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Washed up singer/actor Frank Elgin has a chance to make a come-back when director Bernie Dodd offers him the leading role in his new musical. Frank however is very insecure, turns to alcohol and shuns even the smallest of responsibilities, leaving everything up to his wife Georgie who finds it harder and harder to cope with her husband's lack of spirit. Bernie tries to help Frank regain his self-confidence, believing that it is Georgie who's the cause of his insecurity. Written by
Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>
The original Broadway production of "The Country Girl" by Clifford Odets opened at the Lyceum Theater on November 10, 1950 and ran for 236 performances. Uta Hagen won the 1951 Tony Award for Actress in a Drama for the role of Georgie Elgin, the same role that won Grace Kelly her only Academy Award for Best Actress. See more »
Does your wife really want you to play this part?
Yeah, she's all for it
I was just wondering. The day I met her, she seemed a little difficult about terms and rather domineering, I thought.
She wasn't always like that
Oh I know, I know. They all start out as Juliets and wind up as Lady Macbeths.
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Brilliant except for amateurishly dull musical interludes...
BING CROSBY gives his all to the role of a washed up actor fixated on guilt (and the bottle) while GRACE KELLY and WILLIAM HOLDEN give even finer performances as the two people who quarrel over how to reform his guzzling ways.
The weakness here is not the script. It's the dull musical numbers assigned to Crosby, who carries them off in the usual amiable Crosby manner, before he reverts to character as Frank Elgin. Nevertheless, when he's down and out, he gives a very painfully convincing portrait of a weak alcoholic man who shifts all of the blame to his wife. I suspect Clifford Odets may have based his portrait of this weak man on actor Frank Fay (once married to Barbara Stanwyck), whose career was destroyed by alcoholism and who depended on breezy charm for his appeal.
There are some really searing scenes between Kelly and Holden, fireworks that never seem less than realistic as a result of two completely realized characters that come to life in a well-written script. Holden is particularly fine in a difficult, demanding role that forces him to gradually shift his sympathy as he realizes who the real culprit is. His performance is the strongest of the three stars.
Grace Kelly subdues her aristocratic ways (and her prissy affected manners and voice) to play a woman who knows what the truth is behind her husband's weakness. She looks as forlorn and beaten as the script requires, always completely in touch with her character's moods and feelings. There are little nuances all along that show what a fine actress she could be under superb direction and given some brilliant dialog.
Fascinating as a portrait of theater people, but a letdown whenever it strays into the producing of a show that looks to be as feeble as any amateur production could be with hopes of becoming Broadway bound.
Neverthelss, a gritty, searing, truthful drama that is well worth watching for the performances alone.
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