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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>
I first saw this film about 20 years ago on Turner Classic Movies and I was far from impressed--so much so that I long resisted seeing it again. However, on a lark, I decided to see it again--especially because I barely remembered the film--just that I didn't particularly like it. In hindsight, I am thrilled that I saw it again since it was far better than I'd remembered plus there were some truly wonderful moments.
The film begins with a very rich and successful James Cagney announcing to his board of directors that he was taking an extended leave of absence and wouldn't tell them why. It turns out that 20 years earlier, Cagney had fathered a child out of wedlock and he was trying to reconnect with this lost child. Naturally the adoption agency was not about to just give him this information and eventually Cagney unleashes lawyers and exerts his influences to try to force the issue.
At the same time, there is a plot involving a nice young girl who Cagney meets who is also pregnant and without resources, so it looks like she'll need to give up her baby. Considering the very obvious parallel, it's not at all surprising where this all leads, but it is still very emotionally satisfying to watch. In addition, there is a great scene at a bowling alley that is full of depth and emotion you often don't find in a Cagney film.
A highly unusual and soap opera-like film that still manages to satisfy despite a bit of predictability. It was well worth a look--I'm glad I did again.
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