User Reviews (23)

Add a Review

  • First of all, the Edward of the title is never actually seen, even though the story covers several decades of his life. Rather, the story concentrates on the destructive influences of his over-benevolent father (Spencer Tracy) whose selfishness and ambition destroy all the relationships about him and ruin his son's character. Spencer Tracy is somewhat miscast, a little too likable and amiable in a role that calls for acidity and tartness. One wonders just how much better Robert Morley would have been in the role he created on the stage. Alas, movie box office appeal ruled. Ian Hunter is good as the Harley Street doctor, Tracy's friend throughout, who carries more than a burning torch for Tracy's long-suffering wife. The one knockout performance, which really carries a punch, shattering in its portrayal, is delivered by Deborah Kerr - unquestionably one of the best she ever gave. Going from a loving young wife to a middle-aged, spurned, embittered alcoholic, her performance is heart-wrenching. One watches her range with surprise for the sheer professionalism at what must have been a relatively young age. Quite different from any of the other roles she played in a long career. An absorbing drama, unusual in that the lead character is not particularly likable or sympathetic. Worth watching for the snappy dialog and Kerr's performance.
  • Some have commented that they felt that Spencer Tracy was miscast in this film, playing a character very different to the altruists that he typically plays, and being the only American among the principle cast. However, I believe that this perhaps is Tracy's strongest performance, partly because it is so different to his usual roles. Tracy plays a determined and unrelenting man with real strength, although as his wife, Deborah Kerr also has a number of strong scenes, particularly in the final half hour. The two lead performances are however the bulk of what makes this a good film. It is reasonably engaging, with gimmicks of the title character never on screen, and Tracy speaking to the viewer, to keep it interesting, but the plot is not too great in itself, and the story tires before the end. It is also a bit too stagy, which limits how involving it is to an extent. Nevertheless, despite any possible shortcomings, the powerhouse of acting, not only from Tracy and Kerr, but some of the supporting cast too, make this a film worth checking out.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This unusual offering from M-G-M recalls the days of the short-lived M-G-M British Studios, which produced "A Yank at Oxford", "The Citadel", and the original "Goodbye, Mr. Chips", all in the 1930's. "Edward, My Son", based on a successful British play, was filmed entirely in England, using an entirely British cast,except for Spencer Tracy, and an almost entirely British production staff (the sole exceptions are the producer, the director, and the composer of the music). The familiar M-G-M production gloss is much more subdued here, perhaps in an effort to lend atmosphere.

    Spencer Tracy gives an outstanding performance in what is very likely the most unsympathetic role of his career, save for perhaps a few very early gangster roles which I have not seen. Here he is Arnold Boult, a ruthless, driven man who seemingly just wants to make sure that his only child Edward always has the best in life. At first, Boult wins our sympathy by secretly trying to give his son medical care he desperately needs, but we quickly learn what he is really like as he resorts to every dirty trick in the book, short of actual murder, to insure his son's happiness, and showing an amazing insensitivity and callousness to those around him in the process. As the film proceeds, his behavior shocks us more and more, until he finally alienates and disgusts us completely.

    Matching Tracy's performance every step of the way, though she has far less time on screen, is Deborah Kerr in the role of Boult's victimized and emotionally scarred wife. Kerr was nominated for an Oscar for this performance, and her portrayal of a woman who goes from adoring wife to a totally embittered woman with a severe problem, is wrenching. Mervyn Johns, whom many will immediately recognize as Bob Cratchit to Alastair Sim's Scrooge in the 1951 film, also gives a touching, heartbreaking performance as Tracy's exploited and totally broken business partner.

    The supporting cast here has quite a different flavor from those in the usual M-G-M film. Although Ian Hunter plays his usual sympathetic role, the other actors are all culled from the British theater, and give their roles an unusual depth missing from the typical Metro supporting cast. Tracy, though, occasionally seems miscast--one wonders what an actor with more bite, such as Orson Welles, might have brought to the role.

    In spite of this, the film is quite good, and Tracy's final monologue (he talks straight to the audience at times, a technique taken from the play) packs quite a punch.
  • When it was originally presented on the London stage, Robert Morley starred and wrote Edward My Son and I believe he had Lord Beaverbrook in mind. If that is the case Edward My Son was as daring in its way as Sweet Smell of Success was in America taking dead aim at Walter Winchell.

