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William A. Seiter
Elderly schoolteacher Nora Trinell, waiting to meet presidential nominee Dewey Roberts, recalls him as her student back in 1916 and his relation to Dan Hopkins, the man she married and lost. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Claudette Colbert is a schoolteacher thinking about her past life in "Remember the Day," a 1941 film also starring John Payne, Shepperd Strudwick, Ann E. Todd, Jane Seymour and Anne Revere. As she waits to catch a glimpse of a former student, Dewey Peters, now running for President, Nora Trinell (Colbert) thinks back to 1916, when Dewey was a child in her class, and she had just met another teacher in the school, Mr. Hopkins (Payne). Dewey has a terrible crush on Nora, who sees his true worth right away; Hopkins is in love with her. Kay, a student in Dewey's class, is crazy about him, but Dewey is at an age where he doesn't want any girls around. Besides, he's in love with Nora.
Nora and Hopkins eventually marry secretly, and he signs up for World War I. Dewey is heartbroken when he sees them together. Before going away to prep school, Nora encourages him in his goals and tells him that he is like a son to her. At his request, she goes to see him off at the train, the same train her husband is on en route to battle. The last time we see her in the flashback, she is waving goodbye.
This is a very touching movie with some nice performances, particularly by Colbert, Payne, and Douglas Croft, who plays the young Dewey. The fashions don't look particularly of the period, and as usual, everyone is aged much more than the 25 years that are supposed to have passed. It is true that people look younger today at 50, partly because we fight aging and also because of a youthful attitude, as one of the reviewers states. I still think everyone looked too old, and that includes young Dewey's parents during the flashback, who looked like his grandparents. It's unusual for Twentieth Century Fox to have permitted any aging at all - Zanuck would barely let Tyrone Power have gray at the temples in films with long time spans.
Colbert was actually 9 years older than John Payne, but I was aware of it only because I knew it. She was cast opposite younger men more than once. She is very lovely in this, looking much younger than her 38 years. She really carries the film. Payne, a very well-built hunk, gives a wonderful performance.
The acting really uplifts this film as does the solid directing of Henry King. You may shed a tear or two - if you don't mind that, "Remember the Day" is well worth seeing.
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