A young woman, Stanley Timberlake, dumps her fiance, Craig Fleming, and runs off with her sister Roy's husband, Peter Kingsmill. They marry, settle in Baltimore, and Stanley ultimately drives Peter to drink and suicide. Stanley returns home to Richmond only to learn that her sister Roy and old flame Craig have fallen in love and plan to marry. The jealous and selfish Stanley attempts to win back Craig's affections, but her true character is revealed when, rather than take the rap herself, she attempts to pin a hit and run accident on the young black clerk, Parry Clay, who works in Craig's law office.Written by
Bonnie Barber <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"South American Way" was also used in the film Mildred Pierce (1945), and was sung by the youngest daughter. See more »
When Stanley's car crashes after being chased by the police; it rolls down hill and lands on its side with the bottom of the car facing uphill. But on the next cut when the cops reach the car; the bottom is now facing downhill. See more »
Bridal Chorus (Here Comes the Bride)
Written by Richard Wagner
In the score when Stanley and Peter leave the Justice of the Peace See more »
Driving under the influence
"In This Our Life" dared to point out some issues not discussed by the Hollywood of the 40s. It shows a great director, John Huston, working at the top of his craft on the interesting adaptation by Howard Koch.
Stanley, the girl at the center of the story has it all. She is the favorite niece of the man who was responsible for ruining her father, a gentle soul beaten by the Great Depression. Stanley is a spoiled woman who couldn't care less who she hurt, let alone that is her own sister the one that will suffer because of her actions.
On the other hand, Roy, the good sister, is all kindness; she is just the opposite of Stanley. When Stanley decides she wants Peter, Roy's husband, she doesn't hesitate one second. She takes him and runs away to a life that proves not to be all what she imagined it would be.
Life intervenes in Stanley's life in tragic ways. First with Peter, the man he shouldn't have taken away from her sister, and then when trying to get back with Craig, she causes the death of a young girl when driving under the influence. This would have been a sobering experience for anyone, but Stanley is beyond repentance. Stanley, is a coward who will do anything to get away with murder.
Stanley was a role tailor made for Bette Davis. Her take on this impudent girl is perfect. Ms. Davis shows how good she is in small details that convey her understanding of her character. Ms. Davis reflects all the emotions Stanley is going through with her expressive eyes. One look at her and we know what this woman is capable of.
Olivia de Havilland makes an impression by playing the good sister, Roy. Ms. de Havilland is an actress that always played convincingly in everything she did, as is the case here. Her inner strength is her best asset. Roy is loyal to the point of sacrificing her own happiness and lets her sister take what she loves most.
The strong cast behind the principals is equally excellent. Dennis Morgan is Peter, the man blinded by Stanley. He will leave his adoring wife for a woman he ends up detesting. George Brent, is the kind Craig, the man jilted by Stanley who finally finds love again with Roy. Charles Coburn plays Uncle William with his usual panache. Frank Craven is Asa, the man cheated out of his fortune. Ernest Anderson makes an impression as Parry, the young black man with ambitions to improve himself. Hattie McDaniel only has a couple of key scenes where she shines. Billie Burke and Lee Patrick are seen in minor roles.
The musical score by Alfred Newman enhances the film. Ultimately it's John Huston who shows a clear understanding for the material and who gets excellent performances out of everyone.
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