In 1900, Naomi Murdoch deserted her small-town family to go on the stage. Some ten years later, daughter Lily invites Naomi back to see her in the Riverdale high school play. Her arrival sets the whole town abuzz, wakes up old conflicts, and sets off new emotional storms. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Yes, I call this a perfect movie. Not one boring second, a fantastic cast of mostly little known actresses and actors, a great array of characters who are all well defined and who all have understandable motives I could sympathize with, perfect lighting, crisp black and white photography, a fitting soundtrack, an intelligent and harmonious set design and a story that is engaging and works. It's one of those prime quality pictures on which all the pride of Hollywood should rest, the mark everyone should endeavor to reach.
Barbara Stanwyck is simply stunning. There was nothing this actress couldn't do, and she always went easy on the melodramatic side. No hysterical outbursts with this lady - I always thought she was a better actress than screen goddesses like Bette Davis or Joan Crawford, and this movie confirmed my opinion. Always as tough as nails and at the same time conveying true sentiments. It is fair to add that she also got many good parts during her long career, and this one is by far the least interesting.
The title fits this movie very well. It is about desires, human desires I think everyone can understand. Actually, no one seems to be scheming in this movie, all characters act on impulse, everybody wants to be happy without hurting anybody else. The sad fact that this more often than not leads to complications makes for the dramatic content into which I will not go here.
I liked what this movie has to say about youth, about maturing and about the necessity to compromise. The movie I associate most with this one is Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt, it creates a similar atmosphere of idealized and at the same time caricatured Small Town America. The story has a certain similarity with Fritz Lang's considerably harsher movie Clash by Night, made one year earlier, where Stanywck stars in a similar part. I can also recommend it.
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