29 September 2003 | m0rphy
As an admirer of Jennifer Jones (JJ) who has collected all her films and read all her biographies etc, I wanted to see an example of one of my heroine's idols of the stage and screen - Sylvia Sydney who plays "Cecily Harrington".I looked up this film on the Imdb and noticed another actress who had worked with JJ - Ann Richards who played Dilly Carson in "Love Letters" (1945).They appear together in this film, "Love from a Stranger" from 1947 opposite John Hodiak.Incidentally, I was very impressed with the speed of dispatch of this video to London from Amazon.com in the U.S.A. considering they acted as agents for my American vendor.Fortunatly my vcr is adapted to play both NTSC & PAL video formats so I can also obtain and enjoy films from the States which never seem available here in the U.K.
Considering Sylvia was born in 1910 in the Bronx, NYK from foreign parents i.e. not native born Americans (which I only discovered after watching this film), I marvelled at her English accent and only suspected she could be American when she uttered a short "a" instead of the longer English vowel towards the end of the film.I could well see how Sylvia could have been an influence on JJ in her portrayals of English ladies, e.g. in "Cluny Brown" from (1946).Once again Ann Richards plays the best friend role but here she is only required to do a straight reading of her undemanding part.This is one of those films where you find yourself screaming at the screen "Don't do it"!!!! when she is obviously ditching her regular fiance (no attempt at an English accent here) and goes for the "Bluebeard" she has just met (John Hodiak) whose provenance is unknown and who is obviously intent to everyone except Cecily Harrington, on relieving her of her recent Calcutta Sweep winnings of £50,000 (a National Lottery type fortune in 1901).Will he just be content with that?
I could not help thinking that with a story by Agatha Christie, what Alfred Hitchcock could have done as director if he had been given this film, (probably substituted brunette Sylvia with his usual cool blond for starters) as the direction was very average and I felt there were many points where more suspense could have been engendered into the plot than was the case in the direction by Richard Whorf.The denoument at the end had all the hallmarks of an amateur dramatic performance when the goodies arrive just in time to save the heroine.
So I agree 5.1/10 is a fair rating but it was my first opportunity to study Sylvia Sydney's work and was gratified she had such a long life, only dieing in 1999, so she was 89, and apparantly was working professionally towards the end - read her biography.Finally I try to spot jobbing actors, in this case Ernest Cossart who plays "Billings".He played the hilarious reverse snobby butler in "Cluny Brown" and a bishop in "Love Letters".