

    Three other beautiful actresses got a chance to shine as well. Andrea King was one of the most beautiful and enigmatic of the 1940s starlets. Big things were predicted for her but she unwittingly fell foul of Bette Davis and from then on it was the beginning of the end, plus a few bad career choices. Even though Dolores Moran didn't set the movie world on fire she was a popular pinup girl with the soldiers. Mostly in uncredited parts, "The Man I Love" may well have given her, her meatiest role to date. Martha Vickers was another eye catching starlet who had her most attention getting role as Lauren Bacall's fainting sister in "The Big Sleep" - she was a popular pinup as well.

    Highly Recommended.
  • What would this picture have been like had Robert Alda and Bruce Bennett switched parts? That would've placed Alda where he really "seemed to belong": at the keyboard, playing the music of George Gershwin.

    And Bennett was such a dependable actor that he could've easily brought off the role of club owner Nicky Toresca without a hitch.

    Alda made such an indelible impression two years earlier in "Rhapsody in Blue," that when one thinks of George G., Robert A. comes to mind.

    Thus, is seemed rather strange to see Alda as non-musician and Bennett as talented but tortured piano player San Thomas.

    Nor did it help having the Gershwin title song played frequently on the sound track. I kept wishing Alda would somehow again emerge as the famed composer-pianist.

    Talk about someone being too well cast in a part; like Hurt Hatfield as Dorian Gray, everything after these "signature roles" becomes unconvincing.

    Personally, I like Robert Alda very much, and regret that he didn't get better films. As for this Walsh opus, everyone seems to agree Lupino emerges the victor amongst some very messy relationships and ensuing tacky actions.
  • Every cliche in the book plus an excessive number of stories might make this a laughable movie by more realistic standards of today -- there's even a rip off of the "Here's looking at you kid" line from Cassablanca. Still, the cast is good in this fast paced film, as Ida Lupino provides the solid center of the movie. Everyone talks tough, smokes too much, drinks too much and likes the blues. What could be more sophisticated than that?
  • Ida Lupino is classy and compelling as a lounge singer who returns home to California and gets a gig at a gangster's club. Man problems ensue, in part because all the men in this film are quite damaged, even the ones not returning from WWII. Often it seems the point of this film is to let Ida sing a few jazz numbers, such as the title song, then throw together a plot around her. Melodrama, noir-toned night shots, jumping jazz tunes, and Ida steering the world in the right direction, through an undercurrent of melancholy.
  • The plot of "The Man I Love" to me is not as important as the snappy dialog and atmosphere...the reasons to see this film. The story just meanders....and I can live with that.

    Petey (Ida Lupino) comes to town to see her sisters and brother. During this time, Petey gets a job with a slick but somewhat notorious nightclub owner (Robert Alda) and he's nuts for her. But instead of responding to his many advances, she falls like a ton of bricks over a down and out pianist (Bruce Bennett/Herman Brix). Other stuff happens.

    The reason to see the film is to watch and listen to Ida Lupino. She captures the camera with her radiance...and her self-assured and VERY snappy dialog. She's like a combination of a feminist with a touch of NICE femme fatale! Well worth seeing despite the story itself only being mildly interesting.
  • nomoons1121 June 2012
    Warning: Spoilers
    I've always liked Ida Lupino. She's always a stalwart in any role she does. That being said, this isn't one of the high marks in her career.

    This has all the earmarks of a Noir but it really is more on the Soap Opera side than Noir.

    Plot outline is older sister singer from NY decides to go to California to see her sisters and brother. They have gotten involved, in one way or another, with a local small time night club hood. Going any further with this will ruin the myriad of plot lines going through this mild "Soap Opera Noir". This is definitely not on the "A" side of films. Even though Raoul Walsh directed this it will never be on anyone's greatest noir's list.

    This one is not really anything special. Don't go out of your way to see this one. It's not on any "must see" list.
  • I've watched a number of Raoul Walsh features and they generally live up to his reputation for directing very masculine, action-packed films. This movie is probably a rarity in his career focusing as it does on relationships and more than that revolving the plot around a strong and sympathetic female leading character.

    It also takes its thematic tone from the great Gershwin brothers song which as well as giving the movie its title, reappears frequently in the course of its running time, in so doing informing the viewer that the subject of unrequited love will play a major part in what transpires. Ida Lupino is the confident young cabaret singer who comes back to town to visit her siblings and their partners over the Christmas and New Year period. As well as trying to sort out their lives, she also has to deal with the sleazy attentions of a sharp-dressed, wealthy night-club owner, played by Robert Alda, at whose place she sings for her supper.

    Then she bumps into her dream man, Bruce Bennett's moody but gifted pianist and it would seem that they could make sweet music together, if only he could get over his recently divorced ex-wife. Thus Lupino is both the pursued and pursuer. There are also sub-plots involving her sister trying to rebuild her marriage to her battle-scarred husband, a hard-working family friend next door whose wife is cheating on him and Lupino's feckless kid brother, keen to please his boss Alda but who finds his loyalties conflicted when he's ordered to clear up the boss's mess after he gets tangled with said floozy wife. It's not giving too much away I think to say that most of these situations don't play out well for the participants.

    I have to say right here that my opinion of Lupino has fallen markedly since I learned that she turned informer in the Blacklist Era, but can't deny she holds the movie together with a bravura performance. I also liked Bennett as her world-weary quarry and actually would have liked him to have had more screen time. Sure the ending is a little like "Casablanca" in reverse, indeed I'm sure I've heard some of the dialogue here before in the Bogart / Bergman classic but as they say, if you're going to steal, you might as well steal from the best.

