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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was amazed at how well done this was for 1954, at the very dawn of
t.v. Some programs of the era give the feeling that they were still
trying to figure out what they were doing in this new medium. Not this
one. The dialog and pacing were just right as they establish the
dilemma of a young woman, about to be married, facing a possible cancer
The script was very explicit about the anatomy and the doctor even uses an anatomical diagram of the female breast to explain the disease and treatment. From what I am told, breast cancer was still a highly uncomfortable, even taboo subject in those days and beyond. Here, it was dealt with openly and with a great deal of maturity.
Script was also superb in terms of characterization and emotional reactions. Vera Miles, as always, was lovely and turned in a fine performance as the young woman in this bewildering and unenviable predicament. With quiet subtlety, she conveyed the sadness, loss, and even despair; later hope and resilience. Her interactions with her fiancé, doctor, and a fellow patient all totally believable. At 24, she was already a master of the understated...a natural.
Script also nailed the part of the competent, professional, yet warm and compassionate Dr. Wilkinson (my name!). The fiancé was sympathetic in his admonition that his bride-to-be was not the only one wrapped up in this. And the ex-surgeon in a wheel chair who turns things around for the bride-to-be also nailed his part. Somehow, he gently gave her a wallop of an attitude adjustment.
Simply stunning in its timelessness even 57 years out. So simple and yet so powerful. Couldn't have been better. The only dated thing here is that the hospital did not insist Janie leave the hospital in a wheel-chair. Not that worried about law-suits in 1954!
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