Londoners Arnold and Evelyn Boult had high hopes for the life of their son, Edward. His relatively short life ended up being one of privilege but irresponsibility. His life ended at age 23 when he was killed in battle in World War II. Arnold recounts pivotal moments in his son's life - such as a serious medical issue at age 5, near expulsion from a prestigious private school at age 12, and impregnating a girl with whom he had no intention of marrying at age 20 - and the extreme measures Arnold took to protect the name of his son. However, other things that Arnold did throughout Edward's life, including having an extramarital affair, show that his actions were perhaps more in the name of his own happiness and standing in the community, which eventually included being dubbed a Lord. His actions have dire consequences for many, including Evelyn, who slowly begins to hate her husband and who sadly admits that she never really understood or knew her son. But after Edward's death, Dr. Larry...Written by
Leueen MacGrath repeats her stage role from the Broadway production, although her character's surname has been changed. See more »
Near the beginning of the film, Arnold brings home a baby carriage. The gate to the front walk is open when he arrives, and he hurries through it, not closing it. However, from a shot inside the house looking out, the gate is closed. See more »
My parents were movie buffs and I grew up watching films. I am a devoted Deborah Kerr fan since childhood, and I thought I had seen all her important films; but I had missed "Edward, My Son", which I watched recently on TV. An admirer of Miss Kerr's poise, beauty, and professionalism, of her subtly conveyed emotional intensity and compassionate lucidity (undoubtedly buttressed by her choice of roles, especially in the fifties and sixties), I was blown away by the sheer brilliance of her performance in this film. I give part of the credit for her success to George Cukor's directorial efforts; Mr. Cukor was indeed a "women's director", largely responsible for Katharine Hepburn's early success, and for guiding (among others) Vivien Leigh, Judy Holliday, and Miss Kerr through Oscar-winning or nominated screen performances.
The film's plot, in my opinion, is clever. Edward is a strong a presence as Sebastian in "Suddenly Last Summer", although his face is never shown. The moral disintegration of a marriage and of a loving wife is effectively narrated, particularly thanks to Deborah Kerr's stunning performance. It is sad to think this is only the first of many Oscars stolen from her throughout her movie career.
It has always appeared as a mystery to me why Hollywood moguls believed Spencer Tracy was a versatile actor. Although he is always believable as a nice, warm "everyman" in most of his films, I think his range was (to say the least) limited. One can't help but wonder what a more expressive actor of his generation, such as Fredric March, would have done with the character of Sir Arnold Boult. Among English actors, my personal choices would have been Michael Redgrave or Ralph Richardson; but it was, after all, an MGM movie. At least Tracy is not as miscast as, for example, Gregory Peck (another actor of limited range)playing an English barrister in "The Paradine Case".
The supporting cast was excellent,in my opinion; especially the actress who played Sir Arnold's secretary and mistress, and the dependable Felix Aylmer.
"Edward, My Son" does not betray its theatrical origins and is an unusually somber film, considering MGM's usual emphasis on visual charm and gloss.
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