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|Index||32 reviews in total|
This one may seem quite turgid to a modern audience's sensibilities but, for its time, it was fairly strong stuff, with solid performances by its three leads, Crawford, Fonda and Andrews, under Otto Preminger's brisk direction. Dana, who never really achieved the recognition he deserved for the subtlety of his work, in an extremely difficult role, gives it all the shadings one could wish for. Nice production values and one of the talented David Raksin's best scores enhance a very watchable story with an outcome that isn't as predictable as it seems, come the final clinch.
In the early scenes, Crawford has a dog that looks like a border
collie. His name is Tubby and she appears to dote on him. Suddenly, he
That said, this is one of Crawford's very best movie's. Twentieth Century Fox, and Otto Preminger, did beautifully by her.
So many things to say ...! It takes place in the neighborhood where I was born and still live. The Greenwich Theater, where Joan attends a movie, was a staple of Greenwich Village. When it was twinned it started showing less interesting things but it was still a landmark. Then it was torn down and in its place stands a health club.
The diner where Henry Fonda waits for Crawford while she's at the movie is still there. The curtain in its window looks the same -- almost 60 years later.
Crawford and Dana Andrews make a somewhat unlikely torrid romantic duo. But they work well together. The same can be said for Crawford and Fonda. Their romance is a bit more implausible but, again, they are directed beautifully and advance the plot admirably.
In a sense, this is Fonda's closest brush with film noir. He is a vet who has also lost his wife. The scene in which he thrashes around a nightmare is brilliantly staged. The background music there, as elsewhere, is excellent.
Most of the characters speak in a sort of Henry Higgins manner. "Hurricane" is pronounced just as Eliza Doolittle was taught to say it: "hurricen." Crawford always had that quality -- "syew" for "sue," "cahn't" for "can't." But the movie withstands these petty issues. It's exciting and it is beautifully cast. Ruth Warrick is superb in the small role of Andrews's wife. Peggy Ann Garner is too, as one of his daughters. So is the girl playing his other daughter. And Crawford's roommate, whose name I don't recognize, is convincing as well.
This is one of the lesser known vehicles of all three of its stars and not one of Preminger's better known, either. But it's fascinating and deserves kudos for all concerned.
I liked this film a lot because it's a rare movie where Joan Crawford doesn't overshadow her male co-stars and here she is pitted up against two fine male actors who match her emotions and intelligence. Dana Andrews was never better stepping out from his usual good guy roles to play a heel with compassion. Mr Andrews acting is both subtle and emotinaly strong. Coming off his strong performance a year earlier in the Best Years of Our Lives he was clearly at his peak at this time. There is a lot going on in this film from suggestions of child abuse on the part of Ruth Warrick to an interesting spin on the theme of infidelity where the most sympathetic character is the "other" woman Daisy Kenyon. I can see why this role would have appealed to Ms. Crawford having played variotions on it in "The Women" and "Rain" among others throughout her career. She is the wise one here and it makes the movie very interesting for that reason. I won't say who wins her in the end but it leaves a nice smile on your face and you have a little laugh to boot.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Preminger Paradox has often been noted: Otto was a notorious tyrant
on the set, but his films are like courtrooms in a good way. Everyone
gets a fair hearing. The keynote of Preminger's movies is moral
ambiguity; they never turn on a simple axis of good and evil, and they
feature few characters who are entirely sympathetic or unsympathetic.
And despite his legendary tantrums, he consistently drew subtle,
tamped-down performances from the actors he terrorized. DAISY KENYON
displays all of these virtues and uses them to complicate what would
otherwise be a conventional love-triangle plot. The film is impressive
in its nuance, complexity and ambivalence. It's not completely
satisfying, but perhaps that's the point. By the end, you realize that
no possible outcome to the story can really be a happy ending.
