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 ... See full summary »
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 lead up to her split with Mary Jane, and how Lew married Eloise rather than Mary Jane. Written by
Total wartime romance--Andrews and Hayward are perfect
My Foolish Heart (1949)
Boy this one is under the radar. Talk about high drama, and with the start of WWII at the center of it. I can only imagine how many people weeped at this one in 1949 because the main story is the flashback of a woman who had a romance go wrong, and surely half the audience had their romances go wrong at the start of the war.
Dana Andrews is his cool, charming, warm, funny best, with that usual holding back all the time that makes him slow to like and easy to love. Susan Hayward shows the range she had, from cold, selfish conniver to warm and bubbly innocent. Quite a remarkable pair of performances, and a plot that circles around on itself nicely. The screen writing was by the famous Epstein brothers, who also wrote the core of "Casablanca" (another movie about the start of America's involvement in the war), and there are some zingers here. And some over the top weepy lines, too.
If this movie isn't archetypal or classic, it's only because a few small things don't fully click. One of them might be the all-too-ordinary scenes--there is nothing bigger than life here except the story itself, which of course is meant to be familiar and not bigger than life at all, yet it is because it's so dramatic. There are secondary actors who hold up in varying degrees. Robert Keith plays Hayward's father with total sympathy, but Jessie Royce Landis as her mother is a bit of her usual caricature, not quite fitting in here (except for some light comedy). Kent Smith is a perfect second man, the "good" man who is more honor than charm, but still likable, and Lois Wheeler is a great if somewhat predictable second woman, also all goodness.
But the story, as ordinary as the elements of it are on purpose, grows in its intensity scene by scene until a slightly sudden and convenient wrap.
This is a great one, really, especially if you like films of the period dealing with the war from the home front perspective. There are a few scenes sprinkled through the film that touch on archetypal America--a football game, and a radio announcement saying that a ship had been hit in Pearl Harbor, and good old Grand Central Station. Don't miss this one.
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