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Tongues begin to wag when a lonely widow becomes romantically involved with a military man. Problems arise when the gossip is filtered down to her own children. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <email@example.com>
Barbara Stanwyck as a war widow facing emotional crisis...
The plot of MY REPUTATION seems a lot like a forerunner of ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS--the Douglas Sirk sudser that had Jane Wyman as a widow whose children disapprove of her choice of a new mate. Here, the children are younger (Scotty Beckett is the youngest boy), and the war widow theme probably rang a bell with audiences that this was intended to appeal to during World War II.
But the hitch is, Warners released it in 1946, three years after it was filmed, when the war was over, which made it dated even then. BARBARA STANWYCK is the widow who's afraid that gossip is going to destroy any chance she has of finding romance with another man.
A trivia note about billing: Warners, it seems, had a backlog of films to be released in the early forties and did the same with DEVOTION (filmed in '43) starring Olivia de Havilland and Ida Lupino. It was released three years after de Havilland left Warner Bros. and won a legal suit against them. As punishment, she was taken off top billing and given third place behind Paul Henried. Jack Warner did the same with GEORGE BRENT. He was no longer with Warners by the time MY REPUTATION was released and Jack Warner saw to it that Brent's name was reduced in all the ads so that Stanwyck had the spotlight to herself. Those were the billing practices then. (I'm surprised Brent didn't care enough to sue over this infraction by the studio).
Frankly, Barbara deserved solo spotlight in MY REPUTATION because never have I seen a more stolid, colorless performance from Brent. Bette Davis often referred to him as "wooden" and that certainly applies here. Stanwyck's scenes might just as well have been played opposite a mannequin wearing a Captain's uniform.
Sharp witted EVE ARDEN's role is practically written out of the story toward the end and she has less punch lines than usual. Yet, all in all, the old-fashioned story itself has enough cozy type of holiday scenes to give it a somewhat softer glow than it otherwise would retain.
Helping to keep the romance warm and believable is Max Steiner's score, particularly one theme that sounds strikingly similar to the kind of music he wrote for SINCE YOU WENT AWAY, especially in that final farewell railroad scene between Stanwyck and Brent.
If you're a Stanwyck fan, this is good for a rainy day, but it's not one of her strongest roles and it's really just passable as drama.
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