Unexpectedly Engrossing Domestic Drama from Popular Whipple Novel
Aside from its cop-out sweetness-and-light conclusion, this domestic drama is a borderline noir that holds the attention rather well, thanks to extremely realistic writing (full of fascinating yet telling details), extremely ingratiating acting (the characters of course were both interesting and well-rounded to begin with), an unstinting budget and skillful technical credits. Only in the last few minutes when the principals visit the local cathedral and reflect on what life has taught them, does this film's grip on its audience lessen.
As usual, Mervyn Johns manages to overcome his somewhat unprepossessing screen presence to give an appealing performance of the ambitious family man who fails to make the right decisions in his dealings with charming but unscrupulous businessman, Alfred Drayton. Joyce Howard is also most winning as the daughter with similar ambitions to better herself. Joan Greenwood has a very small role as the other daughter, being completely overshadowed by Miss Howard and other members of the cast. One of the most ingratiating portrayals is expertly provided by Frederick Cooper who gets every inch of dramatic sympathy out of an extremely difficult role.
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