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A veteran of World War I marries and settles happily into a tidy, humble life until an accident brings back memories of a former life of wealth and privilege while blocking all recollection of his existence since the war. Thus one man disappears, and another man long missing turns up and claims his vast inheritance. What does his devoted wife, whom he no longer recognizes, do? Written by
Paul Emmons <email@example.com>
In the novel Smithy/ Rainier is a young man in his 20s. At the time of filming, Ronald Colman was a slightly more mature 51 years old. See more »
When watching Paula's performance, Smithy's position changes. See more »
I'm - all right. It's my speech. I can't - remember. I'm not like the others. I'm not like them. I'm all right. But I - I can't go back. I - I'll never come out; I'll - I'll be like the others.
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...I rented this and now I'd like to own it. It's just plain wonderful.
Despite being endowed with a story by the redoubtable James Hilton, this film is carried by the sheer power of its two stars. Colman (as Smithy/Rainier) and Garson (as Paula/Margaret) are at their luminous best. While the story can seem a bit implausible with too much thought, it is presented with such great truth, sincerity, and momentum that the viewer is swept along effortlessly.
Like other Hilton books and their associated film translations (such as Lost Horizon and Goodbye, Mr. Chips), this movie has an exceptionally memorable and satisfying ending. I wanted to watch the ending over and over, but I'm glad that I resisted in this case - it helped me to retain the film in perspective.
The sad note is Susan Peters, who does a great job of essaying Rainier's young admirer. Peters was paralyzed in a hunting accident not long after this film, and her career and personal life never recovered.
If you've seen and liked the other Hilton adaptations mentioned above, as well as films such as Mrs. Miniver and The Talk of the Town, then you should not miss this. Close to a 10/10.
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