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Fortysomething, blue blooded Boston born and bred, Harvard educated businessman Harry Pulham leads a regimented, routinized life with his wife, the former Kay Motford, who he's known since childhood. Harry outwardly believes he is all the more happy because of the way his life is, which was somewhat predetermined as part of his upbringing. This day, he receives two telephone calls which make him examine his life. The first is from Bo-Jo Brown, a Harvard colleague who is heading a twenty-five year reunion committee, with Harry foisted into the job of writing attendee biographies, which is to include his own. The second is from Marvin Myles, a former work colleague from his time over twenty years ago at the J.T. Bullard Advertising Agency in New York City, that job which Harry got from his more liberally minded Harvard friend Bill King. The result of these two telephone calls makes Harry wonder if he is happy, if he is or ever was in love with Kay, and if he never was if he would have ... Written by
Hedy Lamarr and Robert Young are well-paired in this movie. She plays the mature independent woman. He plays the good-natured homespun man. The movie is slow and touching, in the genre of movies where modern life conflicts with old and established life. I was reminded of "The Magnificent Ambersons." I agree that this was one of Hedy's best performances, and interestingly another in which her character has a male name (perhaps to balance her beguiling femininity.) In this and a few other movies, her face conveys a variety of emotions, often breaking the placidity of her porcelain beauty. Robert sets the tone of this movie. It would have been very different if another actor had been cast. He was an excellent choice for this role. Passion and prudence clash in this story, and as was often the case in Hays' Hollywood, the result is bittersweet. One of my favorite lines is when Marvin says to Harry on the sled, "Now don't be like Ethan Frome. I want to live."
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