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.
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Edward Everett Horton
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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 »
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
Deanna tries something different and does very well by it. This tough little noir was a film that she had insisted on doing to try and break away from the Mary Sunshine roles that were her stock in trade. It's lack of success at the box office kept Universal from letting her tackle different roles for the rest of her career and contributed to her retirement a few years after this, although she hated the movie business so even if it had been a smash she probably would have still called it quits.
Her performance is strong as the "dance hall hostess/singer" who the film manages in roundabout ways to make clear is a prostitute. One of the film's strengths is while of course they find a way to have Deanna sing her songbird is not singled out as special. Sure she sings much better than most roadside canaries but the patrons hardly break from what they're doing while she performs and her style is subdued almost beaten down, especially during "Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year". Her version of Always is achingly beautiful though full of hopelessness and despair.
The picture is also fortunate to have two outstanding character actresses among the cast, Gale Sondergaard reserved and conflicted as the no account Kelly's mother and the great and under-appreciated Gladys George in her typical role of the been around goodhearted but tough owner of the joint where Deanna has landed.
Where the film is weakest is in the male cast members. Richard Whorf is good as the huckster for the road house who pulls Dean Harens into Deanna's sphere where he learns her sad tale but Harens while not bad doesn't really make much of an impression on screen. He is just a catalyst for the actual story to kick in so his blandness doesn't hurt the picture.
That only leaves Gene Kelly who again while not bad is the wrong actor for the part. His glib facileness suits the lout he's playing but there is no underlying menace to his personality that would have punched the innate danger of the character across, John Garfield would have been ideal and taken the film from being good, which it is, to extraordinary which it just misses. Still well worth seeking out.
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