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Successful middle-aged businessman Steve Bradford returns to the town where he attended college many years previously. His conscience has been bothering him since whilst a student, he fathered an illegitimate son who was given away to the local orphanage. He returns to the orphanage and meets its current head, Ann Dempster, hoping to persuade her to help him find his son. She refuses but Steve finds himself getting more involved at the orphanage and learns many lessons life had failed to teach him. Written by
Col Needham <email@example.com>
The two old pros, Cagney and Stanwyck are the reason to watch this one. Neither chews the scenery; there's no romantic subplot between them, yet their scenes together are wonderful. Stanwyck shows no femme fatal sexiness or been there done that humor. She's just a nice, hard working person, and when confronted with Cagney's type A "I'm used to getting what I want", she sweetly deflects it instead of the fireworks you'd normally expect from a Stanwyck character. For his part, Cagney drops his tough guy image and when faced with the pain his past misdeeds have caused, makes no attempt to evade responsibility.
They're on opposite sides, yet show a respect for each other.
No motivation is shown for Bradford's sudden desire to drop everything to find the son he abandoned 20 years before. It might have been better if a chance meeting with Betty Lou Keim's abandoned, pregnant teen had served as the spark. Clearly, she reminds him of the girl he abandoned.
The other major flaw, is that being in his 50s, it would have been more realistic if Bradford's abandonment of his newborn son been 30 years before instead of 20. The guy that plays his son (Don Dubbins) looks and acts much older than a 20 year old. Also, 20 years before, Bradford would have been in his mid 30s, way too old to be a callow college boy. And is 20 years enough time to build such a large business? I also can't help wishing they'd cast someone who looked like Cagney to play Cagney's long lost son, like Richard Jaeckel.
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