20 December 2005 | jotix100
How deep was my valley
Ida Lupino was one of the best screen actresses of her generation. If one should doubt it, take one look at "Deep Valley", which was filmed when she was about 32 years old. Ms. Lupino transforms herself into a much younger woman, who makes the viewer believe she is a girl in her late teens, or early twenties.
Jean Negulesco had a lot to do with the good work he extracted from his players. The film, which is rarely seen these days, presents us with a dysfunctional family living in an isolated farm in California. Libby, the young daughter of the family is seen tending to her sick mother who is bedridden; her father doesn't seem to talk to the mother, leaving Libby in a difficult position. To make matters worse, Libby suffers from stuttering and from shyness, as she feels trapped into duty and not having the same things other girls, her age, can do.
"Deep Valley" is a film that presents a plausible romance between Libby and Barry, a convict working on the road construction nearby. Also, Jeff Barker, one of the men from the highway project falls for the young woman's beauty. Things become entangled as Libby finds the escaped man, Barry, and they fall in love. The lovers are doomed from the start, as one realizes Libby and Barry have no chance in being together. What Libby feels for Barry makes her speech problem go away as she regains a confidence she never had.
The film is worth a look because of Ida Lupino. As Libby, she makes this girl come alive without ever striking a wrong note. Dane Clark is also quite good as Barry, the convict. Wayne Morris plays Jeff Barker, the man that loves Libby, but he realizes she doesn't care for him. Fay Bainter and Henry Hill play the older Sauls.
The film is helped by the musical score of Max Steiner and the black and white cinematography created by Ted McCord.