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Fine script/performances raise material to lofty heights
The plot device of having unwed mothers watch their adopted children grow in foster homes, never knowing her true identity, has been the basis for many films (THE OLD MAID, TO EACH HIS OWN). Here the material is given solid adult treatment. The script is stellar, the characters are totally believable and quite mature in their various approaches to the situation and the performances from all are truly fine.
Ann Harding plays Sally, a woman whose fiance is killed in the first reel and who is befriended by Clive Brook's Dan, a drunken disbarred doctor. He sees her through the birth, the adoption of the child by upper class friends of his, and places her with another friend, an interior decorator, then fades away. Sally of course comes into contact with the adoptive family and her son and becomes close to him. She plots to win the adoptive father away from his fiancee (his wife had died in the intervening years)and marry him, so that she can raise her son as his "real" mother.
Harding is as always radiant and brilliant -this is one of her finest performances, totally natural, full of both pathos and humor. What a fine actress she was! I have never seen Clive Brook give a better performance. He is of course in love with her but she loves him only as a dear friend. His is a sad but endearing character and Brook plays him with unusual (for him) attention to detail. As bad as he was opposite Harding in EAST LYNNE, he is that fine here!
Otto Kruger does a good job as the adoptive father and Dickie Moore is perfect as Deedy, the son. Janet Beecher is quite fine as the decorator, herself in love with Dan, but willing to step aside for Sally. It was the sort of role Alice Brady used to play with ease.
La Cava's direction is solid and sensitive. The script is, as mentioned before, quite well written, raising the characters and situation above the creaky narrative skeleton. This one is a rarity but well worth seeing.
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