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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
What a surprise treat to see this rare film as part of a Robert Siodmak Festival at the Cleveland Art Museum in the summer of 2014. It put me back in the mid-WWII period and the beautiful, pristine 35mm print was shown as originally presented on the big screen, thanks to Film Curator John Ewing.
The major attraction here is that Deanna Durbin and Gene Kelly both play against type in a "doctored up" Somerset Maugham story. Siodmak direction is dark, atmospheric and smoothly executed throughout. Deanna sings Irving Berlin's "Always" in a pop style very effectively. A good portion of Wagner's "Liebestod" from Tristan and Isolde is heard in an orchestral setting to heighten the dramatic proceedings.
Both stars work surprisingly well in their very heavy roles, and I found myself glued to the screen during Durbin's depiction. Her acting style has often been subtle, and this performance was one of her most understated. Kelly's role challenged him to reach dramatic heights, and he rises to occasion.
While some of the script is dated, Deanna dominates the screen whenever she's on, and is matched by a fine supporting cast. Truly a worthwhile viewing.
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