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Norman Z. McLeod
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S. Sylvan Simon
Grace hastily marries a French aristocrat during WWII, but is separated by circumstance from him for almost nine years. And when reunited, Charles's philandering causes them to divorce and share custody of their son, who never wants them to get back together. But that's not how they feel. Written by
Well-dressed marital comedy...nicely performed though slow on laughs
Nancy Mitford's novel "The Blessing" becomes uneasy romantic vehicle for Deborah Kerr and Rossano Brazzi, neither of whom are especially adept at light comedy. During the London blitz, an English girl (already somewhat engaged) shares a whirlwind courtship with a brash, handsome (and fabulously rich) French Captain, whom she promptly marries; after a three-day honeymoon, he receives his 'orders' and leaves for duty, disappearing from her life for nine years. Upon the Captain's return, the couple's reunion is strained by the child she had in his absence, an impertinent lad who hopes to keep the squabbling lovebirds apart. In the key role of the son (nicknamed Siggy!), little Martin Stephens is too intense for this featherweight scenario (although this same intensity would serve him well in 1961's "The Innocents", wherein he also co-starred alongside Deborah Kerr). As for the grown-ups, Kerr and Brazzi seem typecast in their roles: she as a somewhat-prudish standard bearer, he as a Euro cad. Kerr's early fidgeting (and her eventual anger over being forgotten) are well-wrought, however the chemistry Kerr shares with Brazzi's uncle Maurice Chevalier is stronger than her connection with the leading man. The production is certainly attractive, and there are some interesting exchanges of dialogue questioning why women hope to change the men they marry--and why, if wives are willing to make changes to suit their husbands, why can't the husbands do the same. Not a smooth mix of moods, and with stagy action, but far from terrible. ** from ****
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