Arnold Boult is determined to make his son a success at all costs. He commits arson, causes two suicides, and bribes people. His wife, unable to leave him, becomes alcoholic and dies. His ... See full summary »
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Roy Del Ruth
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Arnold Boult is determined to make his son a success at all costs. He commits arson, causes two suicides, and bribes people. His wife, unable to leave him, becomes alcoholic and dies. His son is killed. After doing time in prison he searches for his illegitimate grandson. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
For years I resisted this movie because of the sobbing title. I expected a maudlin, embarrassing tale.
I should have known better. And while I've never been a particular fan of Spencer Tracy (his emotional range never interested me), this time he worked okay, in that he wasn't a god-damned hero, and there wasn't a bevy of minor actors sucking up to him. I liked him being a bad guy; I liked his covert, vaguely whimsical smile. For the first time, I found him believable, more than stock characterization.
Also, the movie was so well crafted that Tracy's ambitions were always credible. And when you understand the motivation, usually, you are sympathetic.
It was Deborah Kerr who stole my interest. Her character, toward the end of the film, is so broken, that she approached Greek classicism. She was ugly, tear-stained, stooped - and her lamentation carried throughout that great barn of a mansion of a home. She couldn't have been more than 35 (ca.), but she had become 80, in spirit. One knew, when she went upstairs that final time, that she would not be seen again, and would only be spoken of in past tense.
Although Kerr is a favorite, there's only one other film of hers that knocked me out: for her beauty, her rawness and her intact feminity - and that of course is "The Sundowners". These two films place her at the pinnacle of Britain's actors.
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