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Well-to-do Chicagoan, Larry Darrell, breaks off his engagement to Isabel and travels the world seeking enlightenment, eventually finding his guru India. Isabel marries Gray, and following the crash of 1929, is invited to live in Paris with her rich, social climbing, Uncle Elliot. During a sojurn there, Larry, having attained his goal, is reunited with Isabel. While slumming one night Larry, Isabel and company are shocked to discover Sophie, a friend from Chicago. Having lost her husband and child in a tragic accident, Sophie is living the low-life with the help of drugs and an abusive brute. Larry tries to rehabilitate her, but his efforts are sabotaged by Isabel who tries in vain to reignite Larry's interest in herself. Written by
Richard Blinkal <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When the screenplay credits are shown, a curious symbol appears near W. Somerset Maugham's name. It's a symbol meant to ward off the evil eye, and it more often than not appeared on the covers of many of Maugham's novels. See more »
This has got to be one of my favorite films of all. It ranks in my books up there with PLACE IN THE SUN, REAP THE WILD WIND and THE HURRICANE.
Made in the 40s by 20th Century Fox and Producer Darryl F. Zanuck, it stars Tyrone Power as Larry Farrell, a man on a journey to find the values of life. This fascinating journey takes him all over the world until he reaches a summit in India and there he meets a Holy Man, superbly played by Cecil Humphreys, who helps him understand his questions and then sends him back to the real world where he must then take his place in life. Based on the 1943 book of the same name, by W. Somerset Maugham, it does the story justice with the help of Lamar Trotti in transferring it to the screen. I read the book before seeing the film and was not disappointed. Congratulations also goes to director, Edmound Goulding for bringing the truth of the book to life.
Other noteworthy performances were delivered by the lovely Gene Tierney, as Isabel, again in Cassini dresses, and yet another co-starring Tyrone Power film; John Payne, as Gray, in a different type of role as Miss Tierney's husband, Anne Baxter, as the doomed Sophie, in her Academy Award performance, and was she excellent, Clifton Webb as Elliott Templeton, another of Webb's limp-wristed performances and another Academy Award nomination. Herbert Marshall as Maugham himself. Did anyone get the "gay" relationship between he and Templeton? Then there's Lucile Watson, Frank Gilmore and the delightful Elsa Lanchester in supporting roles. I liked Fritz Kortner as Kosti, the de-frocked priest Larry meets at a bar when he is working the mines.
Ray Dorey along with Alfred Newman wrote the theme song "Mam'selle" for the film. This is the best of the times. You can't get better. Power was superb in this. He was an underrated actor because he was such a handsome man. Yet, his abilities as an actor were terrific. He brought the intelligence of Maugham's writing to focus. Miss Baxter showed you the stuff good performers are made of with her shaded performance in this film. Also watch Marshall's reactions. His eyes are fantastic. They way his looks go from actor to actor. And look for the gay undertones between he and Clifton Webb as the eccentric uncle who delves in the upper crust life. Even to the extreme of having a coat of arms embroidered on his underwear. In the final minutes of the film Marshall speaks to Isabel after Larry leaves her for good, saying, "Goodness is, after all, the greatest force in the world . . .and he's got it." This speaks for the film and it's greatness. I think Marshall should have been nominated for his underplayed performance. He is credited with many fine roles in his career. See this classic. It's on VHS. Not to be confused with the pale remake with Bill Murray.
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