|Index||6 reviews in total|
Loretta Young stars as the wife of University professor Kent Smith.
Life seems wonderful; however Ms. Young is told, after a second
miscarriage, she can never have children. Later, she is speeding home,
after some event, and hits a child with her car. A truck driver (also
on the road) takes the boy, and leaves the desperate woman wondering
what injuries she's caused.
"Paula" begins as a seemingly routine Loretta Young drama, but keep your eye on the picture for a grabber. The story becomes very interesting as circumstances make Young a dramatic hit-and-run driver. The story builds suspense in several ways -- beginning as Young searches for the boy she hit, while the police search for Young.
Although it's a great story, the script becomes more and more sentimental -- by the end, it's so maudlin you'll want to scream (if you're not crying). Tommy Rettig is notable as the boy; in fact, he is Young's co-star. Mr. Rettig also played one of Lassie's famous owners (Jeff). Young and Rettig do well, but they would be even better after a realistic script re-write. The film has some unexpected depth, and raises some interesting crime/punishment questions; perhaps, its flaws could be addressed in a modern re-make.
***** Paula (1952) Rudolph Maté ~ Loretta Young, Tommy Rettig, Kent Smith
Loretta Young loses her baby and is told in the hospital that she will
never be able to have children. Dr. Alexander Knox, who was so
brilliant in "Wilson" tells her this. She is married to college dean
Kent Smith. The latter never had much sex appeal or appeal of a leading
man in any of his pictures.
While driving to join Smith at a pre-promotional party for him, Young accidentally hits 7 year old Tommy Rettig of "Lassie" fame. Rettig, with those sad eyes of his, evoked a lot of emotion here as he is unable to recover from the accident.
Not admitting to the police that she did this, Young instead volunteers at the hospital and takes in the boy and suddenly becomes a speech pathologist. She is guided by Knox who suddenly is an expert in this field anyway.
Young and Rettig pull out emotional stops in this film. You may want to question the criminal justice system in the nonetheless happy ending.
"Paula" is NOT a film for the cynical. After all, unless you are
willing to see a schmaltzy film that will tug at your heart, the film
probably won't be your sort of thing. However, if you do see it, be
prepared--having a box of Kleenex handy wouldn't be a bad idea!
Loretta Young plays a woman who is struggling with her own infertility. While her life is otherwise great, she clearly misses not having a child of her own. How she gets one is the very strange twist in this story!
One night as she's driving, a child darts out and she accidentally hits him. In a panic, she drives away after she sees that the child is going to get medical help. Her conscience, however, cannot handle this-- she feels very guilty about the accident. So, she decides to volunteer at the hospital to see what she can learn about the boy. It turns out that he will survive but the injury left him brain damaged. While he looks pretty normal, he cannot speak and must re-learn this. But he's an orphan and it costs a lot of money to have a full-time teacher--and Young's character volunteers to take the boy into her home and teach him. But what if the boy or anyone figure out who she is and why she's doing all this?
This is a terrific family film. I loved the very original story as well as the performances by Young and Tommy Rettig (as the boy, David). A heart-warming yet exciting and well made movie--one of Young's best.
If the script for PAULA hadn't become so maudlin in certain crying
scenes, this might have emerged as more than a melodramatic soap opera.
LORETTA YOUNG is quietly competent in the leading role of a woman who develops a noble cause after a serious auto accident leaves TOMMY RETTIG unable to talk. This noble gesture of acting as his therapist and taking him under her wings is the sort of role that even Greer Garson might have had trouble making believable. But Miss Young does her best with an overly dramatic role as a long-suffering wife who cannot bear children of her own.
And others in the cast are quietly effective too, including KENT SMITH as the husband who learns that his new job means he has to avoid all scandal and Alexander KNOX as Paula's doctor friend who gives her the emotional support she needs.
It's an interesting premise, inspired somewhat by another film of this type--THE MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION about a man with a similar guilt complex after an accident.
But there is no real depth to the screenplay which seems more suitable for a one hour TV drama, the kind done so often in the '50s. The acting is better than the script deserves, especially by Miss Young who is coolly efficient in manner but gives the film some real warmth.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In one of her last and most intense dramatic roles, Loretta Young plays
a despondent woman, suffering from a miscarriage who finds torment both
in that and the sudden accident which caused a young boy to suffer a
brain injury. Having indirectly caused the accident, Young decided to
take in the ironically orphaned boy and strives to help him regain his
speech. But when the little boy (an excellent Tommy Rettig) realizes
that it was Young who caused him to become injured, Young must find a
way to keep the truth from coming out. Is her motive to further help
him or to keep him quiet?
Filled with dramatic moments of intensity and some fabulous character performances, it also has its share of cringe-worthy spots as well. Some are downright uncomfortable, both out of sad truths of humanity as well as one or two out of unnecessary melodrama. Will Wright is hateful but excellent as a seemingly woman hating ranch owner who witnessed the accident and irrationally accused her of being drunk and running out on the accident so he could get his picture in the paper as a hero. When he shows up again on the premise of wanting to thank the woman who took poor Rettig in, you may want to reach through the screen and strangle him, but there is no doubt that Wright is truthful in his portrayal no matter how despicable and self serving he is.
As the husband at first distressed by Young wanting to adopt "a freak", Kent Smith quickly warms up and has a bit of high comedy when he has to give the mute but still pranksterish Rettig a bath. Alexander Knox is a wise and kindly confidante as Young's doctor. She is very good, although one scene she seems like she is gloating over Rettig's illness to his face. Kathryn Card, Lucy Ricardo's T.V. mother, is amusing in a walk-on as a hospital volunteer.
Quite different in its storytelling, this is mostly plausible even if a few moments had me rolling my eyes. A sad moment has Rettig trying to join a pack of playing kids, but they turn to harass him when they realize that he us mute. All of the great actors say on interviews that a good audience can see when you are telling the truth and when you are lying. Fortunately, there's more truth here so the lying moments soon fade from memory. The ending of the film will have to be an individual choice for satisfaction, and for me, it seemed a bit rushed even if I ultimately accepted the conclusion.
** 1/2 (out of 4)
Interesting but too overly dramatic film about a wife (Loretta Young) who suffers her second miscarriage and is about to give up on life when another tragedy strikes. While speeding to a meeting, she runs over a seven year old boy who becomes deaf to the wreck. Another man takes the boy to the hospital so the police don't know who hit him but the woman feels so guilty that she adopts the boy so that she can try and teach him to speak again. However, the police are still on the hunt for who hit the boy and the boy eventually remembers who it was. This film could have been a lot better had they toned down the crying moments. By crying moments I mean that this is one of those films that tries to make you cry every five minutes, which becomes quite annoying after a while. The scene where Young learns she lost her second baby is heartbreaking but other moments don't come off as good. Young is very good in her role, which requires her to be a snob, a heartbroken mother and a woman trying to do what's right with both the child and the law. Kent Smith is also very good as her husband who at first doesn't want to take in a mute child. The film loses some steam in the final act as things turn very stupid during one scene where the man who drove the kid to the hospital shows up at Young's house and starts a fight. The ending is predictable but touching.
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