Early 1905, French governess Emilie Gallatin (Ingrid Bergman) is hired to care of a luxurious family mansion and the four sons of wealthy Adam Stoddard (Warner Baxter) and his wife, Molly Stoddard (Fay Wray). Things couldn't be more perfect, until in 1907, first Molly dies, and then the stock market crashes, wiping out the Soddard's fortune. Emilie is forced to go back home to France. The parting is difficult, for the teenager boys - Jack Stoddard (Billy Ray), David Stoddard (Steven Muller), Chris Stoddard (Wallace Chadwell), and Phillip Stoddard (Bobby Walberg) - had grown to depend on Emilie more after the loss of their mother, and Emilie had fallen in love with Adam. Seven years later, just before the beginning of World War I, the family's fortunes have improved, and Adam insists with Emilie to return and stay on as part of the family - preserving her from the foreseeable fates of war. The four boys are adults, and they all serve in various branches of the military - Jack Stoddard (... Written by
Somewhat stolid drama is immeasurably boosted by a terrific performance by Susan Hayward on her way up. This was really the first role that allowed her any kind of showcase and she takes full advantage as the grasping cat that's up to no good. From here on she started a steady if not meteoric rise to the very top but even at this early stage she demonstrates the fiery star quality that took her there.
This second American outing for Ingrid Bergman is obviously designed as a star vehicle for her but except when pitted against Susan's shrew she is only required to show pallid goodness, not the best star making material. She only had to work her way through one more indifferent picture, Rage in Heaven, before hitting her stride as the cheap Ivy in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and of course following that up with the luminous Ilsa in Casablanca and on to immortality.
As far as the rest of the film goes it's standard hokum with Warner Baxter stiff as the head of the household and the sons all lacking in personality. Fay Wray isn't given anything to do in her tiny amount of screen time but June Lockhart is all sweet faced and dewy youthfulness, at least making her nothing part stand out by her vivacity.
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