All My Sons tells the story of Joe Keller, a successful, middle-aged, self-made man who has done a terrible and tragic thing. He framed his business partner for a crime and engineered his own exoneration. Now, his son is about to marry the partner's daughter, the affair is revisited, and his lie of a life is unraveled.Written by
When Joe comes out of the house upon Annie's arrival, he comes down the front steps and walks into the yard with his arms raised. In the next instant, he's back at the steps and his arms are down. See more »
Put her to bed, Joe. Both of you go to bed. Staying up won't help; sleep will. Sleep's a wonderful thing, the best thing about living.
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The play has undergone some changes :first of all, Herbert ,Ann's and George's father,appears in a scene in jail where Chris meets him:it adds strength to the screenplay,and Frank Conroy's tired disillusioned face conveys all the character's plight, a victim of his friend 's greed and cowardice.The scene in the restaurant is also a good plus: in the play,they hinted at people who "talked" about the shrewd Joe who got away :but in a movie,this despondent woman who lost her husband in the war shouting "murderer!" is more convincing.
Some things were ruled out: no "apple tree whose upper trunk and branches lie toppled beside the slump";in the play ,it seems to me that mother was more obsessed by her missing in action son's return ,a death she never got over;although the horoscope's kept and there's this wardrobe full of his clothes with these polished shoes;in the movie,although she does not want Chris to marry his brother's fiancée ,she 's more concerned about her husband's family skeleton ;anyway ,the ending was sweetened :same final word ("live") but we do not see Chris and Ann leaving the house and thus living happily ever after. Sue 's role is less important:she "resents living next door to the Holy Family" in Miller's lines,she hates Chris' idealism ,which urges her husband to do medical research which "pays 25 dollars a week" ;in the movie ,she's a simply gossipy neighbor.
Directing is not very inventive (just compare with what Kazan and Mankiewicz did with Tennessee Williams ),but the two principals are very efficient:EG Robinson portrays a double-faced self-made man brilliantly:he appears first as a good man,who,although uneducated ,made the grade and gave his family all that money could buy;but doubt creeps into our mind ,and after the scene in the plant - another sequence not from Miller's play- where "when you don't know,ask Joe" ,we realize he is a despicable coward,who shuns responsibility and is not afraid to send a man to jail.It explains the wife's attitude too: does she care for her son ,or for all "his " sons ?after all she did know that her husband's flu was an excuse .Lancaster is deeply moving in his portrayal of a son who discovers her father is not the one he has admired all his life .
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