While Republic studios is mainly known as a producer of westerns, serials and Vera Hruba Ralston epics, it also had its share of comedy's, dramas and even musicals, as evidenced in "The Republic Pictures Story". Some of these films are surprisingly good, and are fortunately seeing the light of day now thanks to home video. This women's picture (aka soap opera) is a pretty good look at the private life of two Broadway actors, older leading man Otto Kruger and his protégé, the pretty Freida Inescort. They are on the verge of getting married when the carelessness of some youngsters leaves him wheelchair bound, causing him to break off their engagement. She goes onto become a big Broadway star, and he lives as a recluse, still receiving visits from her but disregarding any notion of them having any sort of romantic future together.
When Inescort has that women's desire to put her career on back burner and adopt a cute little girl, he agrees to be a surrogate father. But there's one catch. The tot is already promised to a wealthy single businessman (Donald Douglas). Realizing her affection for his newly adopted daughter, Douglas begins spending time with her, and of course, falls in love with her. Proposing marriage, he has no idea that her devotion to Kruger stands in the way. This leads to an almost exact duplicate to plot twists in "A Star is Born". But will it really bring happiness to anybody?
Surprisingly lavish yet short, this is a sweet tearjerker with some great things to recommend it. Adrienne Ames is passive/aggressive in her callousness as Douglas's girlfriend who wants no part of adopting a child and actually makes the little girl (Ann Todd) cry when she reveals how she feels. Jane Darwell is funny and tough as Inescort's companion, getting some of the best lines of her career and definitely in the film. Ma Joad this character ain't. Grab your handkerchiefs, because the finale is a shocker, one of tragedy, triumph and the determination to move through storm, knowing that love is waiting in the wings.
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