    Lord Beaverbrook for those on this side of the Atlantic was a Canadian industrialist Max Aitken who settled in the UK and purchased a string of tabloid like newspapers. He was a very powerful force in the post World War I United Kingdom and served in the War Cabinet of Winston Churchill. He was every bit as cunning and as ruthless as we Sir Arnold Boult made out to be.

    And to accommodate Spencer Tracy's North American speech, Sir Arnold is made Canadian. That was making it more daring. Beaverbrook was not a man to cross.

    We never see Edward at any time in the film, the picture we form of him is through the eyes of the other characters. A kid spoiled rotten by his ever indulgent father. Boult, ruthless in business and finance, is just as ruthless at getting whatever for his son, giving him everything but a decent set of values to live by.

    Tracy's portrayal rings true for me because I actually knew someone like Arnold Boult in my life. He was a political person who spoiled his son absolutely rotten, used up favor after favor for him. When the son developed a drug problem he never tried to deal with it, but actually schemed to give him jobs he couldn't handle. I look at Tracy as Sir Arnold Boult and see this man staring right back at me.

    Deborah Kerr is Tracy's wife and Edward's mother and Leueen McGrath is his secretary and mistress. They are the major female roles in Edward My Son and both are captured well. Others to look for in the cast are Felix Aylmer as the prep schoolmaster, Mervyn Johns as Tracy's tragic former business partner, and Ian Hunter as Tracy's friend and eventual second husband to Kerr.

    Look at Tracy's methods in dealing with his personal and professional life and it's small wonder Edward turned out to be the spoiled brat he was.
  • Very sophisticated writing and restrained acting performances make for a compelling drama of a ruined father's dreams. Spencer Tracy plays the not very lovable father who's desire to protect and give "the best" to his son distorts his behavior with all those around him, including Deborah Kerr as his wife, his business partner, and ultimately his son himself, whose character is never allowed to develop. A nice conceit is that we never see the son, Edward, just his birthday cakes.
  • Spencer Tracy stars as a ruthless man who spoils his son, Edward, and sacrifices everything else only to have the boy die during WW II.

    Bitter story is so sad it's hard to watch BUT for the brilliant performances of Tracy and Deborhah Kerr (Oscar nominee) as the wife. Also great writing and direction from George Cukor.

    Neat plot device is that we never see Edward, just a parade of birthday cakes and bits and pieces of his life as he grows up and how his parents react to his disturbing behavior. Story is clever and heartbreaking.

    Good supporting cast includes Felix Aylmer as the headmaster, Mervyn Johns as Simpkins, Ian Hunter as the physician, Leueen McGrath (excellent) as Miss Perrin, Tilsa Page as Foxley, James Donald as Bronton, and Colin Gordon as Ellerby the teacher.

    The film has overtones from Citizen Kane but is nothing like that great film except in its theme of corrupting power..... Worth a look
  • For years I resisted this movie because of the sobbing title. I expected a maudlin, embarrassing tale.

    I should have known better. And while I've never been a particular fan of Spencer Tracy (his emotional range never interested me), this time he worked okay, in that he wasn't a god-damned hero, and there wasn't a bevy of minor actors sucking up to him. I liked him being a bad guy; I liked his covert, vaguely whimsical smile. For the first time, I found him believable, more than stock characterization.

    Also, the movie was so well crafted that Tracy's ambitions were always credible. And when you understand the motivation, usually, you are sympathetic.

    It was Deborah Kerr who stole my interest. Her character, toward the end of the film, is so broken, that she approached Greek classicism. She was ugly, tear-stained, stooped - and her lamentation carried throughout that great barn of a mansion of a home. She couldn't have been more than 35 (ca.), but she had become 80, in spirit. One knew, when she went upstairs that final time, that she would not be seen again, and would only be spoken of in past tense.

    Although Kerr is a favorite, there's only one other film of hers that knocked me out: for her beauty, her rawness and her intact feminity - and that of course is "The Sundowners". These two films place her at the pinnacle of Britain's actors.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I'm really not sure why Leonard Maltin was so hard on this movie. The acting and writing are great and the story has a lot to say about effective parenting that could help the viewers not to make the same mistake as the lead character.

