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Florence and Chet Keefer have had a troublesome marriage. Whilst in the middle of a divorce hearing the judge encourages them to remember the good times they have had hoping that the marriage can be saved. Written by
Col Needham <email@example.com>
At the film comes to the classical "The End" over the final shot of the two main characters in background, instead of the usual fade-out, Columbia Pictures added the advertisement: "You have just seen our New Personality - ALDO RAY - Please watch for his next picture." In the background, a short sequence of Aldo Ray speaking (no dialogue heard - simply the remaining ending score) in a bedroom setting seen in the movie. See more »
The story follows a young couple through courtship, honeymoon, parenthood and breakup.
The movie looks like a worthy experiment that doesn't quite work. The problemas others point outlies with the abrupt change of tone in the movie's middle that causes a radical re-adjustment on the viewer's part. To that point, the style is generally charming and light-hearted, appropriate to the couple's courtship and honeymoon period. I love the way each remembers the past the way he or she wants it to be, while the camera in flashback shows quite the opposite. It's pretty funny. This early part also provides Holliday with opportunity to show off her inimitable comedic style.
But then the tone goes deadly serious, befitting, I guess, the tragedy and troubles that enter the Keefers' life, eventually leading to a breakup. Note in this half how much of the staging has the couple in various stages of unglamorous undress while yelling at one another. Clearly, the idea is to show the other non-cute, deglamorized side of marriage that old Hollywood in its preoccupation with escapism didn't often show. In that sense, the movie's a rather daring stab, for its time, at marital reality.
The trouble, however, is that the two halves clash with one another in both style and content, creating the impression of two movies instead of one. I wish director Cukor had tried shaping the second-half material to the entertaining style of the first half. That might have worked, given his legendary level of expertise. But the way things stand, not even Holliday's talent can paper over the mis-match. Also, I noticed that the actress's comic book voice, so well adapted to comedy, becomes shrill and annoying in the heated exchanges with movie husband Ray. From that standpoint, she was wise to stick to laughs in what remained of her tragically short career.
This is not to say the movie's without compensations. It certainly has its funny moments, while actor Ray's boyish appeal looks just right for an engaging average guy. However, the central problem remains, despite the talent and gutsy stab at reality.
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