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After a long absence, Mary Jane visits her schoolfriend Eloise, and Eloise's daughter Ramona. Eloise drinks too much and is unhappily married to Lew Wengler. Eloise falls asleep and remembers her time with her true love, Walt Dreiser, at the beginning of the Second World War. She recalls the events that led up to her split with Mary Jane, and how Lew married Eloise rather than Mary Jane. Written by
"It's Love, This Time It's Love, My Foolish Heart"
This film will inevitably get a favorable review from me because it has two things going for it, two things that the Motion Picture Academy recognized. The first was one of the best movie songs ever written and the second was the Oscar nominated performance of its star Susan Hayward who was just entering her prime years as a movie star.
We meet Susan as she's taken to drink and husband Kent Smith has had just about enough of her. Susan has taken to abusing her daughter Gigi Perreau and Smith wants a divorce. She's willing to give it, but not custody of Perreau. As she's talking with her friend Lois Wheeler who was going out with Smith before Hayward took him away in a whirlwind wartime romance the film flashes back to their story or more properly the story of Hayward's real true love from the war, Dana Andrews.
She meets Andrews at a party where a whole lot of serviceman are crashing, welcome though they be. It was the period just before Pearl Harbor when we had built up our armed forces in anticipation that we would be in World War II, just a question of when. She's going to school and her romance with Andrews gets her kicked out which upsets mother, Jessica Royce-Landis, but father Robert Keith remembers his days from World War I and kind of takes to Andrews.
I can't say much more lest I do spoilers, but given the basic facts of the characters I've just laid out, you can probably figure the rest of the plot out.
Dana Andrews during his career in the Forties and Fifties made a specialty of playing Mr. Average Man. My Foolish Heart shows him in that vein as a performer. He and Hayward are a perfect representation of young America in that period.
As for Hayward we see the reason, the genesis of her evolution as an alcoholic in an unhappy marriage. Susan took out a patent on tough, but also romantic and tragic heroines beginning with Smash-Up and continuing on to her career capstone and Oscar winning performance in I Want To Live. She got her second Best Actress nomination for My Foolish Heart, but lost in the Oscar sweepstakes to Olivia DeHavilland for The Heiress.
By the way as good as her scenes with Andrews are, some of Hayward's best work ever on cinema are with Robert Keith. She was obviously Daddy's Little Girl as a child and she and Keith play beautifully off each other.
As for the song as cute as Baby It's Cold Outside is which was the winner for Best Song in 1949, I cannot believe that Victor Young and Ned Washington did not win for the title song of this film. It's been recorded by a whole gang of singers, the recordings I have of it are from Andy Williams and Dick Haymes and a bootleg from one of Bing Crosby's radio broadcasts. I daresay it would get to the top of the charts today even albeit with a more modern arrangement.
My Foolish Heart is one of the great romantic films ever done and definitely in the top percentage of the work of Susan Hayward.
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