7 June 2002 | psthad
Good re-working of classic material, with one critical misfire
A very intelligent screenplay by Jessamyn West, updating the classic 1939 "Dark Victory" (which in turn was derived from the 1934 Broadway play of the same name). Although some of the character structuring is changed (the best friend of the protagonist now becomes her younger sister, for example) and the geography moves from NYC, Long Island and Vermont to London and the English countryside, still the basic story and message remain intact - to use one's life to achieve something of value. My only complaint, and an ambivalent one to be sure, is the casting of Susan Hayward in the lead. Although this legendary actress does a terrific job with the part, she was simply too old for the role at the time. (In "D.V.", the doomed heroine was 23, in this picture Hayward was already 45 - so her untimely death seems a little less tragic, the talk of having children with her much-younger doctor-husband is less credible, etc.); overall, however, a perfectly sound film, with some truly lovely photography of the Kentish countryside and the Cornish coast.