Cantakerous, opinionated Peter Grimm is a seventh generation member of a Dutch immigrant family that founded a family flower farm two centuries earlier. Realizing he has a bad heart, Grimm extracts promises and concessions from those he expects will survive him and draws up his will appropriately. He extracts a promise from his beloved foster daughter Catherine that she will marry his newly-arrived nephew Frederik although she loves James, a hired hand on the farm. Grimm's hopes that the farm will remain in the family are given a blow when the mercenary Frederik announces his intentions to sell the entire operation to a hated Grimm rival When Grimm returns as a spirit he discovers a terrible situation of his own creation. His "friends" are dissatisfied with their bequests, young William's health is failing, and Catherine seems headed for an unhappy marriage. Through the dying William and his old friend and confidante, Dr. Macpherson, Grimm's spirit tries to reverse the harm he's done.Written by
Interesting remake of a 1926 silent (with Janet Gaynor) has an elderly man (Lionel Barrymore) dying but coming back to life so that he can help his family and especially a young woman (Helen Mack) he gave bad advice to, which could hurt her future. THE RETURN OF PETER GRIMM is a rather interesting film but I'd say it falls a little short of being a complete winner for a number of reasons. One thing that I didn't care too much about is that it seems like the thing never knows what it wants to do. Is it a comedy? Is it a drama? Is it some sort of fantasy? It blends all three of those elements but I'd say all three are less than winning in regards to how well they work. The first portion of the film has Barrymore doing what only he could and that's be the strong figure who also can be a grump. There's no question he could play this type of role in his sleep and he does a very good job with it here. The second portion of the film has him dying and coming back to life to hear what some of his "friends" said about him at his will and then we get to his personal connection with the characters. Most of these scenes just weren't all that funny and the tender moments weren't nearly as effective as they needed to be. Barrymore, Mack and the supporting cast certainly help keep the film moving but it's just missing something. Barrymore's "ghost" comes from him being out of focus on the screen, which is somewhat weird to watch but I'll admit it did give the film a strange atmosphere.
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