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Lydia MacMillan, a wealthy old woman who has never married, is invited by an old beau, Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick, for a reunion with the men who have been in her life to reminisce about the times when they were young and courted her. In memory, each romance seemed splendid and destined for happiness, but in each case, Lydia realizes, the truth was less romantic, and ill-starred. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When the film was finally released in Duvivier's native France ,it did not meet critical favor.I personally find little fault with the opinions expressed."Lydia" is a confused cold work.Duvivier's great American movies are not "Great Waltz" or "Lydia" .They were yet to come:"tales of Manhattan" and "Flesh and fantasy" are immensely superior to the aforementioned efforts.
"Lydia" is supposed to be a remake of "Un Carnet de Bal ",Duvivier's indisputable masterpiece.But the two works are worlds apart.I would go as far as to write "Lydia" is to "Carnet de Bal" what "The long night" is to "Le jour se lève" .But Carné's chef d'oeuvre was remade by Anatole Litvak whereas Duvivier redid himself.
Actually "Lydia" reminds me of Duvivier failed film "Untel Père Et Fils " ;it's a hodgepodge : a grumpy granny with a golden heart, a sailor ,the Civil War(?) , a blind pianist ,the sad fate of blind children during the nineteenth century, the good lady whose life is not empty cause she creates a house for these unfortunate kids (a permanent feature of the French cinema of the era : see also "Le Voile Bleu"-remade as "the blue veil" - and "Péchés de Jeunesse").
Nothing is left from the original work,the Madeleine of Proust of the French cinema: and showing Merle Oberon with her three beaus (and the fourth is not far away)does not make up for Marie Bell's spleen,solitude and nostalgia on the banks of the lake.One should also add that the male characters are not really interesting.
Orson Welles was a great Duvivier fan and it's probably the reason why Joseph Cotten is part of the cast.Later,Welles would borrow the female star of "Au Royaume des Cieux" (Suzanne Cloutier) from Duvivier for his "Othello".
The best of this movie is its pictures:the ball is nicely filmed ,although a bit kitsch;the snowy landscapes are enhanced by a refined cinematography.
The sound of my copy is rather lousy. The music ,which is intrusive,often drowns out the actors' voices.
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