In 1902 London, unhappily married Philip Marshall meets young Mary Gray, who is unemployed and depressed. Their deepening friendship, though physically innocent, is discovered by Philip's ... See full summary »
After witnessing an incident on a foreign ship off California coast, a U.S. Treasury agent aboard a Coast Guard vessel decides to further investigate the matter by following a crime trail leading to China, Egypt, Lebanon and Cuba.
While in a train halted at a station, Nikki Collins witnesses a murder committed in a nearby building. When she brings the police to the scene of the crime, they think she's crazy since ... See full summary »
Edward Everett Horton
In this light and lovely romantic musical, a Hungarian woman(Deanna Durbin) attends a Viennese fair and buys a card from a gypsy fortune teller. It says that she will meet someone important... See full summary »
After a drunken binge on the San Pablo waterfront, longshoreman Bobo fears he may have killed a man. In his uncertainty, he takes a job on an isolated bait barge. That night, he rescues ... See full summary »
Bachelor Harry Quincey, head designer in a small-town cloth factory, lives with his selfish sisters, glamorous hypochondriac Lettie and querulous widow Hester. His developing relationship ... See full summary »
Due to inclement weather, Lt. Charles Mason is forced to spend Christmas in New Orleans. Recently dumped by his girlfriend, the depressed Lieutenant falls in with Jackie Lamont, a singer who works at a nightclub and brothel. After attending midnight mass together, she tells her story to Charles. Her real name is Abigail and she fell in love with Robert Manette. After six months of happy married life, Robert is arrested for murder, but Abigail can't help loving her no-good husband.Written by
Screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz changed the setting from a Paris brothel to a nightclub in New Orleans and the main character was changed from a prostitute to a more ambiguous nightclub singer and hostess, when adapting the 1939 novel of the same name by W. Somerset Maugham, due to the Hays Code. See more »
After Robert breaks out of jail, the newspaper spells his last name as "Mannette", however the spelling of the last name in the end credits is "Manette". See more »
[to the soldiers]
You are now about to become Officers of the Army of the United States.
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Siodmak's film noir from a Somerset Maugham novel...
DEANNA DURBIN begged Universal to let her play a dramatic role after her great success in a string of mostly mediocre films where she played a Little-Miss-Fixit in featherweight romantic comedies who sang operatic ditties with great skill and charm. She was always involved in a scheme to reunite her mother and father for the final clinch.
Here, she handles her very adult role with competence, quite believable as a torch singer in a disreputable nightclub, a troubled woman seeking redemption for problems in her twisted past relationships with a mother and son (GALE SONDERGAARD and GENE KELLY).
Deanna shines in the role, giving it shades of both simplicity and charm while playing the happy bride, but convincing when she becomes the bruised and fragile woman who manages to tell her tale of woe to a young lieutenant. The soldier is nicely played by DEAN HARENS, an officer on Christmas leave who is on his way to San Francisco when a storm forces his plane to land in New Orleans.
The film structure is not always smooth, burdened as it is by a couple of flashbacks in the middle and a rather weak ending that is over too abruptly. But Robert Siodmak and cameraman Woody Bredell give the whole piece a fluid style with long tracking shots and superior cinematography for several key scenes, notably the one that takes place at a church service on Christmas eve, and another in a concert hall.
Durbin's fans will certainly appreciate her rendering of "Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year" and Irving Berlin's haunting ballad "Always." The background music, a mixture of popular songs and classical pieces, is effective, especially for all of the nightclub scenes. Hans J. Salter deservedly won an Oscar nomination for his detailed and meticulous score.
Effective supporting performances from GALE SONDERGAARD, GLADYS GEORGE and RICHARD WHORF strengthen the tale. Well worth watching. Oddly enough, Deanna handles her dramatic chores in much better style than Gene Kelly, who's unable to do much with his role of a weak-willed wastrel who turns to crime for reasons unexplained.
Trivia note: David Bruce has a small role at the beginning. Two years later he'd be co-starring with Deanna in much bigger parts in CAN'T HELP SINGING and LADY ON A TRAIN.
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