Standing before a divorce court judge are Sergeant Andy Anderson and Janie Anderson asking him to dissolve their marriage. Janie's father, William Smith, objects and the judge allows him to... See full summary »
Standing before a divorce court judge are Sergeant Andy Anderson and Janie Anderson asking him to dissolve their marriage. Janie's father, William Smith, objects and the judge allows him to give his version of their story. They had met in San Francisco fifteen months earlier and, after knowing each other only three days, had gotten married. Andy was sent overseas the day after the wedding and when he returns and despite the fact that Janie had borne him a son, they find they are almost strangers. Mr. Smith suggests, and the judge orders, that if they retrace their actions over the four days they knew each other they would regain their love. They return to the coffee counter where they met and, later, their actions and conversations in the hotel where they register in separate rooms arouses the suspicions of the hotel clerk and the old, ubiquitous wartime "bellboy" who set themselves up as Janie's guardian. Janie and Andy go to the license bureau and even go to the same minister, with ... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Based on Jean Arthur's definitive biography, The Actress Nobody Knew, critics, and apparently Oller, did not think much of this film or of Arthur's co-star, Lee Bowman. At the beginning of my foray into classic cinema I would have taken this opinion, and the opinion of other legitimate critics at face value. However, having since discovered many, many underrated gems (and underrated actors) that critics in the past and the present overlook, I decided to watch The Impatient Years and form my own opinion.
Jean Arthur is one of my favorite actresses and in "The Impatient Years" (which could also be the title of her fractious tenure at Columbia), she gives one of the best performances of her film career. In contrast to her independent, softly cynical characters of the 1930s, she played slightly befuddled "spinster" roles in the 1940s, but the role of Janie Smith Anderson managed to meld both attributes into an appealing and touching performance. Lee Bowman was equally wonderful in his role as Sgt Andrew Anderson, bringing an assured, low-key type of charm to the screen. I must also praise the supporting cast made up of the fantastic Charles Coburn, and lovely character actors Harry Davenport, Charley Grapewin, Phil Brown, and Grant Mitchell.
Clocking in at a well-rounded 90 minutes, "The Impatient Years" is one of those unsung gems full of humor, pathos, and romance, which also takes a good, hard look at the issue of a runaway marriage and the strain of war. I can only imagine how audiences reacted to this film during war-time, and hope that it brought as much joy and entertainment to them as it did for me.
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