It was Leonora Eames' childhood dream come true. She had married Smith Ohlrig, a man worth millions. But her innocent dream became a nightmare once she realizes the truth about her husband ... See full summary »
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It was Leonora Eames' childhood dream come true. She had married Smith Ohlrig, a man worth millions. But her innocent dream became a nightmare once she realizes the truth about her husband - he is power mad and insane! Since he will not grant her a divorce, she leaves her life of luxury on Long Island and goes to work as a receptionist in an impoverished doctor's office in NYC's lower east side. After Smith deceives her into a temporary reconciliation, Leonora becomes pregnant. By the time she realizes she is expecting, she and one of the doctors, Larry Quinada (James Mason), have fallen in love. But she is again lured backed to her wealthy husband to give her child financial security. Her sadistic husband is hell-bent on keeping her and her child prisoner. What will happen to Leonora? Written by
Fiona Kelleghan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I was born rich. My father left me 4 million dollars. But I didn't drink it away, I didn't gamble it away, I didn't marry it away. I knew what to do with it. I've got exactly 22 and a half times that much now, and I'll have 50 times that much before I die. That's what everyone wants, isn't it? Well, I've got it. And I made it myself. Every one of my corporations - every single one - has a different staff, a different lawyer, a different accountant. Not one of them knows anything about each ...
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Not too much of a story going on here - Barbara Bel Geddes (Leonora) gets married to Robert Ryan (Smith Ohlrig) who doesn't really want to marry her. She feels trapped and decides to break away but Ryan is a rich, manipulative bully who wants his own way.
This film does not belong in the Film Noir category as is constantly being suggested - there are too many elements missing for it to be defined in this genre, most glaringly the lack of a 'femme fatale' and the lack of any murder victim. However, Ophuls does direct in a Noirish manner, for example there is a claustrophobic feel to many scenes. His direction provides a depth to many shots and this cranks the interest of the film up a gear, as ultimately, there is not a lot of plot (another element missing that would normally define a Film Noir). This film is about power in relationships and goes down the obvious preachy road of money alone can't make you happy.
Robert Ryan is the standout in the cast and every line he delivers is top quality. His role is based on Howard Hughes, who allowed the performance to go ahead provided that the film leave out any obvious reference to Hughes's business dealings and to his appearance. Ryan gets the ridiculous name of 'Smith Ohlrig' to depict a millionaire and I'm sure that it fooled nobody in it's disguise. James Mason as 'Dr Quinada' is watchable and holds the interest as Ryan's rival in love for Barbara Bel Geddes. He gets, for me, the best line in the film when he says to Bel Geddes on recently meeting Ryan "I've met that man for 3 minutes....and he's not normal..." It's funny because it could apply to so many people that I know - not me, of course.
However, there is something not quite right in the casting of Barbara Bel Geddes. She is slightly frumpy (Shelley Winters style) with a slightly whiny voice (Julie Harris style) and I'm afraid that she is just not believable as the object of desire for these two handsome men. No way. Aside from her appearance, she's actually quite irritating in her meek and mild manner. Ingrid Bergman would have been perfect in this role as she not only plays a victim very well, has the looks/beauty to convince, but she could also convey a more dramatic turnaround in her attitude once she decides to get tough.
A final mention must go to the peculiar way of ending the film - a dead child is something to be celebrated? Wow. Overall, it's an OK film but it's nothing great - Robert Ryan saves it.
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