Bachelor Harry Quincey, head designer in a small-town cloth factory, lives with his selfish sisters, glamorous hypochondriac Lettie and querulous widow Hester. His developing relationship ... See full summary »
Bachelor Harry Quincey, head designer in a small-town cloth factory, lives with his selfish sisters, glamorous hypochondriac Lettie and querulous widow Hester. His developing relationship with new colleague Deborah Brown promises happiness at last...thwarted by passive, then increasingly active opposition from one sister. Will Harry resort to desperate measures? Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
A small, sweet, unusual film dominated by George Sanders
The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry (1945)
George Sanders is a wonder of subtlety, and he rules this movie almost from secrecy he's so quiet and nondescript to a T. He lives in a small town with all the usual small town ways, including insularity. There are three women around him: a plain sister who is simple and sweet and loves him, a beautiful sister who is obsessed with keeping him a bachelor, and a newcomer, a New Yorker who is in town because of the fabric factory that dominates the town.
This is pretty much the set up, and it's plenty because it is the subtle and not so subtle interactions and cross purposes of these three women and the somewhat hapless Mr. Sanders that makes the movie. It's really funny and sad and romantic in its own quirky way. It never loses its way, and the types that each women represent get developed with clarity enough to make you really want what Sanders wants. And doesn't get.
The director Robert Siodmak would be famous soon for a series of great film noirs, but it was his next film that seems to mark a transition, "Spiral Staircase." In that, the photography soars and the sinister aspects surrounding ordinary people add a level of intrigue and fear that this movie simply doesn't want to have. And so you might in some ways find it a little plain, a little sweet without the hard edge that the nasty sister is meant to alone supply. Still, she convinces me just fine, and I rather like the confident New York woman (a little like Bacall in this way).
It does come around to Sanders, the man who committed suicide with a note saying he was just a little bored with life. You can feel that in him here, remarkably. He's so perfectly weary, and yet rather content still. In fact, one treat in the middle of things is him playing piano (he does play) and singing. A remarkable man and unusual actor, worth seeing here.
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