    The movie is very odd in that although Edward is important to the picture, you never actually see the boy in the movie. The film is a series of flashbacks that show Edward's parents. Initially, they seem like decent folks, but over time, success and making something for his son becomes so important to the dad (Tracy) that he does the most ungodly things along the way. The descent into the evil abyss becomes worse and worse--all the while, the marriage becomes more and more shallow and indecent. The only thing holding this relationship together is their love for Edward. However, Tracy's ruthlessness begins to bear fruit in Edward. Although you are not shown it, you hear about his exploits and learn that he is becoming a monster--just like good old dad. When this lack of discipline ultimately destroys Edward, Tracy (true to the character) cannot allow himself to even consider accepting ANY blame for Edward's fall--it MUST be SOMEONE else's mistakes! This is SO realistic, as parents who create monsters are usually not the introspective types who question themselves about their possible role in the child's character.

    As a school teacher, I guess I really appreciate this because I have dealt with a few parents who have raised little monsters and who tend to blame EVERYONE (the school, society, other kids, etc.) for the shortcomings of their "angels".

    UPDATE: If you enjoyed this film, I would also like to recommend "A Modern Hero". It has a lot of similarities to "Edward My Son" and would make a great double feature!
  • My parents were movie buffs and I grew up watching films. I am a devoted Deborah Kerr fan since childhood, and I thought I had seen all her important films; but I had missed "Edward, My Son", which I watched recently on TV. An admirer of Miss Kerr's poise, beauty, and professionalism, of her subtly conveyed emotional intensity and compassionate lucidity (undoubtedly buttressed by her choice of roles, especially in the fifties and sixties), I was blown away by the sheer brilliance of her performance in this film. I give part of the credit for her success to George Cukor's directorial efforts; Mr. Cukor was indeed a "women's director", largely responsible for Katharine Hepburn's early success, and for guiding (among others) Vivien Leigh, Judy Holliday, and Miss Kerr through Oscar-winning or nominated screen performances.

    The film's plot, in my opinion, is clever. Edward is a strong a presence as Sebastian in "Suddenly Last Summer", although his face is never shown. The moral disintegration of a marriage and of a loving wife is effectively narrated, particularly thanks to Deborah Kerr's stunning performance. It is sad to think this is only the first of many Oscars stolen from her throughout her movie career.

    It has always appeared as a mystery to me why Hollywood moguls believed Spencer Tracy was a versatile actor. Although he is always believable as a nice, warm "everyman" in most of his films, I think his range was (to say the least) limited. One can't help but wonder what a more expressive actor of his generation, such as Fredric March, would have done with the character of Sir Arnold Boult. Among English actors, my personal choices would have been Michael Redgrave or Ralph Richardson; but it was, after all, an MGM movie. At least Tracy is not as miscast as, for example, Gregory Peck (another actor of limited range)playing an English barrister in "The Paradine Case".

    The supporting cast was excellent,in my opinion; especially the actress who played Sir Arnold's secretary and mistress, and the dependable Felix Aylmer.

    "Edward, My Son" does not betray its theatrical origins and is an unusually somber film, considering MGM's usual emphasis on visual charm and gloss.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    In a number of respects, this is a remarkable film. There's a mostly remarkable performance by Deborah Kerr -- mostly since she was brilliant up until playing and old drunk, and I do think she didn't do that particularly well. There's the clever plot technique -- you never actually see Edward, the son...but that emphasizes the whole point of the film -- it's not about Edward, the son, it's about the monster that his father becomes and how that father destroys so many people in order to spoil his son. And that brings to mention the superb portrayal by Spencer of my two favorite actors. Over the years we certainly saw Tracy play many types of roles -- he could play drama or comedy with equal ease. But it was rare to see him as the "bad guy", and in this film he is rather despicable. Yet, somehow...perhaps just because he is Spencer Tracy...the viewer doesn't hate him too much, because mixed in with our contempt is pity. But of course, the bigger they are (and in this film Tracy becomes a millionaire Lord), the harder they fall, and his lifelong plans for his son come to naught by...well, if you haven't seen the film, you should find out for yourself. Ian Hunter, the doctor/friend, is played to perfection. There's some wonderful acting in this film, particularly by Tracy, and some of the dialog is simply scintillating. But remember that this film is straight drama, not a soap opera. It is not as slick as some Hollywood fare, probably because it was a British film. If you like a serious drama, you'll find this film riveting.
  • "Edward, My Son" is a 1949 film based on the play that starred Robert Morley. Here the stars are Spencer Tracy, Deborah Kerr, and Ian Hunter. The title role, Edward, is never seen. The movie is really about his father, Arnold Boult, who spoils the boy and ruins everything and everybody he touches.

