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John G. Adolfi
In World War I London, Myra is an American out of work chorus girl making ends meet by picking up men on Waterloo Bridge. During a Zeppelin air raid she meets Roy, a naive young American who enlisted in the Canadian army. They fall for each other, and he tricks Myra into visiting his family who live in a country estate outside London, where his step-father is a retired British Major. However Myra is reluctant to continue the relationship with Roy, because she has not told him about her past. Written by
Mae Clarke is superb in James Whale's wonderful production of Sherwood's acclaimed play.
I never thought I would enjoy this production of "Waterloo Bridge" more than the 1940 remake with Robert Taylor and Vivien Leigh. For one thing, this version is a straight narrative which is more suspenseful than the flashback construction of the remake. Secondly, Kent Douglass has that boyish quality which makes his naiveté much more believable than Robert Taylor's. And finally, the pacing and casting of the supporting actors by James Whale couldn't be beat. Ethel Griffies, as the heartless landlady, Enid Bennett, as Douglass' sympathetic but forceful mother, and Doris Lloyd, Clarke's practical but unfeeling prostitute friend, were all standouts. I had never seen Mae Clarke in such a strong dramatic role, which she handles more beautifully than I ever thought she could, conveying her anguish at loving a man but being ashamed of having become a prostitute. And, of course, there is Bette Davis in a small inconsequential role very early in her career; she was still a pleasure to watch. By all means, see this film! You won't regret it.
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