A young girl from a provincial town learns the bitter reality of a big city and great love.A young girl from a provincial town learns the bitter reality of a big city and great love.A young girl from a provincial town learns the bitter reality of a big city and great love.
It's not a film that ranks high with Olivier fans. In fact he did it to keep himself busy while current wife Vivien Leigh was doing A Streetcar Named Desire. But his portrayal of George Hurstwood may rank as the most tragic character Olivier ever brought to the screen.
Poor Hurstwood. On the outside a most respectable individual, good job wife and two kids, money in the bank. He's the manager of a fancy Chicago eatery named Fitzgerald's. And one day accompanied by Eddie Albert, walks Jennifer Jones into his place and he flips for her.
Carrie's a young girl from the farm gone to Chicago to seek life. But women were rather restricted in their employment and their options for living. She runs up against Victorian morality which was what Dresier was really writing about in his book. To today's audiences those conventions seem ridiculous, but William Wyler does do a good job in portraying the era.
He also does another clever thing in the film. Mary Murphy has a brief part as Olivier's daughter. She bears a striking resemblance to Jennifer Jones. She has a couple of lines of inconsequential dialog with Olivier, but your image of her stays throughout the film and you understand why Olivier tumbles for Jones. Freud would approve.
Kudos also for Miriam Hopkins who plays Mrs. Hurstwood. She's a vindicative shrew in this film, but she's also a wronged party and Hopkins does convey a fine balance in her portrayal.
Eddie Albert is also a wronged party. Jones meets him on the train to Chicago and he falls for her also. Due to circumstances in the film, she has to accept his hospitality. Albert also falls for her big time, but she can't see him when Olivier's around.
There is also a nice bit by Ray Teal as an insurance investigator. I can't tell you about him without giving some of the plot away, but he's a very cynical fellow and kind of gives both Jones and Olivier a reality check.
It's a nicely done film, fans of the stars will love it.
- May 27, 2005