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William A. Seiter
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Pretty Rae Smith and handsome Walter Saxel meet, fall in love and make plans to marry. Unfortunately, their marriage plans get sabotaged when a jealous beau makes Rae miss the ceremony. The two meet many years later in New York, only now Walter is married. Refusing to be shut out of his life, Rae agrees to be Walter's mistress. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Margaret Sullavan is one of my all-time favorite actresses with her husky voice and haunting screen presence. The original version in 1932 with Irene Dunne and John Boles was dull and stage-bound; the later version with Susan Hayward was just too gaudy. This is the version to watch!
Margaret gives an exquisitely heart-rending performance as a turn-of-the-century miss who falls in love with a man (played by the smooth but oh-so-serious Charles Boyer). Fate intervenes and the two lovers are separated. They meet again years later, but, true to the classic weeper formula, he is married. Despite her better judgment, she carries on a "Back Street" romance with him for many years until their untimely demises.
Promoted with the tag line, "If you have tears, be prepared to shed them", this movie does involve some suspension of disbelief. For example, for such a level-headed gal, why does Margaret allow Boyer to treat her so shabbily? Just when I am about to shake my head and yell "Why?", Margaret then either let loose with the tears or try to hide the choking sob in her voice, and I'm transfixed all over again.
This film does feature solid direction, beautiful photography and some good supporting performances (I particularly liked Frank McHugh in this one). This film remains on my "Wish-They-Release-This-One-on-Video" list.
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