Reviews written by registered user
|6 reviews in total|
Every star has a list of movies they'd rather not have made, and I would guess this movie is one of Irene Dunne's. She did a good job in it, and the plot wasn't as inprobable as many movies on the market today. But the movie is dated in many ways: Small town girl goes to big city; falls for the first smooth-talker she meets; marries somebody else on the rebound; eventually falls deeply in love with him; everybody lives happily ever-after. If Irene Dunne weren't in it, this movie would have little to commend it. But she adds luster to practically everything she ever made. This is a film worth watching because it has its comic moments. And after all - it has Irene Dunne.
This is one of Irene Dunne's better pictures. She once said she enjoyed the character she played, and it is apparent in this movie. In fact, this would be a good movie to watch if you wish to view Irene Dunne's native charm and mystery. She was a wonderful actress and this was a good example of her performance style in a serious role.
"Ann Vickers" is an adaptation of Sinclair Lewis' book about an unwed
worker who becomes pregnant during World War I and is subsequently
by her lover. It is a valuable social commentary on the mores and folkways
of the time (1933) and explores the double standard then existent that
condemned a woman for `loose living' while exonerating a man. The most
interesting aspect of the film to me was the fact that it was almost a
mirror's image of the sea change that took place in morals during 1920's in
the aftermath of World War I.
RKO couldn't have picked a better actress to play the part of Ann Vickers. Irene Dunne was young, sensitive, brave, intelligent everything the `modern woman' of the day was supposed to be. Her early professional career was marked by a series of skillfully done tearjerkers of which "Ann Vickers" is one of the better ones.
I highly recommend this movie. Walter Huston did a fine job as Ann's second love, and the man who restored her faith in a loving relationship. It's well directed and filmed and is a wonderful insight into life in the U.S. from just after World War I up until the middle of the Great Depression.
"Anna And The King Of Siam" is the original, non-musical, version of what
was later re-made with Deborah Kerr and Yul Brenner as "The King And I".
This is one of the few Irene Dunne originals that is not better than the
remake. Irene Dunne was a highly original and intelligent woman and had
equals either before the camera or in her private life.
In fact, if you consider all of Irene Dunne's original movies that have been remade into newer versions with the same name: such as "Back Street" 1932 or "Magnificent Obsession" 1935 or "Showboat" 1936 or "Age of Innocence" 1934 - or under a different title: such as "An Affair To Remember" which was a remake of "Love Affair" 1939 or "Something's Got To Give" which was essentially the same plot as "My Favorite Wife" 1940 - it amazes me that she was nominated six times for best actress and NEVER WON!
Usually, her original versions are much better than the remakes. Anna and the King of Siam would have been had the remake not included such a lovely musical score and been so beautifully filmed in color.
Joy of Living is not one of Irene Dunne's five best movies, but she does
what she can with a plot that often seems like a blend of "Theodora Goes
Wild" and some of her earlier heroines she played so seriously and so well.
In my opinion, it never quite gets off the runway, even though it has a long
list of well-known character actors such as Eric Blore, Alice Brady and
Franklin Pangborn and some able talents such as Douglas Fairbanks and
The trouble I had with "Joy of Living" is the fact it's too close to previous roles Irene Dunne played with distinction. How best to describe it? Going to the well once too often? Taking advantage of past successes audiences loved in order to leverage their drawing power? I thought the plot was weak and the writing less than top-notch, which was also true of the cinematography. The sequences in the roller skating rink were not well done; and the one real highlight of the film was Irene Dunne's impishness when she finally lets loose.
I don't blame Irene Dunne for making this movie; but the director failed in my opinion to develop it in such a way as to draw out and highlight her monumental talents. The music written by Jerome Kern, who is one of my favorite composers, doesn't reach up to his usually high standards either.
This movie is not a waste of money; and I hate to pan it. But I'm afraid Irene Dunne spoiled me with efforts like "Back Street"; "Ann Vickers"; "Consolation Marriage"; "Theodora Goes Wild"; "The Awful Truth"; "Love Affair"; and "I Remember Momma" and this movie simply isn't in that league.
This is one of Irene Dunne's finest performances and proves that even a soapbox opera can be engaging when a performance is so real it's uncanny. Her performance is almost overshadowed by the humaness and irony of the plot. I highly recommend this movie.