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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
Low-key drama with one high voltage performance...
INGRID BERGMAN plays a sensible, warm-hearted governess who has feelings for the head of the household, WARNER BAXTER. His four sons are shown first as boys, and then with the passage of time, as adults facing service in WWI.
SUSAN HAYWARD is the bored and flirtatious wife of the youngest son, who can't resist throwing herself at the others when the mood hits her. She does her standard Hayward bit as an amoral and feisty creature who drinks hard and plays around. By contrast, Bergman is sweet and refined, and not above saving a bad situation if it will spare any embarrassment for Baxter. Her nobility is a bit unbelievable in one key sequence where she keeps Hayward's behavior a secret from Baxter.
Of the sons, only RICHARD DENNING really stands out in his scenes with Hayward. Likewise, Bergman has her best moments in confrontational scenes with Hayward.
But despite some good ingredients for domestic drama, the film seems to have been hurt by some bad editing and comes across as bland rather than compelling.
Worth watching to catch Hayward in one of her first showy roles.
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