It's trite but tempting to say that this is a Joan Crawford movie for people who don't like Joan Crawford. Despite her central, eponymous role, Crawford as Daisy is never as interesting as the two men in her life, Dan O'Mara (Dana Andrews) and Peter Lapham (Henry Fonda). Neither Andrews nor Fonda wanted to do the movie, presumably feeling that they would be playing second fiddles to the female star, but they outshine her. Crawford wanted desperately to do the movie, and it's easy to see why: at 40-something she gets to play an attractive young career-woman being fought over by two very attractive men. (Some predicament! I guess that's why they call this a "woman's picture.") However, girlish dresses with lace collars don't make Crawford look any younger, and the shadowy lighting allegedly designed to hide her wrinkles only adds to the inappropriate sense that she might be about to reach for a carving knife. Crawford is great in MILDRED PIERCE, SUDDEN FEAR and POSSESSED, all made around the same time. Here she's not only too old but too strong and too alarmingly intense for a character who should be softer and more likable.
Daisy is a successful commercial artist involved with a married man. She loves him but knows it's a dead-end relationship, so she agrees to marry another man whom she doesn't love, but who needs her badly. This is pretty standard stuff, but in detail it's oddly persuasive. Dan O'Mara is a glib, high-powered lawyer, spoiled and overconfident, a man who cheats on his wife and treats her with cold contempt. He's a heeland yet Dana Andrews makes him not only sexy but somehow sympathetic. (This was the third of four films Andrews made with Preminger, a quartet that gave him his best roles and made brilliant use of his gift for ambivalence.) Everything comes too easily for Dan; he knows he's smarter than the people around him, and his charm is irresistible, despite his slick habit of calling everyone "honeybunch" and "dewdrop." His daughters adore him, his secretaries adore him, maitre-d's adore him. Then everything goes wrong: he loses the first case he ever really cared about (defending a Japanese veteran dispossessed of his land), he loses his daughters to divorce, and then he loses his mistress. The bleakness that comes out in his face feels like it was there all along, under the smirk. Dana Andrews had the most haunted eyes in Hollywood. Here they're haunted by self-knowledge.
Peter Lapham is a lonely, psychologically wounded veteran and widower. He's gentle and low-key; his vocation as a yacht-designer hints at something graceful and fine in him. But there's something creepy about him too; he declares his love for Daisy on their first date, then forgets to call her, then sets up surveillance and follows her home. "The world's dead and everyone in it is dead except you," he tells her unnervingly. Peter is obviously the more deserving man, but his method of pursuing Daisy is sneakily passive-aggressive, and they are never as convincing a couple as Daisy and Dan. You can't tell up to the last minute which man she will end up with, or even which one you want her to end up with, which is the film's triumph.
DAISY KENYON has been released on DVD as part of Fox's Film Noir series, which is misleading, but there is something hard to place about the film. The look is typical forties high-gloss (Daisy lives in a ridiculously palatial "Greenwich Village" apartment, which her lover refers to as a "hovel," on an eerily deserted studio street), but the shadows are as dark as any noir. And there is an undercurrent of unpleasantness throughout the filmnightmares, child abuse, racism, adultery. This too is typical of Preminger, who did more than anyone to force Hollywood to grow up and face the facts of life. The shadows aren't only in the cinematography; they don't just fall across the characters but spread from inside them.
This movie was surprisingly good.....I watched simply because I usually like Joan Crawford movies, but once this film began I was completely hooked. The performances were all first rate, and the script was excellent. Joan Crawford, Dana Andrews and Henry Fonda were equally great in their respective parts, in fact, I thought it was one of Henry Fonda's better early roles.
