After a bout with polio, future president Franklin D. Roosevelt fights to save his political career.After a bout with polio, future president Franklin D. Roosevelt fights to save his political career.After a bout with polio, future president Franklin D. Roosevelt fights to save his political career.
Certainly both Ralph Bellamy and Greer Garson had their work cut out playing, respectively, Franklin and Eleanor. They got their characterizations down pat, and their work is of a high calibre.
The talented supporting cast is headed by Hume Cronyn as Franklin's best friend and Ann Shoemaker as his doting mother. Jean Hagen is seen as a good-natured secretary.
It may be that Dore Schary's script from his play was too lengthy, or that Vincent J. Donahue's direction was too slow. Whatever the case, running at 144 minutes this seems a pretty long haul for the average viewer.
Bellamy's work is consistently exectued, with all of the famous FDR mannerisms--it is also slowly-paced. Garson's Eleanor captures her distinctivly slow, deliberate speech cadence. Likewise, both principals' makeups are subtely effective.
The script begins in 1921 when Franklin was 40 and wisely ends just three years later with his politically important nominating speech for Al Smith. While there may be some dramatic modifications of factual material, the basic flavor of the period and characters are well handled.
Fraklin's overcoming of physical adversity to become a four term US president is a story of great interest, from both a human and professional perspective. "Sunrise at Campolbello" skillfully presents this inspired period of American history.
- Jul 22, 2002