2 June 2018 | clanciai
A difficult case to handle, as such a case is untouchable for any family
Although you more and more during the progress of the film learn to share the hatred of her that gradually becomes evident in the protagonists, Mary Astor actually makes the most remarkable performance in this film about a mother's tragedy, all caused by herself and she herself understanding it least of all. The war drama is just the frame, from the beginning you must suspect that Jeff Chandler has something to hide, some terrible secret about the truth that can't be revealed, and the entire film is building up towards this revelation. This was apparently Helmur Käutner's only American film, but he was a fine stylist in cinematography with only credits on his record and several German classics. June Allyson always has a special knack of cheering up a film, and here it is needed indeed. She is the only straight and sane person with a cool head in this sordid family business, and no wonder Jeff Chandler accepts her invitation alhough he has reason tu suspect the worst. Peter Graves as the war hero plays a small part and only thirsting and dying on that raft on a desert sea under the sun, but he makes it all right. Also Charles Coburn has a small but extremely significant part in (unconsciously) releasing the gradual detonation of a family bomb, and Jeff Chandler goes through with his difficult and delicate part with honest honour - his hell is actually the worst. This is in character very much like a Douglas Sirk film, but it goes deeper, probing untouchable undercurrents that are utterly out of bounds for discussion in a family, but the autopsy is expertly performed, leaving Mary Astor totally naked.