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As the Great War breaks out, Ann Vickers -- serious, independent, and forthright -- embarks on a passionate love affair with an officer who jilts her before she can tell him she's pregnant. After an abortion, she throws herself into social work, stirring things up at a woman's prison and writing a best-seller about the experience. Back in Manhattan, she runs a halfway house for paroled women and meets an equally free-thinking jurist, Barney Dolphin, who's estranged from his wife (she doesn't believe in divorce) and under investigation for corruption. They begin an affair and have a child just as he's indicted. The scandal ruins her career; can they flout convention and find happiness? Written by
<firstname.lastname@example.org> and Determined Copy Editor
John Kelly as Dr. Alstein and Mona Dolphin are in studio records/casting call lists for this movie. Kelly was not seen in the print, and since Mona Dolphin was the character name of Barney's wife, it is likely that no such actress existed. Ferdinand Gottschalk is listed for the role of Dr. Slenk, but that role was played by Murray Kinnell. Kitty Kelly and Robert Benchley were mentioned as cast members in a news item, but they did not appear in the movie. See more »
Although the first part of the picture takes place in 1918, all of Irene Dunne's hairstyles and clothes are strictly in the 1933 mode. See more »
What can have been on Irene Dunne's mind when she accepted the role in this distasteful account of a woman of negotiable morals? Certainly, the Irene Dunne of the 1940's, whose reputation as a faithful Roman Catholic who publicly abhorred smut, and shunned any film scripts or Hollywood society, that might be even be remotely construed as corrupting public morals--would never have become associated with such a dubious project as this.
Perhaps, New York's Cardinal Spellman, in his private audience with her, gave her a good dressing down over this role? That we will likely never know, inasmuch as she never spoke of it in later years, though she did denounce her morally suspect, (though quite successful) 1932 film, "Back Street" as "trash".
Certainly by the time she received the distinguished St. Robert Bellarmine Award in 1965 for exemplary public Catholicism, "Ann Vickers" was no longer recalled by the general public.
Suffice it to say that "Ann Vickers" works neither as entertainment or social commentary.
Miss Dunne's role as an adulterous social worker, who sleeps around, (between reforming prisons and writing a best seller on correctional rehabilitation) doesn't dovetail with her temperament or on screen demeanor, and one keeps suspecting that the whole thing is a kind of tongue in cheek gag, (what else can we think when we witness a montage of Miss Dunne's sympathetic beatific gaze superimposed over a shot of a female prisoner being scourged?) By films end, she has renounced careerism in favor of marriage, (to crusty convict Walter Huston no less--and what kind of lunacy would ever conceive of pairing these two romantically?)
Irene Dunne completists will no doubt wish to see this curiosity, if only for the chance to hear her promise to rehabilitate a cocaine addict under her charge: "I'm going to get you off the snow cold turkey" !!!
Well, if nothing else such sordid goings on, do present her light years from her usual milieu of operatic trills, furbellowed chiffon and strawberry phosphates--cocaine addiction not being the first subject one associates with the irreproachable Miss Dunne.
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