June 20, 2011
Starring Loretta Young, Joseph Cotten, Ethel Barrymore, Charles Bickford
Directed by H.C. Potter
Plot: "Katie Holstrom leaves the farm to become a nurse, but is sidetracked into domestic service, romance, and politics." (from IMDb)
This is a fun and light-hearted film with a simple (and rather unrealistic) plot. Though the material is just okay, I feel that this movie is really saved by the capable actors that play the roles. I especially love Charles Bickford’s performance. It’s also enjoyable to see Joseph Cotten in a slightly comedic role. He was such a talented performer that really seemed to do well in any part (at least of the ones I’ve seen). Despite the fact that I never really thought of him as a romantic lead (you know, Uncle Charlie, Holly Martins, and all that), I think it works and he comes of as quite charming.
I’m not really sure what I think of Loretta Young here. I like her okay, I just have a hard time believing that this was really worthy of an Oscar. It’s not that I’m mean and don’t want her to be recognized—she had been in Hollywood a long time and perhaps the Academy just felt she was due something—but this performance doesn’t strike me as that challenging. Yes, she had to learn to speak with a Swedish accent (though I don’t know how convincing it is because I’m not familiar with the language), but there is nothing about this role that seems particularly note-worthy. Perhaps it’s just one of those subtle parts that I don’t fully appreciate? What do you think?
I can’t help wondering what this film would’ve been like with an actual Swede in the role—like maybe Ingrid Bergman (who apparently turned it down). I think it would be interesting to view the other 1948 Best Actress contenders and compare them (the only other one I’ve seen is Gentleman’s Agreement and I know I would not give it to Dorothy McGuire).
In case you are interested, there is an interesting article on Loretta Young's official site about the background and making of this film. You can check it out here.
I also came across this review, which I feel aptly summarizes both the strengths and weaknesses of the picture.
This scene is one of the best in the movie. I love how they make fun of political rallies.
The big winners at the 1948 Oscars: Darryl Zanuck (Best Picture, Gentleman’s Agreement), Edmund Gwenn (Best Supporting Actor, Miracle on 34th Street), Loretta Young (Best Actress, The Farmer’s Daughter), Ronald Colman (Best Actor, A Double Life), Celeste Holm (Best Supporting Actress, Gentleman’s Agreement).
Here is a news clip of the 1948 Oscar highlights. It's really fun to watch and there are quite a few famous faces spotted (in addition to the winners, we see Fredric March, Olivia de Havilland, and Anne Baxter presenting). I love how classy the Academy Awards were back then...and can I just say how much I love the women's dresses/gloves/hair? So glamorous!