    There was a mention that Spencer Tracy was miscast, that the character shouldn't be so amiable but more acid. I think in a way, Tracy's amiability was more sinister - he threatened people and seemed so cheerful about it. It's quite effective.

    The revelation, the stunning, knockout performance comes from Deborah Kerr as Arnold's unhappy wife Evelyn. Young, pretty, and cheerful in the beginning, her character development, in looks and personality, is remarkable - right down to her osteoporotic walk with the slightly stooped shoulders. How often do we see really wonderful actors play older people with just a little gray in their hair, with nothing else changed? The only other "aging" performance I have seen to equal this was Emma Thompson at the end of "Remains of the Day."

    I always knew Deborah Kerr was a fine actress, but obviously, she mostly did roles that were beneath her capability.

    Ian Hunter is very good as the doctor s a man who see through Arnold's behavior, and who has always been in love with Evelyn.

    Don't miss Kerr's performance in this film.
  • Outstanding 1949 film with Spencer Tracy giving one of the best of his many performances ever. This time, Tracy is conniving as a father who supposedly will break all the rules for his son, but it must be remembered that at the same time Tracy benefits as he spoils his son to ultimate tragedy, and literally loses his wife, admirably played by Deborah Kerr.

    Amazing that despite 10 Oscar nominations, Tracy wasn't nominated here. Kerr received her first of 6 losing bids as she is perfect as the wife, who was so much better off as a struggling partner. Wealth, a title and success, certainly did not help her.

    It is very effective that you never see this spoiled, pampered son Edward throughout the picture. Yet, you are able to convey a full imagine of him just like you did with 1940's "Rebecca."

    The film poses many ethical, moral problems such as starting a fire to gut his business but at the same time pay for his son's much needed operation.

    The person who made up Kerr up deserved an Oscar for that job. Kerr goes from a young housewife to an elderly souse, looking like a tragic Norma Desmond, depicted by Carol Burnett.

    Tracy's preaching to the audience is well effective. You know that he shall come up as the devil. Ian Hunter is just fine in the supporting role as the doctor who loved Evelyn, (Kerr) but could not bring himself to lead her away from an emotionally abusive Tracy.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Directed by George Cukor, this Noel Langley-Robert Morley play received a screenplay treatment from Donald Ogden Stewart. Morley, who'd played the lead role in the British stage production, was replaced by Spencer Tracy (who plays a "bad guy" for a change, very credibly I might add) in this film adaptation of the drama. Deborah Kerr (who received the first of her six unrewarded Best Actress Oscar nominations for her performance), Ian Hunter (who'd also been in the play), Mervyn Johns, and Leueen MacGrath (among others) round out the cast.

    Told in flashback by Tracy's character Arnold Boult, a man who from the very first insists on nothing but the best for his only son Edward (the title character is never seen in the film), despite pleas from his wife Evelyn (Kerr) and "warnings" from their family doctor and friend Larry Woodhope (Hunter), the story begins in 1919 London and progresses until (the film's) present day, 1949. A typical, and not particularly engaging, tale of spoiling one's child to excess, creating a "monster" with no sense of responsibility or respect for what's required and expected of young men (e.g. with regards to appropriate behavior).

