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Portrait of Clare (1950)

 -  Drama  -  24 June 1951 (USA)
5.9
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Title: Portrait of Clare (1950)

Portrait of Clare (1950) on IMDb 5.9/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Margaret Johnston ...
Clare Hingston
...
Robert Hart
Robin Bailey ...
Dudley Wilburn
Ronald Howard ...
Ralph Hingston
Jeremy Spenser ...
Steven Hingston
Marjorie Fielding ...
Aunt Cathie
Molly Urquhart ...
Thirza
Beckett Bould ...
Bissell
Anthony Nicholls ...
Dr. Boyd
Lloyd Pearson ...
Sir Joseph Hingston
Mary Clare ...
Lady Hingston
S. Griffiths-Moss ...
Bates
Campbell Copelin ...
Inspector Cunningham
Bruce Seton ...
Lord Steven Wolverbury
Yvonne Andre ...
Marguerite
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Storyline

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Plot Keywords:

based on novel | See All (1) »

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

24 June 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

I mariti di lady Clara  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Soundtracks

Scherzo In B Flat Minor, Op. 31, No.2
(uncredited)
Music by Frédéric Chopin
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User Reviews

 
A Gentle, Traditional British Melodrama
14 January 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This is a charming and delightful tale, told in languid fashion, of the life story of the character Clare Hingston (played by Margaret Johnston), as she relates it to her own granddaughter to tell her the importance of true love. It is based on a novel by the popular novelist Francis Brett Young (1884-1954). The tale is set in Yorkshire, and most of it takes place towards the end of the 19th century. Clare falls deeply in love with 'the love of her life' Ralph Hingston and marries him. But he drowns before the birth of their son, Stephen. This leads to years of lonely young widowhood, with Clare consoling herself by playing endless Brahms, Chopin, and Schumann on her piano, while young Stephen (excellently played by child actor Jeremy Spenser) grows up to become rather disturbed and difficult to handle. Clare's parents-in-law the Hingstons are nouveaux-riches who have made a fortune from 'trade', live in a gigantic house, and have obtained or bought a title. Lady Hingston, played by the fiery Mary Clare at full volume, is a monstrous harridan and arch-snob, giving Clare no end of hell over this and that, claiming 'my grandson' and constantly trying to take him to her house, and responsible for endless trouble and stress. Worn down by it all, the dreamy Clare (played with a rather tepid gentility and delicacy by Johnston, so that one wonders why any man would get excited about her, but then this was Victorian England I suppose) finally succumbs to the entreaties of her lawyer Dudley Wilburn (played very well by Robin Bailey, with obnoxious dignity) to marry him. She does not love him at all, but she does this 'to provide a father for Stephen' and also to act as a barrier to the horrible Lady Hingston. Big mistake! He turns out to be a nightmare as a husband, fastidious, tedious, petty, tyrannical, loveless, and he not only hates young Stephen but shows it. Eventually this drives the child to run away by jumping out of a window in a severe thunderstorm and nearly getting killed. So, faced with such an extreme situation, the couple finally decide to live apart. Meanwhile, Wilburn's handsome young cousin, also a lawyer, develops genuine sympathy and love for Clare. He is excellently played by a fresh-faced Richard Todd, whose first credited film roles were only the previous year. Todd and Clare acknowledge their love for one another but because people then didn't get divorced, they wait until Wilburn dies years later, before marrying and finding perfect happiness. Clare as an old lady tells this to her impetuous granddaughter (daughter of the now grown Stephen), who has lost the love of her life in the First World War and is about to throw herself into marriage with someone she doesn't love rather than wait and hope that she will one day find another soul-mate. The film is well directed by Lance Comfort, who died in 1966 aged only 58, having directed 44 films between 1942 and 1965, few if any of which are familiar or available today, having all seemingly dropped into the Black Hole of British cinema history from which there seems to be no DVD return. The British DVD market is too small, presumably, to make the revival of all these old films economical, in stark contrast to America, where there are so many cinema buffs that they will buy anything in sufficient quantities to make almost any reissue viable. The British TV channels do not like old movies either, so none of these films are ever seen even on television (again, in strong contrast to America). I obtained this film from a private collector. I notice that no one has ever reviewed it for IMDb before. Alas for old British movies!


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