Fourteen-year-old Tessa is hopelessly in love with handsome composer Lewis Dodd, a family friend. Lewis adores Tessa, but has never shown any romantic feelings toward her. When Tessa's ... See full summary »
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William A. Seiter
Fourteen-year-old Tessa is hopelessly in love with handsome composer Lewis Dodd, a family friend. Lewis adores Tessa, but has never shown any romantic feelings toward her. When Tessa's father dies, Lewis contacts her late mother's wealthy family so they'll take care of Tessa and her sisters. Lewis becomes taken with Tessa's haughty cousin Florence and the two soon marry and head off for Florence's estate in England. Meanwhile, Florence sends Tessa and her sister Paula off to finishing school. The girls run away from school and Tessa moves in with Florence and Louis. Florence soon becomes consumed with jealousy over the bond between her husband and Tessa. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This film is one of the hardest to find great films of its day. Joan Fontaine considers it to be one of her two best performances, the other being her work in Letter From An Unknown Woman. Both films share an abundance of similarities. In each, she devotes her life to her love of a musician. Music is as significant and intrinsic to the films as any major character. In addition, the two films both allow Fontaine the dramatic luxury of playing her characters as children. She pulls this off more successfully than any other actress I have seen. In fact, my favorite parts of both films were the early scenes in which she was playing her characters at their most youthful. The Constant Nymph offers some fascinatingly complex characterizations, including Alexis Smith's Florence, whom we hate and feel sorry for at the same time (for stealing away Charles Boyer from Joan Fontaine). This is a very special film with some truly beautiful music. Catch it if you can!
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