Starring Dana Andrews, Susan Hayward, Kent Smith, Lois Wheeler, Jessie Royce Landis
Directed by Mark Robson
**REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS**
Plot: “After a long absence, Mary Jane visits her schoolfriend Eloise, and Eloise's daughter Ramona. Eloise drinks too much and is unhappily married to Lew Wengler. Eloise falls asleep and remembers her time with her true love, Walt Dreiser, at the beginning of the Second World War. She recalls the events that lead up to her split with Mary Jane, and how Lew married Eloise rather than Mary Jane.” (from IMDb)
I really didn’t care for this one at all. Originally based on a story by J.D. Salinger which was published in The New Yorker, this film is a 98 minute soap opera tear-jerker.
I guess my main problem with this is that I couldn’t relate to the characters: I didn’t understand what Eloise saw in Walt. I thought it was irresponsible of the father to send his young daughter back alone to New York. I thought Walt was a jerk who really only wanted one thing from Eloise. Elle’s father and Walt were also rather chauvinistic in dealing with her expulsion. It bothered me that they treated the whole thing in this *wink*wink* manner. Didn’t they care about her future? She was just expelled! I also disliked Eloise for falling so cheaply and then marrying the wrong man on a rebound. Ugh! It was just frustrating, and honestly it all made me feel a little sick. I just found the characters’ motivations frustrating and unconvincing. Add to that the fact that the film is painfully predictable, and it’s not a winner in my book.
I used to like Dana Andrews quite a bit, but I didn’t like his character at all in this. He really came across as insincere, haughty, and demeaning to Eloise (Susan Hayward). But maybe that was just me…?
Sorry for the grainy quality of these screencaps; the copy I viewed was rather poor.
Edith Head designed Hayward’s wardrobe.
I know this is supposed to be oh-so-romantic, but I really did not like the storyline at all. The two leads were supposed to be madly in love, but I did not feel much chemistry between them.
At first I felt like Susan Hayward was not that great in this, but I thought she got better—to the point of being quite excellent—as the film went on. She does a commendable job of showing the progression and emotion of her character. Especially near the the end of the film, I was really captivated by her ability to make me feel what Eloise was going through. Even though I thought her character made some stupid choices, it was still really sad.
Susan was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for this role.
If you enjoy this type of weepy flash-back-to-first-love film, you might enjoy this. As you already know, I didn’t. But I could’ve just been in the wrong mood to watch a super sad film like this. It was kind of depressing!