    In the various flashbacks (the years are marked by title cards and/or numbered birthday cakes), we see that Arnold will do anything to ensure that the world is his son Edward's oyster. At first, as a struggling & financially strapped businessman who's partnered with Harry Sempkin (Johns), a man just released from prison, he commits arson after increasing the insurance payoff on his furniture business in order to afford an operation (by a specialist in Switzerland) for his son, required to keep the six year old from having a permanent limp. Later, as a successful financier, Arnold bullies the headmaster (Felix Aylmer) at Edward's prestigious boarding school to keep 12 year old Edward from being expelled. Colin Gordon plays a frustrated professor. When Edward is sixteen, and about to travel abroad with his mother, we see Arnold arranging to provide an extra 50 pounds allowance for his son, outmaneuvering his wife Evelyn, who's finally questioning Edward's judgment in the presence of Dr. Woodhope, who's not only held a candle for her all these years but had long since given up on the (character of the) other two men in her life.

    Sempkin, who has just been released from prison where he'd been implicated in some business malfeasance that he (rightly) suspects was Arnold's (CYA) doing, arrives to ask for a job. Arnold finesses his way out of actually helping his former business partner, leaving Sempkin feeling hopeless to the point that he commits suicide by jumping off the roof of Boult's building. With help from his ambitious secretary Eileen Perrin (MacGrath), Arnold is able to deflect the policeman's (Clement McCallum) suspicions, denying that he'd even met with Sempkin. Now partners in crime, Arnold and Eileen begin an affair which lasts for a year before they're caught by a private detective (Ernest Jay) working for Evelyn. Arnold then catches up with Evelyn abroad, where she'd planned on leaving him before (the unseen) Edward conspires with his father to keep her there. In the scene which perhaps earned Kerr her nomination, Tracy as Arnold now bullies her Evelyn into remaining in the marriage for Edward's sake. Realizing that she really has no other choice, she stays but becomes increasingly infirm over the years, drinking for solace, until her eventual death in 1945.

    Before Evelyn's death though, Arnold is shown to use Woodhope in the matter of Betty Foxley (Tilsa Page), whom Edward had gotten pregnant despite the fact that he'd been engaged to Phyllis Mayden (Harriette Johns). However, before Woodhope leaves "the conference" with Betty, he gives her sage advice about how to deal with Arnold, whose new secretary (for the three years since Eileen killed herself with pills) is played by James Donald. In 1941, Woodhope calls on the Boults again, shortly after Edward had accidentally killed himself while hot- dogging in his World War II bomber, taking his crew to their untimely deaths with him. Evelyn is now visibly aged and a drunkard. After she dies, Arnold seeks out Woodhope again in hopes of finding his grandchild, by Betty, but of course is denied any assistance by the doctor, who knows that Boult's business corruption is catching up with him. In fact, the time between this meeting in 1946 and the film's opening & closing monologues (in 1949) by Arnold (e.g. Tracy talking directly to the camera) were ostensibly filled with 3 years of jail time for Boult, due to the arsonist's 1924 crime!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    MGM looked for a bankable star to handle the role of Arnold Boult? It could only be Spencer Tracy, their finest actor with a recognizable face and name, So Robert Morley did not play his self-created dream part, but Tracy inherited it. Fortunately Tracy was fully able to give the role it's best spin if it's creator was unavailable.

    Tracy being called a Canadian enables him cover his accent and to aim for social advancement that America can't really match. The social advancement is really for the sake of the one figure in the film who never appears: Edward Boult. He is like Sebastian in SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER or Harvey in HARVEY. We are aware of his personality, and even sense his presence, but we never view his face or hear his voice.

    Arnold Boult and his wife Evelyn (Deborah Kerr) have just moved to a middle class district. They have two good pieces of news. First Arnold has begun a partnership with one Harry Sempkin (Mervyn Johns) in a warehouse. Secondly Arnold and Evelyn are blessed with a baby Edward. But Edward is sickly, and their friend Dr. Larry Woodhope (Ian Hunter) warns that unless Edward gets some treatment it may prove fatal for him. Arnold is totally concerned about this, and decides that he needs the money quickly. The warehouse is stocked with goods, and they have an inflated insurance policy. The warehouse goes up in smoke. Eventually the insurance companies (who are not fully satisfied - more about that late) pay up, Boult uses the money to save Edward, but also to go up in the business world (dragging a bewildered Evelyn and a frightened Sempkins with him). Sempkins is frightened because he has already had a spell in prison on a minor fraud, and he was hoping to make a new, clean beginning with the warehouse.

