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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
One of the most miscast movies ever made--and a complete triumph!
Susan Hayward foolish? Dana Andrews a can't-get-a-date loser? No, I didn't think so either. But they are both so good in their roles that they no only make the film work, they make it a triumph. Hayward was nominated for an Oscar, as was Victor Young's glorious title-song. Both Hayward and Young should have won.
"My Foolish Heart" is essentially a "woman's film," a label that is frequently pejorative. (But then so is "Gone with the Wind.") What makes "Heart" so transcendent, besides Hayward and Andrews, is that the entire film is so well-crafted. The dialog is first rate--by turns poignant, rueful, comic, and sarcastic--from the Epstein twins of "Casablanca" fame. Mark Robson's direction is spot-on, and he has a great cast to work with. As Hayward's father, Robert Keith contributes a beautifully shaded performance. Kent Smith and Lois Wheeler are sympathetic as two who are injured bystanders. In her film debut, Jessie Royce Landis creates the first of her flighty women who are much more than they initially seem.
Victor Young's song is reprised several times during the film and was one of the first title-songs to achieve popularity. It is especially well used in the scene near the end when Hayward is waiting for Kent Smith to bring her a drink. She hits all her marks beautifully, and the song is stunningly used as background.
I doubt that any attempt at a remake would be nearly as successful as the original. They don't make 'em like his any more--no nudity, no questionable language, no violence: just top-notch acting, writing, direction, all set to a marvelous Victor Young score.
And it should be noted that Hayward, despite her Oscar and four other nominations is regrettably underrated and largely forgotten today. Andrews never was given his due when he was alive, and he had an impressive body of work-- for example, "Laura" and "The Best Years of Our Lives" (especially his scene in the moth-balled bomber)--that put him at the forefront of talented leading men of the Forties and Fifties.
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