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Pretty good production code era soaper starring Kay Francis
I really loved George Brent and Kay Francis together, and I only wish they'd done more films as a team. This particular plot has had variations of it done time and again, but the difference in a mediocre film and a good one can often be the performances, as is the case here.
Kay plays Belinda Warren, a woman who is in love with a man (Patric Knowles) who is married to an invalid (Frieda Inescort). We only hear things from Belinda's point of view - she says she's in love, so we really have no idea what is going on in the mind of the young man. When Belinda finds that she is pregnant, she confides in her close friend "Tubbs" (Roland Young). He in turn talks to the young man's father, the kindly Lord Farrington (Henry Stephenson), who convinces Belinda that allowing his son and daughter to adopt her child is the best solution for all parties concerned.
Most of the story concerns Belinda after she gives the baby up and after she marries wealthy Jim Baker (George Brent) - we're not shown the courtship. Jim tries to be kind and cheery with Belinda, but this just seems to put her in an even more foul mood than normal, and she is already in a constant state of anxiety. She finds it hard to give her heart to Jim completely when she is simultaneously trying to block out thoughts of her son far away. It looks like the Baker marriage is headed for the rocks when Tubbs shows up out of nowhere and comes up with a plan to put things right.
I know this all sounds very conventional, but believe me it really sparkles on screen with more reality in attitudes than would be normal for a film made in 1936. There's also a cute little sideplot involving a romance that develops between Tubbs and Belinda's doctor. This and the pace work together to give this film heart without weighing it down with drippy melodrama.
Recommended as not the best thing Kay Francis ever did, but certainly worth watching if you get the chance.
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