    The story follows the expansion of Arnold's business deals to include newspaper chains, automobile companies, and the like. As has been pointed out, his Canadian background and newspaper interests make him seem a bit like Max Aiken, Lord Beaverbrook, but Aiken was never crooked. Along the way Sempkins gets framed for another swindle (and returns for a heavier prison term), and Edward is spoiled rotten despite Evelyn's trying to restrain Arnold.

    Dr. Woodhope (who loves Evelyn) has to stand by and watch all of this - for Arnold has a nasty disposition towards anyone who tries to stand in his way. His break with Evelyn comes when she attempts to get legal custody in a separation, and Arnold blackmails her into accepting the status quo or being divorced and kept from ever seeing her son again.

    He does similar numbers on others too. When Edward is doing his own thing at a leading public school run by Mr. Hanray (Felix Aylmer) the latter plans to expel the boy. Boult shows up and turns out to have been buying up debts owed by the school that could cause foreclosure. He offers Hanray a choice - close the school or graduate Edward. Hanray makes the choice that Boult seeks.

    Eventually Edward gets a young woman pregnant, but she is not the type that Boult wants for his son - nothing less than a member of the aristocracy for Edward. The girl leaves...and takes away a future that Boult did not think of.

    Edward is killed in the war in a plane disaster (he was fooling with the plane to impress a woman, it went out of control, and killed him and the crew). This finishes Evelyn, who has become an alcoholic. She dies within a few years.

    Boult's social rise has been complicated. Rumors about his methods make people treat him at arms length. Sempkins commits suicide at his office building, temporarily stopping Bou;t's knighthood. But only the death of Edward shatters him - he really loved the boy. The insurance companies are still curious about the warehouse fire, and apparently closing in.

    Then he learns the young woman had her baby son. The only person who knows their location is Dr. Woodhope, but when he and Boult face off the Doctor won't crack. And now Boult has no clout left - he is sentenced to five years in prison for the warehouse fire.

    He comes out at the end of the film addressing the audience. He did it all for Edward, and he is now determined to find Edward's son and do it all for him too! The film ends with Tracy looking around the screen seeking the familiar features of his missing grandson.

    Except for Edward Hyde Tracy never appeared in as negative a part in his major star films. Arnold Boult is a far cry from Father Flannagan or Manuel. There is nothing positive for Arnold. He loves Edward as a person to carry on his name - to breed a line of Arnold Boults. One wonders what would have happened if Edward ever had the temerity to say he wasn't interested.

    Deborah Kerr's Evelyn is a sad character. She does try to keep a state of balance but fails to because her husband is just too overpowering. Her final collapse is the death of the son she loved but could not save. Hunter's Doctor is proper in his official relationship with the Boults, and also victimized as he could probably have given Evelyn the right helpmate for her child. His refusal to assist Arnold in their last confrontation is emotionally satisfying. As for Mervyn Johns, he comes on with all the hope of the future running on this partnership - not realizing his partner is the Devil - and ends a walking ghost. His suicide is like an afterthought
  • dbdumonteil26 October 2008
    In Cukor's "Women" (1939) the heroines talked about men we never saw cause it was an all-female cast.In "Edward My Son" ,the character of the title ,"Edward" never appears either.It may be interesting but it's also a bit infuriating cause we know him only through the others' conversations .It takes all the talent of the cast to make the movie worthwhile :Spencer Tracy ,whose love for his spoiled child knows no bounds and leads him to become selfish,tyrannical and even crooked;Deborah Kerr,who for the first and last time in her career is compelled to overplay in her last scenes :the aristocratic Kerr as an alcoholic shrew,it has to be seen to be believed! The movie is a long flashback:Tracy appears in the first sequence and tells the audience he just lost his only child ;he owns almost everything a man can ,and perhaps the theater where you are watching this film;he will come back for the epilogue.

