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On the death of her mother, the vivacious Clio Dulaine returns from Paris to her childhood home in New Orleans to seek revenge for the humiliation her mother suffered there from her father's wife's family. She also plans to marry a rich man to attain the status and respectability her mother never had, but falls for Texas gambler Clint Maroon instead. When he leaves New Orleans for the horse racing season at Saratoga Springs, she follows him there to seek her fortune - or someone else's. Written by
Joyce Bradsher <email@example.com>
A Little Real History in A highly Fictionalized Story
I have to admit I am prejudiced about my vote on this film, but I have strong reasons as I know some of the true history that was given the Hollywood treatment here. Edna Ferber's novel upon which this is based is from an era where real names can't be used. In a way, this film is all smoke & mirrors. Even though it was released in 1946, it was filmed shortly after Casablanca. Ingrid Bergman is at her most radiant in this movie as a brunette.
She plays a beautiful woman who is trying to trade on her beauty to get a rich husband. Today that is a gold digger, but in this social era, she is desirable & the kind of woman who makes all the men want her, & all the old snooty society types talk of her & avoid her, while wishing they were her. Ingrid is at her best & plays this role well.
Some sympathy for Ingrids character is raised in the New Orleans section of this film as she manages to get a decent belated tomb for her scandalized mother as part of the settlement by her relatives to get her to leave New Orleans. The snooty family of relatives there are so scandalized by her that they will do almost anything she asks to get her to leave town.
Gary Cooper is good in this film though he already appears to be aging a bit to play a dashing Texan Bachelor/Gambler. He pulls it off well considering that handicap which he appeared older than he was due to his real life chain smoking. Flora Robison as Ingrid's Maid got nominated for an Oscar as supporting actress in this film. Jerry Austin as Cupidor was over-looked in many ways for his role but is the only comic relief in the film & does it well.
When the film moves to Saratoga, it depicts accurately how important Saratoga was in that era. I like the sequence when Bergman walks to the Saratoge Spring to get some of the "sulfur" water which everyone considered so healthy then. When she drinks some she forces herself not to make a face and comments how good it is & that she must have more.
The real history is the railroad battle which really occurred on the rail line in Tunnel, New York- which is the actual Saratoga Trunk the film title is derived from. This battle actually happened in 1869 between agents for Andrew Carnagie & J. P. Morgan. The line was the economic key to the country in 1869 connecting coal country & the east coast. The references to it are throughout the film are very real. There is even some dialog describing Carnagie as a "Scot" though the reference is vague & unfamiliar to anyone not knowing the history around the battle.
The railroad line & the railroad tunnel in Tunnel, New York (zip code 13848) still exist although the film was shot in California. The real tunnel is about 1 mile long. It is still part of a key freight line today, years after this occurred. I grew up there. Gary Cooper's line in the film while he is riding the train into the tunnel is right, it is still "mighty pretty country".
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