A sickly English woman runs a store by herself, while her irresponsible son travels aimlessly, refusing to contact her. When told that his mother has cancer, the young man comes home, reforms himself, and helps his mom run the shop. Soon however, each becomes involved in illegal activities. Written by
Screenwriter Clifford Odets was stunned when he was first told of the upcoming picture. He recalled, "It was about a 19 year old boy with pimples whose two desires are to have a girl friend and to get a new suit of clothes. 'Are you sure it's right for Cary Grant?' I said. It seemed they were, so I had to change the concept of the book considerably." See more »
When Ernie is carrying Aggie's cello, the angle at which he holds the cello changes between shots. See more »
Don't worry for me. I'm here if you need me. I can't help my own nature. If I love you it's something I can't help, and something that I need. People are what they are and love what they love, and I don't see any sense in trying to be something else. I wouldn't trade it for a box at the opera, the thing I feel for you. And you can't change it or take it away from me. And there you are mister jack in the box.
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This ernest turn at portraying Cockney life quickly becomes a fascinating story with strong characterisation. The initial narration, a touch overdone, gives a tantalising glance at future events that never appear in the film. At first, Grant seems to be playing his part with a strange over-zealous streak but we rapidly understand that this is the nature of his Ernie Mott (like Nic Cage in Wild at Heart, this is a man with clothes that represent his sense of independence), a happy-go-lucky character with a brooding sense of social injustice. Everything bad comes with a dose of sugar, a kiss if you like, to sweeten the experience and make life seem better than it really is. This is one of those pictures that plays out like a languishing soap opera - insightful and compassionate with moments of excitement - just enough to keep 'Ma' happy. This would probably work today as a remake but I suspect the directors would play up the sex and violence to such a level that the real essence of 'want and need' would be lost. Worth watching.
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