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Gregory La Cava
Bo Gillis is running for Governor. Steve writes the speeches, Sylvester runs the campaign and Bo plays the guitar. Everything is going according to the plan until a hooker named Ada is setup with Bo one night. Even with her past, Bo decides to marry her, must to the astonishment of everyone. After the election, she has a created bio and is very adept at handling people. Bo Gillis, as Governor, finds that he has little influence as Sylvester runs the whole operation. Bo's function is only to sign what is given to him. But while Bo is weak and fails to push his reforms, Ada is strong and adept at doing what is best for Bo and her. Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
If you're a fan of Susan Hayward this film has everything you need.
An old-fashioned melodrama with all the trimmings Susan rules over this with a velvet glove. She's a girl from "the wrong side of the tracks", a prostitute in a roadside honky tonk who makes the acquaintance of a dim hayseed one night. He has a way with a song and isn't clever enough to see that he is being used as a dim bulb stooge by a political machine to take him to the governor's mansion. The film offers nothing new on this age old chestnut but the presentation is what counts here.
A star vehicle to be sure slanted Susan's way much more than Dean's even though he gets a moment here and there. Spotlighted in a way stars never are today Susan commands the screen. Notice that she is surrounded only by colors that flatter her, the rooms she finds herself in are almost exclusively white or a soft green to highlight her flame colored tresses. Even the roadhouse where she starts the story has that high class sheen that is a hallmark of the studio era.
The performances are excellent. Dean ambles through without too much to do but handles his one big scene well. Martin Balsam and Ralph Meeker are solid as Dean's trusted friend and a slimy cop respectively but it's Wilfred Hyde-White who stands out as the reptilian political operator who crosses swords with Susan. Therein lies the meat of the story and the basic enjoyment of the film. When these two old pros square off the fireworks are a treat, although Susan gets a couple of other chances on her own to rip apart the unsuspecting when she discovers malfeasance.
A few interesting side notes. The actress playing Susan's madam, Connie Sawyer known as the oldest working actress in Hollywood, is still alive and appearing in small parts at 102 as of November 2014.
The other note is a bit more somber, as she entered the end of her cancer struggle Susan Hayward's friends told her they had arranged for her to see any of her films that she wanted and she selected this film much to their surprise. In hindsight though it's easy to see why, every effort is made to make her look her best, its set in the south which had been her home for many years during her happy second marriage and her part is tailor made to many of her strengths.
If you love Susan Hayward or old time studio made melodramas don't miss this!
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