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Child bride Claudia Naughton has made life difficult for her husband David because she can't stand living so far away from her mother. She's also afraid her husband doesn't find her desirable enough. To remedy both situations, she sells their farm to an opera singer so they'll have to move back to the city near her mother, and she tries to make her husband jealous by flirting with a neighbor. Eventually, Claudia has to learn to grow when she discovers that she's about to become a mother and that her own mother is gravely ill. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This film was adapted from the hit play by Rose Franken, and featured the actress who created the character of Claudia for the stage, Dorothy McGuire, in her film debut. Set in suburban Connecticut at a time (1943) when the state was still semi-rural, it tells the story of a perky young woman married to a mature but not yet middle-aged man, and their trials and tribulations, most of them revolving around Claudia's chronic immaturity, her attachment to her mother, and her over-reliance on her husband's know-how. There's not a whole lot of story here, and an awful lot of dialogue, much of it extremely pleasant, all of it observant and well-crafted, none of it brilliant. Stars McGuire and Robert Young make an exceptionally attractive and credible couple. Young's droll underplaying is very stylish and often upstages his bubbly co-star.
It's a fun movie none the less, and at times even moving, belonging to an era when mainstream culture was supposed to be genteel. If if were made today half of it would be set in the conjugal bed, with the leading characters naked most of the time. With considerable subtlety it's suggested in this film that indeed a good deal of the action is in the bedroom, but they never, of course, show any of it. It's easier today to see the virtues of such bright entertainment as this, though when it was first performed out the play, like so many others like it, was attacked at times rather brutally by intellectuals in left-wing journals. A case can be made for Claudia being no more than anodyne entertainment to please and flatter the bourgeoisie into thinking that they're nicer and smarter than they are in real life. Perhaps so. But as an artifact of its times Claudia is still a pretty good show, and on occasion a fascinating if Hollywoodized glimpse at how the comfortable middle classes lived in the years before the postwar boom.
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