    Although not entirely satisfying,it's an interesting way of telling a story,which ventures off the beaten track.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Thanks to TCM I discovered this gem of a movie and watched it with a couple of late actors I adore, Spencer Tracy and Deborah Kerr. The first movie I saw Deborah Kerr in was with Carey Grant in "An Affair to Remember." I did not enjoy Kerr's performance because she and the movie seemed stuffy and dated. I watched Deborah Kerr in the late 1960s spoof of James Bond, "Casino Royale." This movie was made some 12 years or so after "An Affair to Remember." Although older, Kerr seduced me and I fell in love with her and began to appreciate her acting talents. In this particular movie with Spencer Tracy, I was completely floored by the range Kerr demonstrates. She is simply perfect and believable as the young wife who morphs into a broken down, despondent, alcoholic later in her life. Wow! I read that she was nominated by the Academy for her performance but why she did not win is beyond me. Deborah Kerr makes this a powerful movie.

    Then there is lovable Spencer Tracy. I love Tracy and once again I am not disappointed by him. Tracy does a good job of portraying a man deluded by himself. He listens to no one but only follows his warped conscience and in the end he loses everything but keeps trudging along in his misguided ways. The supporting cast from the disgraced business partner who commits suicide, to the the doctor who delivers their son and pines for but never ends up with Kerr and finally, to Tracy's secretary whom he has a long love affair but casts aside once the affair becomes public were all superb. I strongly recommend this movie.
  • Arnold Boult ( Spencer Tracy ) is a higher rank than just captain of industry as he dupes, browbeats and bribes his way to power in Twentieth century London. With limitless ambition and drive he is not concerned about being liked but having his way. Son Edward is another story however and he slavishly dotes over the boy spoiling him at every turn and using his considerable power, he holds the mortgage to the prep school Edward is about to be expelled from, to allow him to do as he pleases. With this kind of powerful enabling it is little surprise sonny grows into irresponsible adulthood.

    Directed sluggishly by George Cukor, Edward, My Son has a stage feel to it as it trundles slowly from scene to scene. We never see the title character but the little he has is fleshed out excellently in conversation and argument between the parents. Tracy as a bullheaded industrialist from across the pond ( Canadian instead of Ugly American ) does a fine job of going against type, playing one of his many fatherly roles with reckless arrogance. Playing opposite Tracy as his wife Deborah Kerr simply walks away with the picture as she goes from housewife to millionaires wife with title before descending into the depths of alcoholism after the loss of her son and a lifetime with Arnold. It may well be the celebrated Kerr's most challenging and finest performance in a career that has had many.

    Mid picture the film really begins to bog down as Boult begins an affair with his secretary (Lueen McGrath) that Cukor attempts to sum up in one long laborious scene at her apartment slowing the pace even more, though salvaged somewhat by Kerr who saves her best for last. The denouement is more than satisfying. It's the getting there that's the problem.
  • Good grief, Robert Morley and Noel Langley must have been in a bad mood indeed when they wrote the nihilistic play upon which this film was based.

    "Edward, My Son" is a bitter pill of a movie about an absolutely detestable jackass played by Spencer Tracy and the mess he makes of his life and the lives of those he loves in his campaign to spoil his son rotten. Tracy deserves kudos for playing this character at all, one who finds not a hint of redemption by the movie's end. The real reason to watch the film, though, is for Deborah Kerr's tragic performance as Tracy's wife, who begins the film as a vivacious if overly-dependent young mother and ends it as a shattered alcoholic. Her part is fairly small in relation to Tracy's, but she makes the most of every moment on screen and earned her first Best Actress Academy Award nomination for her efforts.

    In a conceit that clearly comes from the stage, we never see Edward, the son who serves as the catalyst for this married couple's disastrous end. Director George Cukor never succeeds in opening this film up and making it feel like anything more than a filmed version of the play. There's a monotony to its rhythms and it feels longer than it is.

    Grade: B-
  • Adapted from the stage, "Edward, My Son" is a striking film about the monomaniacal obsession of one man for his son. The son, meanwhile, never appears on screen. But like a planet unseen but known to exist by the effects of its gravitational force, Edward is an influence on his father and others.

    Spencer Tracy plays the father, Lord Boult, whose flashbacks constitute the core of the story. The viewer sees Boult's ruthless pursuit of business success as a means to providing for his son. Over more than twenty years, Boult never changes much, but his wife (Deborah Kerr) is like a tragic reflection of his dealings (and lack of feelings). Her transformation over the years is one of the great acting performances.

