13 December 2010 | edwagreen
As Outstanding As they Get: Incident in Baltimore ****
A phenomenal movie with superb performances by Walter Matthau and Harry Morgan. Both would reprise their types of roles 2 years later in "An Incident in A Small Town."
While the latter film was also quite good, this one is even better because it exposes conditions in a mental institution in 1947's Baltimore. At the beginning, some of the harrowing scenes reminded me of Olivia De Havilland's memorable performance in 1948's "The Snake Pit."
Matthau, as a widowed attorney who has moved to Baltimore with his widowed daughter-in-law and granddaughter, takes on the case of a woman who committed herself to an asylum for depression and then was held there totally against her will. You will see plenty of corruption, abuse and other things that we unfortunately read in the papers about such institutions. You'll also see how this was a profitable business and the definite need for state intervention.
As if the picture isn't good enough, the sidebar story is where Susan Blakely, the daughter-in-law finds happiness with the 4-F math teacher in the town. This angers Matthau and he insults her in a memorable scene. The picture depicts the adjustment of finding a new life for the war widowed after World War 11.
The film is truly remarkable from beginning to end.