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Professor Henry Barnes decides he's lived long enough and contemplates suicide. His attitude is changed by Peggy Taylor, a chipper young mother-to-be who charms him into renting out his attic as an apartment for her and her husband Jason, a former GI struggling to finish college. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <email@example.com>
"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on December 4, 1950 with Jeanne Crain reprising her film role. See more »
You were in the Navy, weren't you, Taylor?
[Professor Collins is a college professor who Taylor thinks is too tough on the GIs returning to school after serving in World War Two]
What kind of duty?
I was on the Vincennes
[a U.S. Navy Cruiser sunk at the Battle of Savo Island]
till she went down and then a little later...
That's a little tough. I was on the Wasp.
[an American aircraft carrier sunk by Japanese submarines]
I-I heard that wasn't exactly a picnic, ...
[...] See more »
On the surface, this film looks like a typical 1940's Technicolor feel good movie On paper, the story deals with a young GI couple looking for an apartment at a University. They find a retired professor, played by Edmund Gwenn, with an attic to rent. With this storyline known, I was expecting to be entertained, a little.
What a surprise though when the movie got rolling... there were so many scenes in this movie that absolutely astonished me. The very first was Gwenn's, rationality for wanting to commit suicide at the beginning of the picture. There was in the script a logic and non-sentimentality for this rational that I was very surprised to see from a film of that era. Then comes Jeanne Crain, who plays the wife. I had always thought Jeanne Crain was a pretty, competent actress and had not seen her but once or twice on the screen. But she is absolutely tremendous as Peggy. She dominates every scene she's in because her presence is just that of aliveness and wonder. Then the movie becomes more surprising when it begins to talk about issues of poverty, making a living, racial issues, money, marriage, education, and so much more. "Never hold money so close in front of you that you can't see anything else". There is a long scene with Gwenn and a group of women talking about Philosophy that is also very refreshing.
Then comes the other surprising parts. Peggy loses her baby...the movie shows the doctor walking into the room saying "The baby's dead" and with a long, long silence, Holden says "Why" and that's it, no more sentimentality about the baby...it's over.
The one scene I was completely taken aback bye was the scene where Gwenn and Holden are trying to put together a baby tub, a gift for Peggy. The scene last almost 5 minutes of these to guys trying to figure out the instructions on putting this thing together. I reminded me of an Eric Rohmer picture, where people are shown as they're doing things without the need to hurry things along for the sake of the plot and gave the viewer a great connection with the characters.
Although it is not on VHS or DVD, try to seek this film on TV or any old moviehouses showing it, you will be delightfully surprised how modern and life affirming this film is. A deeply rewarding experience indeed.
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