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Seriously ill, concert pianist Karen Duncan is admitted to a Swiss sanitorium. Despite being attracted to Dr Tony Stanton she ignores his warnings of possibly fatal consequences unless she rests completely. Rather, she opts for a livelier time in Monte Carlo with dashing Paul Clermont. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <email@example.com>
Richly made with Stanwyck in great form, but obvious and old fashioned even for 1947
The Other Love (1947)
A torrid but never horrid romantic movie, what was called then a "woman's picture" and is now in the category of "chick flic." Which is what makes it worth watching right there--it's dripping with love and longing and ideals gone astray. It's set in a sanitarium the Swiss Alps and is grand as well as comforting. And it stars Barbara Stanwyck as a world famous pianist, and she pulls every scene up a notch. The men are less compelling: David Niven is necessarily dry and reserved (and no great contribution to the romance), and Richard Conte is supposed to be the Italian love idol but in fact he's dry and reserved, too, unnecessarily.
The plot is based on a short story by the uneven but legendary German writer Erich Maria Remarque (who is neither a woman nor French), whose work is the basis of several movies, notably the pacifist WWI novel, "All Quiet on the Western Front." I say all this because the one clear flaw in this movie is the plot, the Remarque part of it. In a way, the idea of going to a t.b. clinic to get better or die (the two options equally likely back then) and having an arrogant famous woman face her mortality, sounds like a no-brainer. And her back and forth, her rebellion, her falling in love (tepidly) or falling in lust (still rather tepidly) is great stuff not quite exploited. And there is no real turn of events. It plays itself out, beautifully but inexorably.
That is, this is a really warm, gorgeous movie, with photography by Victor Milner, who had just finished two cinematic masterpieces ("It's a Wonderful Life" and Stanwyck's previous film, "The Strange Love of Martha Ivers"). And the music is great (of course), led by Miklos Rozsa, an old world high romantic composer. You want to be there, and you relate to Stanwyck's dilemma. It's a great movie in its bones, but never quite getting off the ground. Yet it is about stuff that matters: acceptance and deception in the face of death, from several sides. And it is, in fact, about true love of some highly idealized, self-sacrificing kind.
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