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Andrew L. Stone
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Sophie loved Edmund, but he left town when her parents forced her to marry wealthy Octavius. Years later, Edmund returns with his son, William. Sophie's daughter, Marguerite, and William fall in love. Marguerite's sister, Marianne, also loves William. Timothy, a lowly carpenter, secretly loves Marianne. He kills a man in a fight, and Edmund helps him flee to New Zealand. William deserts inadvertently from the navy, and also flees in disgrace to New Zealand, where he and Timothy start a profitable business. One night, drunk, William writes Octavius, demanding his daughter's hand; but, being drunk, he errs. Written by
James Barrett <firstname.lastname@example.org>
According to a January 1986 Hollywood Reporter article, Donna Reed initially did not want to play the role of Marguerite because she thought that Lana Turner was prettier and that audiences would not believe that William would chose her over Lana. See more »
[Discussing William's love for Marguerite]
But when you wrote to my father you lied. You asked for my hand in marriage.
I didn't lie. Listen to me, Marianne. I love you.
Listen to more lies! You never loved me! You loved *her*. But you sent for me. Why?
It wasn't a lie. It was o...
Why did you send for me?
I'll tell you, Marianne. Now I must tell you. I never wanted you to know. I never thought you would ever find out. But now...
What did you never want me to find out?
That I accidentally wrote ...
[...] See more »
Eye-popping special effects add luster to rich romantic drama...
Individual performances in this romantic epic are excellent--Lana Turner, Van Heflin, Donna Reed and Richard Hart do some fine work. Even more impressive are three of the supporting players involved in a sub-plot of their own: Frank Morgan, Edmund Gwenn and Gladys Cooper. Basically a love story depicting two sisters in love with the same man (Richard Hart) and what happens when, in a drunken stupor, he sends for the wrong woman to join him at an outpost in New Zealand. Plot complications thicken and the rest of the story is told against a backdrop of native uprisings, tidal waves and earthquakes that are all realistically depicted. No wonder the film won an Oscar for its startling Special Effects.
Lana Turner does a wonderful job as the spirited heroine on an emotional roller-coaster and Van Heflin gives his usual impressive performance as the only man who knows the truth about her relationship with Richard Hart. Donna Reed is sincere as the good sister and has a gripping scene where she is stranded on an island as the tide closes in and must climb an inner cave wall to the safety of a monastery. She also has an extraordinary moment at her mother's deathbed when confessions of a personal sort are made to her and her grieving father.
Edmund Gwenn and Gladys Cooper do an outstanding job of conveying their emotions here. Richly satisfying as a romantic drama, its high production values give it that special MGM gloss worthy of an epic film. It's a lengthy film and by the time it's all over, you feel as though you've experienced a lifetime of personal events.
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