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In Argentina, the family man Julio Madariaga is the patriarch of his family and considers his farm the paradise on Earth. One of his daughters, Luisa Desnoyers, has married the Frenchman immigrant Marcelo Desnoyers and they have one son, the playboy Julio, and one daughter, the gorgeous student of Sorbonne Chi Chi. His other daughter, Elena von Hartrott, has married the German Karl von Hartrott, and they have three sons: Heinrich, Gustav and Franz. In 1938, Heinrich returns from Germany for a family reunion and when he tells that he has joined the SS, the displeased Julio Madariaga has a heart attack and dies. When France is occupied by the Germans, the family reunites in Paris and Franz is the Nazi administrator in France. The alienated Julio has a studio where he paints, and has a love affair with Marguerite Laurier, the wife of the owner of a newspaper Etienne Laurier that is fighting in Belgium. Meanwhile Chi Chi joins the French resistance and is arrested. Julio uses the ... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
I just caught this on TCM and it's the first time I've seen it since my teens. Either my maturity has given me a better appreciation for it or it has gotten better over the years, now that we're bombarded with so much garbage. I've carefully read all the comments here, and there's a common thread. Most take exception to the casting of Glenn Ford and classify the film as one of Minnelli's lesser efforts. It's not that I'm Glenn Ford's greatest fan, but I think he gives one of his finest performances here and is one of the movie's strengths. One doesn't have to be 21 to be a playboy; what he portrays, quite convincingly, is a mature dilletante. Minnelli's direction is typical of his late melodrama period that started with The Bad and the Beautiful. His style is jittery, baroque, and light years away from his airy musicals. The Four Horseman ranks right up there with some of his best later work, like Home From the Hill, Some Came Running, and The Cobweb. He has a particular flair for car scenes which started with his first Gothic, Undercurrent, in 1946. He gets one of the finest performances I've ever seen out of that limited actor, Charles Boyer. His scene with the gifted Paul Lukas where they mourn the deaths of their children is powerful and touching beyond words. The great disappointment, as everyone has noted, is the legendary dubbing of Ingrid Thulin by Angela Lansbury. What I find most peculiar is that I think Lansbury did not loop ALL of Thulin's dialogue, some lines sound like the voice of Thulin that I remember from The Damned and Return from the Ashes. The obvious question is: Why did M-G-M hire her if there was a problem with the voice? Didn't they test her before contract signing? In any case, the dubbing is unfortunate; her looks and performance are exquisite. My recommendation: SEE THIS GOOD, OLD FASHIONED, REALLY BIG MOVIE. P.S. Check out the magnificent, huge Andre Previn score.
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