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Mary Herries is a rich woman with a habit of contributing to those less fortunate than her. On her way home from a concert on Christmas Eve she discovers a poor, would-be artist outside her estate. Mary takes pity on this artist, Henry Abbott, and gives him some food and money. After taking him in, she finds herself somewhat attracted to this artist; he is handsome, and quite knowledgeable of fine art, especially the paintings in Mary's extensive collection. However, when she discovers that Henry has both a wife and a small child that he is struggling to support, she gives him some money and hand-me downs, and sends him on his way. A few days later he shows up with some of his own paintings (which are absolutely awful) as well as some items he stole from Mary's house on Christmas Eve. Henry demands a large amount of money for his paintings, which Mary eventually pays. She then discovers that Henry has left his wife and baby outside, in the rain. His wife collapses and Mary, out of ... Written by
Jonathan Broxton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
...to see Aline MacMahon, the great character actress, in a lead role. As a tender benefactress who unwisely invites a suave beggar (Basil Rathbone) into her gracious home on Christmas Eve, she effortlessly plays beyond her years and even suggests an inner life--you can see her past regrets, her essential goodness, and her cunning, all in her eyes. The rest of this ungainly comedy-suspense melodrama, adapted from a musty stage play, is boilerplate and frequently illogical; the compressed "stage time" is overused to skirt plot implausibilities, the ending is rushed, and leave it to the callow American (Frank Albertson) to get the dumb Brits out of their scrape, MGM-style. Hitchcock could have made the material work, and George B. Seitz is decidedly not Hitchcock. But it's a handsome programmer, told economically, with two great cinematic supporting players being given unusual chances to strut their stuff.
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