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Robert and Catherine have a quiet little marriage until WWII separates them for three years. Serving in the navy dramatically transforms both of them and they realize how much they resented their old mundane life together. Both dread their inevitable reunion and separately decide to ask for a divorce, but is the marriage really over? Written by
One of the differences between the World War II experiences of the United Kingdom and America was that our war was thousands of miles away and their's was right at home. As a result our cinema produced a lot of comedies as well as drama in films about the war. In the UK the war was no subject for humor before final victory.
When victory did come Alexander Korda produced and directed a delightful comedy that starred Robert Donat and Deborah Kerr about a married couple who have to adjust themselves to the fact that war has made them different people.
Donat had a ship shot out from under him and survived. During his hospital convalescence temptation hits him big time in the person of nurse Ann Todd. In fact he did a bit of succumbing and who wouldn't. Ann Todd who is probably best known for American audiences as Gregory Peck's wife in The Paradine Case was one of the most strikingly beautiful women who ever was on the big screen. She was an exquisite porcelain blond goddess as you'll see here.
As for Kerr she joins the WRENS the British equivalent of the WAVES to do her wartime service in a country that was united and determined to withstand a foreign invader. She's a doormat of a housewife, but with roommate and friend Glynis Johns, Kerr develops a nice self assurance.
At the end of the war when they reunite Donat and Kerr are not sure they're suitable for each other. That has to all be worked out if it can.
Vacation From Marriage was at a turning point in the career of Deborah Kerr. This film was produced by MGM as well as Korda and Kerr would shortly be off to Hollywood and an MGM contract. This film was preview of what American audiences would enjoy for the next twenty years.
As for Donat most movie fans know he suffered his whole life from crippling asthma. Yet he still carries off his military scenes well even though he could never not project a certain frailty in any role he ever undertook. And he was never bad in any film role.
Vacation From Marriage got an Oscar nomination for original screenplay. The story is good and the characters are people the writer, director, and players make you care about. See this one when it's broadcast.
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