After countless hours of rehearsal to perfect their routines and years of struggling to get bookings, dance duo Guy Richards and Carol Williams, who are also a couple off the stage, are enjoying some success on the nightclub circuit, enough for them to make longer term plans, such as thoughts of imminent marriage. Their road to happiness hits a major bump when Carol, falling ill, is taken to the hospital, where she is diagnosed with polio. The prognosis for polio is good: with hard work and patience, she may be able to walk again, with even a slim possibility that she will one day be able to dance. She is admitted to an institution specializing in rehabilitation for polio patients. Beyond the fear both Guy and Carol have for her overall health, they, still loving each other, may not be able to survive as a couple because of the illness due to feelings of guilt and resentment. Carol, in addition, may fall into a feeling of inferiority, only being able to associate with people who are ...Written by
A rare look at a serious and relatively common disease of the day.
Carol (Sally Forrest) and Guy (Keefe Brasselle) are an up and coming dance team. However, Carol contracts polio and is now unable to walk. Much of the film is set at a sanitarium that treats paralysis victims and is both about her treatment and adjustment to her new life. Like most people facing this, she goes through severe bouts of depression. It becomes so bad that she pushes Guy out of her life--though he loves her and seems accepting of her disability. Will Carol be able to make a new life for herself or will she give way to defeatism and failure?
This is a pretty unusual film. Despite as many as 58,000 cases of polio in the US (about half of which resulted in paralysis) and a president (FDR) with polio, films act as if the disease never existed. You just don't hear about it in movies for the most part--and "Never Fear" is a rare exception. The only film of the time that reminds me of this is "The Men"--though this is about soldiers who are paralyzed as a result of war wounds. And, both films are quite similar in themes and quality. While "The Men" is a must more prestigious and big-budget movie, director Ida Lupino did a wonderful job in "Never Fear"--providing it with realism that you often don't find in 'disease' films. Very informative and well done all around--with fine acting (by relative unknowns), script and direction--and shot almost documentary style. Well worth seeing.
Finally, let me explain my score of 9. Sure, it's not as pretty a film as many A-pictures. BUT, as a lower-budgeted B, it has a HUGE payoff dollar-for-dollar. You can easily see why Lupino was soon given more chances to direct other B-budget films.
5 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this