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Robert Z. Leonard
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Please say what you have to say to me and go.
If that's the way you want it.
How else would you think I'd want it?
Well, I hoped things might have changed.
That you might have thought it over.
And say all right, Ellen, no hard feelings? It was a fair fight and the best man or, rather, girl won?
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The soaper's better than it had any right to be. A plain looking single woman (McGuire) has a heart condition and only a year to live. Her wealthy father (Calhern) wants to inject some happiness into her remaining year, so he bribes handsome Dan (Johnson) to marry her. Trouble is this leaves cold-hearted Maud (Roman) minus her heart's desire, Dan. Thus she plots revenge.
A plain girl with a year to live!sure it's a tear-jerker but done intelligently without rubbing our nose in it. Ellen's had a difficult time holding onto self- respect after years of romantic rejection. Her sense of dignity has somewhat hardened, making her more sympathetic than likable. It's a difficult role, similar to DeHaviland's in The Heiress (1949). Fortunately, winning actress McGuire rivets interest in the woman's plight despite an unsmiling demeanor. At the same time, Johnson's boyish charm hits the right notes, though the production fudges on showing Dan's grasping side. To me, that's the movie's biggest flaw, though given the script's general direction, probably understandable. On the other hand, credit MGM's production crew with first-rate craftsmanship in putting the elements together in tasteful fashion. Good also to see such supporting players as Ray Collins and Louis Calhern adding their brand of plausibility to the results. And credit someonewriters, producer?with avoiding a clichéd ending.
No, there's nothing memorable here. But considering the many excesses a movie like this is subject to, the results amount to an affecting exercise in sheer Hollywood professionalism.
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