The only good thing about this film is the performance of Anthony Quayle. He gives his character some depth and humanity. No wonder he was soon off to great films such as Laurence of Arabia. If you want a truly great performance by this actor watch Anne of the Thousand Days. His role in that film earned him an Academy Award nomination. The good thing about THIS film is that the plot was a great idea and the flow was pretty quick and kept you interested. What was awful was the quality of the picture and the sound. The actors were blurry and the voices did not match the lip movements. Why was so much wasted on what could have been a really decent movie? Perhaps age and a lack of good DVD quality is the problem? The movie will only be bearable to Anthony Quayle fans, Jayne Mansfield fans, or crime drama fans.
I have been waiting for quite a while to see this film. I am a fan of English literature and history as well as classic film. I have often even requested on the Turner Classic Movies website that it be shown. I finally got the chance and it was not what I had hoped. The writing and part was awful for such a huge star as Olivia de Havilland. It is no wonder she rebelled against Warner Brothers for better roles. This mess after Gone With the Wind and The Adventures of Robin Hood? No wonder she was upset. To add fuel to the fire, her character was annoying and it is hard to understand why she was liked by men. The only performance with any depth was that of Ida Lupino and this was only because her character seemed to be the only one with any common sense or appeal. I am shocked Paul Henried didn't rebel with Olivia de Havilland. His character was a mess of a man who obviously had no taste or common sense. Watch it as it only seems to play on television once in a lifetime. Punishment should only happen so often. If you are a fan of classic film watch it for the experience and not for the quality value.
1950s Era Romantic Comedy with a Hint of Christmas
This is a cute little movie for those interested in the films of the 1950s. There is a little bit of comedy, a little bit of Christmas cheer, and a little bit of gorgeous color. You also get a romance between an older man and younger girl that ends up as "happily ever after." There is something in it for just about anyone. The age difference between the principle characters is typical of films of the era which was one that was full of May-December romance movies and couplings. SABRINA, LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON, and many others come to mind. The age difference between the characters would be controversial today. However, you have to remember that watching an older film is viewing the societal mores of another era. It WAS another era and they followed different guidelines of acceptability.
I have heard about this film for years and finally saw it on Turner Classic Movies this month. I had always read that the movie was a stinker, the performances were awful, and the subject matter odd. I found the film to be very suspenseful with a sense of mystery. I was incredibly surprised that the acting was like that in many other films of the day, and that the subject matter added to the bizarre creative twist of the plot. My only complaint with the movie is that the ending is somewhat quick and a disappointment after so much of a build up. The story has a good start and keeps you interested and then wraps everything up far too quickly without much explanation or reason. I am glad to finally get to see this film as it is one of those oldies that rarely ever makes it to television. Much less VHS or DVD.
I rarely catch this film on television and when I do I never catch all of it. To add fuel to the fire, it has always been edited for television. On a positive note, what I have seen I have enjoyed. It is a nice little story about a May-December romance where the gal is an open book and not hardened by life and a much older man who is careful and somewhat hardened. She is willing to act on love and is not hindered by the age difference. He is afraid of entering into something that will most likely not have a future or seem practical. *SPOILER AHEAD* What was most enjoyable about the film was seeing a May December romance where the couple attempts to throw caution to the wind and act on their love and feelings and attempt to start a life together. There is no wise break up at the end or people coming to their so called senses. Love is allowed to bloom and develop.
I have wanted to see this film since I was a teenager. It took twenty years to see it and it was not worth the wait. The plot lacked depth and there was not any real character development. The best thing about the movie was Margaret Sullivan. She put in a good performance on something that was dry and lacked life. Despite saying this, the film deserves to be available to audiences through VHS or DVD or late night TV viewing. All classics should be there for the public to enjoy or hate. It seems to have remained a film almost no one has seen due to the racial images and messages portrayed in the film. However, many viewers are adults and know they are watching a film from the 1930s.