    All in all this, is a thoughtful and effective examination of a group of disparate people struggling with their lives in the immediate post-war era. As Lupino's determined march towards the camera in the closing shot makes clear, all you can do sometimes is play the hand you're dealt and make the best of it. This may may not exactly be a grand slam or royal flush of a movie, but the pairs of hearts which are played out here make this movie something of a diamond in the rough.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Good movie i love new York coming soon on Warner Archive Blu-ray release December
  • SnoopyStyle23 June 2020
    Petey Brown (Ida Lupino) is a singer in a New York City nightclub. She's homesick and returns to visit her siblings in California. Her sister Sally (Andrea King) is a waitress at a club owned by sleazy hood Nicky Toresca (Robert Alda). The extended family and their neighbor have various issues. Petey falls for former jazz pianist great San Thomas (Bruce Bennett).

    There are a few too many characters and the melodrama gets a bit muddled. In the end, it's Lupino's ballsy ditch-slapping that saves it. With fewer characters, the remaining ones can have more shine. Lupino could do more and they could concentrate on the sisters' relationship. A simpler narrative could make this a more compelling character study about sisters.
  • This a soap opera tour de force, which basically means it's a very good film about women.

    One of the women (Lupino) is a free spirit, following her heart and soul to live the life she wants, even if it's not the life that is best for her. Her sister (King) is straight down the line, married and devoted to a man damaged by war, but still equally devoted to keeping her dysfunctional family intact. Their younger sister (Vickers) is masochistically devoted to a married man, a self-destructive pursuit that is annoyingly vindicated by film's end. A neighbor (Moran) seethes with non-fulfilment, a party girl straight-jacketed by marriage and responsibility.

    The lives of these women are laid bare over the course of a Christmas- New Year period of celebration, ending in a curious mixture of tragedy and transcendence. Of course, being a 1940s film under the Production Code, the 'good' women get their just rewards, but the 'bad' women are punished with either death or sexual rejection.

    Lupino's central character pushes the boundaries of 1940s film heroines. A cynical dame who fights tooth and claw, literally bashing up a man to prevent him from doing more self-destructive violence to himself and others. The man's intended victim (Alda) is left open- mouthed and seemingly repentant. Her actions are also protecting her brother (Douglas), an overall creep but, as with all the roles in the film, an ultimately sympathetic character.

    Yet, she loses out in the love stakes. There is still a hope left in the end that the man she loves (Bennett) will come back to her. Maybe, maybe not. Whatever, she followed her heart and protected her family.
  • This movie made me uncomfortable at times, guessing at what effect was intended that seems to be misfiring laughably time and time again. Embarrassed for the artists basically. It gets into some very high maudlin stuff what with those cloying, belabored but actually interesting shots of the twin babies on xmas eve yet. Some of the stuff that comes out of peoples' mouths, oy! For example, Mom counsels son, who has just gotten into a fight cause another kid taunted him saying his father was "in the loony bin". She whips out a framed photo of Dad in uniform and says to the kid "Does this look like someone who's been in the loony bin!?" My favorite moment in terms of wow what were they thinking was "Petey"s arrival at sis' house when hunky neighbor Johnny shows up. "Petey" cruises him like the most brazen hussy on well, I don't know what street the male female and she male hookers hang out on in Long Beach, but "Petey" seemed as though she'd be right at home there, only she's at her sister's house and is sort of pumping and gyrating in excitement right in front of the guy's wife too! Not that THAT lipsticked platinum blonde could care! And that "Petey"? Why, she can't even give it a rest. Despite Johnny's blushing, she picks up on this vibe again later in the scene with an aside , "What kind of VITAMINS do you take?" Priceless! Ido Lupino was very good and all but very in sych with the weird unsettling aspects of this production. Details, including details of the big picture here, make this film worthwhile though. The singular ending, for one thing. It feels very confusing but very truthful in a strange way. maybe.

    The piano playing is nice actually but when "Petey" talks about San's rough road in life it makes him out to be like Charlie Parker or something when he's really more of a Lee Liberace type, which I don't mean as any insult but then again maybe his flowery way of playing was ahead of its time in the 40s and the 50s was when that "General Hospital" sound came to the fore, I mean the music is way better than the piano on General Hospital though. Anyway, I really did like the corny piano playing it's very good. Some of those lyrics by Ira Gershwin make you wish they were songs without words sometimes though. It does add to the campiness of this adventure though.

    Oh one other thing. There is a dropped storyline somewhere in this picture. The young girl aptly named "Virginia" who never wants to go out, the one Nicky if he had any taste would be after first but he doesn't even notice her, remember? Well, she goes out with this guy at one point on a double date sort to go see "Petey" sing and . . . then she sort of recedes, nothing happens to her, she's a loose end, if not a loose woman. Maybe it was originally that she and "Petey" find happiness together, Sappho style? It would work!
  • The title role in 'The Man I Love' is played by handsome, upright but unavailable Bruce Bennett; yet another indignity inflicted upon Ida Lupino by the male sex in this bleak melodrama with enough plot for half a dozen other movies in which she nevertheless gets to wear a succession of fabulous outfits and hairstyles.

    Raoul Walsh takes a break from rugged outdoor action to guide the convolutions of this overpowering femme drama towards one of those grand, dramatically satisfying endings that in actuality resolve nothing.
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