Toward the end of his life F. Scott Fitzgerald is writing for Hollywood studios to be able to afford the cost of an asylum for his wife. He is also struggling against alcoholism. Into his life comes the famous gossip columnist.
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Jason Robards is a Psychiatrist that is devoted to his work. Jennifer Jones becomes one of his patients and he helps her make a full recovery. She falls in love with him but he is reluctant to respond to her affections. She convinces him that since she's well and capable of a healthy love. She is an heiress and they have a comfortable lifestyle. He experiences various changes in his career and we see how he responds to them and how it affects his marriage and family. His sister in law is Joan Fontaine. Jill St John also has a starring role. The acting is good and the settings for the movie are in Zurich and Rome, giving us beautiful scenery. Written by
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Jones, Robards shine in this Fitzgerald adaptation
This movie does not have the greatest reputation in the world. I'd read that Jennifer Jones was too old to play Nicole, that she overacts, that she has no chemistry with Jason Robards, that it was too long, etc.
Well don't believe it!
It DID take me several attempts to watch the whole thing, but that nothing to do with the movie, that had to do with something else. When
I finally saw the whole thing all the way through, I enjoyed it very much and questioned why it does not have more admirers.
It explores many themes, thoughtfully and without exploitation. Should a doctor romance his patient? When does the patient stop being a patient, exactly, and start being a person?
Nicole meets Dick in a sanitarium. She's there for a variety of reasons, none of which sister Joan Fontaine really care to discuss. It has something to do with their father. Nicole eventually is released and runs into Dick years later, and they get married. They have a wonderful life and two children but it starts to fall apart. Not because of Nicole's mental state - actually, as it turns out, she becomes the stable one. But a friend of theirs (Tom Ewell, making a fool of himself as a chronic drunk) dies, their daughter almost dies from alcohol poisoning, and Dick is see with an actress (Jill St. John) at a brawl in a café and their picture makes all the front pages.
Jennifer Jones is prone to be very mannered. In spite of them she's still a favorite, but here she's really very good, she's not too old to play the part, and her chemistry with Robards is believable. Fontaine doesn't do much but enjoy her own wardrobe. As I mentioned, Ewell is a drunk but his death scene (or, rather, the circumstances surrounding it) are the worse thing in the movie. Jill St. John is first seen as a youngster but she matures as the movie progresses..unfortunately, her acting does not improve.
At over 2 1/2 hours, its an investment, but worth your time. Now I want to watch it again. 8/10.
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