This film is the latest release in the Fox Film Noir DVD series. Although it is not a noir film at all, but is instead a potent emotional melodrama, this does not matter. We don't complain, do we, when splendid DVDs of classic films are released under any pretext from those perfectly preserved negatives sitting in California archives crying in unison: 'Release me! Release me!' Anything directed by Otto Preminger is welcome. He may have been a nightmare as a person, but his films were terrific. This film is beautifully directed, and the lighting by Ken Shamroy and the sets by art directors George David and Lyle Wheeler all combine to give tremendous atmosphere to a film which could so easily have had none. Shamroy's lighting is not only good because of the shadows, but the subtle ways he picks out the faces and the eyes. Those were the days! Who can do that so well now? The Hollywood stars then knew how to play to their lights in order to deify themselves to still higher celestial orders. In those days, facial surgery took place by lighting methods, and there was no need for the knife. I am far from being a Joan Crawford admirer, but although she was an even worse nightmare than Preminger as a person, she can act with fantastic, mesmeric power when she wants to. And she does so here. The story is about a confused 'independent woman' of the immediate postwar era who is a mistress of a self-absorbed cad and the wife of a perversely self-denying idealist. Which shall she choose? She dithers with all the uncertainty of a woman in love who is not sure with whom. Does she go for the strong and cruel one, or the weak and adoring one? (Animal instinct always urges the former, on the premise that it is a better breeding prospect for the species that the strong, however cruel, should procreate.) Dana Andrews, usually a nice guy in films, here does a very good job of being a real jerk. Henry Fonda always found it easy, with his relaxed, gangly walk of a hillbilly, to be Mr. Nice Guy, since after all, only nice guys walk like that. He doesn't have a lot of acting to do, but what is needed is there. (No need to chew gum or 'baccy' this time.) This love triangle is greatly aided by a spectacular performance in a supporting role by Ruth Warrick as a harridan wife of Dana Andrews, although the fact that she is a child abuser who beats up her own little girl is severely down-played in the film. There are some wonderful small touches: a garrulous taxi driver reciting endless boring statistics about his trade, and a glassy-eyed couple who descend the stairs and do not say hello, the woman surprisingly being former silent film star Mae Marsh! Yes, it is a pity about the Greenwich Theatre being gone, not to mention Pennsylvania Station, of the interior of which we get a glimpse. This is a powerful soap opera story raised to a higher level by the talent involved.
I've seen about a dozen Preminger films and this is my favorite. I wasn't expecting too much once the movie began because it seemed I had seen this all done before but Preminger's characters (as is usually the case) are much more realistic than typical Hollywood movies of this era. The characterization actually compares favorably to foreign films of the time, like for example Quai des Orfèvres from the same year; this movie could easily have been a French production. I'm not much a fan of Crawford or Fonda but this is probably the best I've seen Fonda; and Crawford was just fine. Dana Andrews is superb - probably his best movie! What made this movie for me was that I could relate to all three main characters - in many ways they are more ideas (or philosophies) than actual people but the odd thing is that the line was so blurred that even though I knew this was the case I still enjoyed them as people. What puts this above the other Premingers I've seen is the very tight script, the fast pacing, and three fully realized characters that came across not only as real but as themes in themselves. Add in a memorable supporting cast and everything just blends together to make a perfect concoction.
Commerical artist Daisy Kenyon (Joan Crawford) is in love with married
Dan O'Mara (Dana Andrews). She wants him but realizes he'll never
divorce his wife (Ruth Warrick). She instead marries a man she doesn't
love (Henry Fonda) to break it off with Dan completely. But things
don't turn out all that well...
This starts off as a very interesting Crawford movie. It's beautifully shot in a film noir style which gives an appropriate tone to the film. She plays a woman who wants to move ahead but can't because of her love for the wrong man. The direction is good, the dialogue sharp and the acting is great by Andrews (never more romantic) and Crawford (never stronger). But it falls apart completely at the halfway mark and turns into a dreary romantic triangle. The ending especially was SO predictable it had me rolling my eyes. Still this is worth seeing for the direction and acting alone. Also there's a strong subplot dealing with child abuse! So this is worth seeing. I give it a 7.
A lot of Joan Crawford titles are the actual characters she plays such as SADIE McKEE, LETTY LYNTON, MILDRED PIERCE, HARRIET CRAIG and this one. Made in 1947, two years after she won the Oscar for MILDRED and during a period where she was making some of her best films at Warners (she was loaned to Fox for this). However, this is one of the weaker ones during that time, but not a bad one. It's a typical, glossy soap opera with Joan in a love triangle with married lawyer (Andrews) & soldier (Fonda). It's rather predictable and drags towards the end, but Joan gives a good, solid performance. 2.5 out of 4.
This is a love triangle but it's not the melodrama of the thirties where the abandoned woman had to die alone ("Back Street") or to become a businesswoman ("Imitation of life" ) or to do both ("Only yesterday").Now the mistress has a good job and she does not want to renege on love.that said,the story is derivative and it is too bad that the Andrews/daughter relationship should only be skimmed over ,and that the part of his wife should be so underwritten.The three leads ,Joan Crawford,Henry Fonda and the always reliable Dana Andrews make the film ,if not a winner, at least something watchable. It is not to be ranked among the great Preminger's works though.
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