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In 1909 Mary Archer, daughter of small-town bluebloods, awaits the return from Germany of sometime beau Jeff. But Jeff brings with him a German friend, Hugo Wilbrandt, who loves and marries Mary. Hugo joins the faculty of a small college and the Wilbrandts prosper...until the advent of World War I brings a storm of anti-German hatred. Resulting troubles so embitter Hugo that he regrets his American citizenship... Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Ever In My Heart" starts off slowly and uneventfully, a pretty pedestrian story that seems both tendentious and predictable. Barbara Stanwyck grows up in a waspy New England town. Her best friend/fiancé (Bellamy) returns from Europe with a German friend (Kruger), who sweeps Stanwyck off her feet. They marry. WWI arrives and the town turns against the couple, who are accused of sympathizing with the Germans. Hardships ensue.
Stanwyck is terrific, and Otto Kruger is surprisingly warm and effective in his role. Later in his career he played spies and double agents in scores of WWII films. Ralph Bellamy, of course, played the good-natured slob who lost the girl.
The film is a hyperbolic screed against small-town prejudice, and the first half seems forced and simplistic, but picks up in the second half with the onset of the war. I thought the ending was quite powerful and hard to watch, a tribute to actors who know their craft. I appreciate Stanwyck more with each picture, mostly these early ones which are seldom shown.
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