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Polly Fulton is the only daughter of rich industrialist B.F. Fulton. She is about to marry the man of her dreams, attorney Robert Tasmin, when she meets the intellectual Thomas Brett. They fall in love and soon they marry. Brett has always been opposed to the lavish lifestyle of the rich, and the anger he feels, when he realizes that he has through his marriage become one of the wealthy, is turned against his wife. Written by
In the scene where Barbara Stanwyck, playing the new bride, was supposed to be carried across the threshold by her husband, she and director Robert Z. Leonard cooked up a practical joke and draped her body with heavy chains under the mink coat she wore, making it impossible for Van Heflin to pick her up. See more »
It may be that my nine-star rating is reactionary. I added one extra star because I thought the six that were displayed was at least one too few.) And it may be that the apparent custom of poo-pooing this movie has resulted from the government authorities of the time - or even the present - and their sympathizers, finding industialist B. F. Fulton's after dinner speech about being confined to a two-by-four room, treated like a schoolboy and "told how to run my own business" a bit over the top.
Both B. F. Fulton, played by Charles Coburn, and his daughter Polly, played by Barbara Stanwyck, along with Polly's mother, represent the rich American industrial class in this film, and are drawn far more sympathetically than members of the opposing, intellectual/moralist camp. The moralist male hero of this love-story-with-timely-political-interest (which has been ineptly described as a soap opera) is no exception, as he frequently gets what he thinks are deficient moral standards of his opponents mixed up with just being a member of the opposing camp, and tends to solve his arguments by turning tail and walking out once and for all (before returning) except once notably when Barbara tells him to stay put: so much for alleged female stereotypes.
This may be the reason Van Heflin's performance is not so well liked - because of the personality problems of the character he portrays. His friend and cohort, played by Keenan Wynn, if anything, is worse, constantly making aspersions and predictions of high import about people that have no basis in fact on his radio program "There's one good thing though, he's only on 3 days a week," quips B. F. Fulton.) though he is more honest than Heflin's character, openly admitting at one point that he consciously uses his victims - with no regard for veracity of the claims he makes about them - for his own selfish ends.
It doesn't seem there can be much argument that the characters of Polly and B. F. Fulton are not played with affection by the two celebrated actors. And that of B. F. Fulton is completely devoid of any visible selfish motive, a wholly good egg. Stanwyck has curtailed her sassier, blacker side to make way for the by-birth-and-training more milque-toasty ingenue, and does so consistently. And she's good too, one slip - a request by this aristocrat with a conscious made early in the film that a friend of her jilted erstwhile fiancé engage himself in insider trading - notwithstanding: this apparently to be interpreted as an uncharacteristic youthful indiscretion.
For the most part, the three Fulton family characters represent the epitome of noble goodness and we are taken in when Fulton senior soliloquizes the vanishing of his own breed during his last appearance. According to other reviewers here, the movie uses lines from an original J. P. Marquand novel, and the many sometimes ironic and clever turns of phrase help to ingratiate these characters, increasing the high level of believability and naturalness.
Even the scenery and music seem to be something special. (No credit is given for the music in the version I saw.) From the play of the morning light in the Fultons' Park Avenue apartment, as the little blacksmith of their whimsical parlor clock hammers out the chimes of the hour, to the unflattering contrast of oppressiveness in the heavily draped and damasked dining compartment of Polly's formal custom built mansion... From the creepily groaning nonharmonic tones derivative of Wagner's Im Treibhaus, to the more exaltant reminiscence of Tristan und Isolde (for which the former was a study) heard later on - and of course the score no doubt has more to distinguish it than these often alluded to war horses of movie music genre - special care has been taken.
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