19 September 2015 | MartinHafer
Kind of racy for the 1940s...a story about a nice guy who makes some very bad choices!
This film begins in England...just a few months before World War II begins in Europe. Mark (Walter Pigeon) and Mabel Sabre (Angela Lansbury) have been married three years--and it turns out he married her on the rebound. His old fiancée, Nona (Deborah Kerr) has just returned to her home town....the first time since she broke Mark's heart. Mark and Nona are foolish, as the start spending time together alone 'as old friends'. Not surprisingly, however, it stirs up feelings within them--dangerous feelings for both their marriages. Soon, however, Mark pushes Nona away and remains true to his wife.
Over time, it becomes painfully obvious that Mark is a very nice guy. While his wife is easy to dislike since she's so unpleasant, he wants to fulfill his obligations to her and the marriage. He also is very kind to a young neighbor, Effie (Janet Leigh)--as she lives with a puritanical and tyrannical father. When Effie becomes pregnant and is thrown out of her home, Mark invites her to live with them. This throws Mabel into a nastier than usual mood. She verbally abuses her servants and so they quit, then she lets Mark know that Mark must do nothing to help Effie. Mark chooses, instead, to tell his wife to get out...she's gone too far.
After young Effie moves in, Mark's boss uses this as an excuse to break his contract by firing him. They claim he's violated a morals clause. Can things get worse in this very soapy film....oh, yeah! The moralistic town begins to boil like a cauldron...why and what happens is something you'll need to see for yourself. Be aware, however, that it is a bit racy for a 1940s film.
While you do feel sorry for Mark because he's such a decent guy, as you watch you might also feel that he's incredibly foolish and makes many dumb choices. Clearly he's backed himself into a corner and now it looks like everyone is ready to tear him to pieces.
Despite Mark being a bit dumb (and by the end he seems like a TOTAL idio), the film is pretty good. As I mentioned above, it is very soapy--like a traditional soap opera with LOTS of salacious elements. But it works because the acting is so good--otherwise the film might have come off as too over the top and perhaps even silly. Worth seeing but blunted a bit because Mark was just too nice--almost a putz in the film. Otherwise I might have scored it a bit higher.