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Edward G. Robinson,
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In 1884 lumberman Barney Glasgow leaves his true love, saloon singer Lotta Morgan, to marry Emma Louise, his boss's daughter. His buddy Swan Bostrom marries Lotta instead. Barney becomes a lumber magnate by stripping the Wisconsin forests, without re-planting. After 23 years, Barney finally visits Swan. Lotta has died, but Barney is smitten by their daughter Lotta Bostrom, who looks almost like her mother. His lavish attentions to Lotta create gossip and a rivalry between Barney and his son Richard. Written by
Old fashioned to be sure, but this film version of the Edna Ferber novel boasts some great film acting by Edward Arnold and Frances Farmer (in a dual role).
Story has the ruthless Arnold working his way up in the Wisconsin lumber business, grabbing at everything in sight, including saloon gal Farmer. He seems to care about nothing but getting ahead. When he gets the chance to marry the boss' daughter (Mary Nash), he dumps Farmer and moves on.
Twenty year later, he has it all plus two children: Joel McCrea and Andrea Leeds. By chance he runs into old pal (Walter Brennan in his first Oscar win) who married Farmer. She's dead but her daughter (Farmer again) lives with him along with a niece (Mady Christians). The daughter is a dead ringer for the mother, and Arnold decides to move in on her (in a last gasp at youth).
But when the daughter meets McCrea, it's all over for Arnold. The father and son have a confrontation and the old man sees the light.
This film offers some of the best acting of any 30s film. Edward Arnold is superb, and his final scene is just plain chilling. Farmer is glorious in her dual role, her best chance at film stardom (that never happened). Also solid are McCrea, Brennan, Leeds, and Nash. Supporting cast offers Cecil Cunningham as the wise-cracking and wise secretary.
The film may set a Hollywood record in listing THREE directors. Both Howard Hawks and William Wyler are listed as co-directors while Richard Rosson is credited with the timber scenes (which are great).
Worth a look for Frances Farmer and Edward Arnold!
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