    "Edward, My Son" is well worth seeing, especially for Ms. Kerr's tour de force, which is accomplished mostly in "snapshots" over the years, as opposed to lengthy expositions.
  • I am not sure why actors and/or actresses performances are seemingly always glorified for being drunkards on the big screen, but Deborah Kerr's performance as Mrs. Evelyn Boult, who drinks excessively to dull her pain of a long failing marriage to an adulterer and a spoiled adult son who believes he is invincible, garnered Ms. Kerr a best actress in a leading role academy nomination. I didn't see her performance as being that outstanding, nor did I see anything in this film as being anything but average.

    Spencer Tracy basically plays himself Spencer Tracy, so he did not have to dig deep to play an adulterer, nor a financial schemer who eventually gets caught for insurance fraud and is sent to prison. We continually see Spencer Tracy who plays the self made millionaire Arnold Boult talking with great pride about his only son Edward, or talking on the phone with Edward but Edward himself never appears within this film. Apparently the film was based on a successful play but in my humble opinion it does not work on film.

    I really enjoy Spencer Tracy as an actor, but I find his films are sometimes hit or miss. In the case of Edward, My Son, it missed the mark so I can only rate the film a 5 out of 10.
  • Edward, My Son has become an overlooked, unheard of classic over the years, but it really should reclaim its place on must-see lists. Based off of Robert Morley and Noel Langley's play, it's a very emotional script about a father's relationship to his son, and the sacrifices and ruinations he made all in his son's name.

    Spencer Tracy plays Edward's father, and while I don't usually think he's a very good actor, he's very menacing in this film. I give credit to Deborah Kerr, who plays Edward's mother and Spence's wife. They start the film young, happy, and in love, and as the years pass, they age. They argue and scream at each other, and with fantastic lines to say, and a great actress to say them to, it's no wonder Spencer Tracy had such fire and ammunition behind his words.

    But it's really Deborah Kerr who steals the show. She was very young in 1949, but when she ages, it's remarkably lifelike. While Spence turns to another woman to ease his pain, Deborah turns to alcohol, and in old movies, playing an alcoholic was tricky. Most actors played an over-the-top drunk, but young Deborah was very realistic. Rent this emotional drama to see just how fantastic her performance was.
  • The production code mars the end of Edward, My Son. In the final moments, Spencer Tracy's character is punished for a crime that occurred at the very beginning of the film. He committed much worse acts throughout the rest of the story. Is he punished for any of those?

    I suppose if you read into this film deeply enough, you will walk away with the realization that Mr. Tracy's character is his own judge, jury and executioner. That he gets away with many of his crimes but creates his own misery could be some sort of strange consolation. An otherwise excellent film, it contains solid performances by Tracy and his costar Deborah Kerr (in the first of her many Oscar nominated roles).

    Refilmed in 1955 for an episode of 'The United States Steel Hour,' which starred Robert Morley and Ann Todd. Mr. Morley was a co-author of the play and appeared in the original stage production.
  • Outstanding performances mark this movie from 1949 with Spencer Tracey, and Deborah Kerr in the leading roles. Kerr, in particular, demonstrates a range that comes only from a great character actor in her slow but definite slide from respectability to debauchery. Her appearance and speech usually remind me of Queen Elizabeth but she moves out of that upper crust bearing in portraying Evelyn Boult, the long-suffering wife. The movie feels like a stage play and the darkened sets give it a rather brooding atmosphere. Spencer Tracey is the ruthless businessman Arnold Boult, said to be modelled after Canadian Lord Beaverbrook, whose smile and joviality mask the true nature of a man who will do whatever is required to further his own interests. He also turns a blind eye to the unethical conduct of his wayward son Edward, who never appears on the screen. Edward's upbringing and youthful misdemeanours bother his mother who feels her husband is not instilling him with the proper values. Tracey is clearly the smiling charmer who can take advantage of his business associates and women alike. Tracey and Kerr's talents are ably combined with a supporting cast led by Ian Hunter as the family doctor, Leueen McGrath as his secretary, Felix Aylmer as the schoolmaster, and Mervyn Johns, an often morose character actor, as his broken partner. Actor Robert Morley wrote the script for the movie, which was also a stage play. George Cukor directed the movie, one of his many outstanding movies. This movie is not for the faint of heart but it does serve up some fine acting talent.