In 1848 NYC, a Frenchwoman visits exiled former French Marshal Thevenet to ask for his financial help in behalf of his French grandson but Thevenet's house staff schemes to kill him and take his fortune.
Tongues begin to wag when a lonely widow becomes romantically involved with a military man. Problems arise when the gossip is filtered down to her own children.Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Jess (Barbara Stanywck) gets behind Major Landis (George Brent) on his skis, she is holding her ski poles. In the next scene, she doesn't have them. A bit later, they are in her right hand, and then go missing again. See more »
It isn't only the body that breaks down, Jess. The mind can go too, you know.
See more »
Emotionally intense and pertinent, and gorgeously filmed
My Reputation (1946)
This comes at the real peak of Barbara Stanwyck's career, a couple of years after her now most famous film, "Double Indemnity." And she's terrific, playing from the first minute a widow who now has to put her life back together, all with the equally terrific Lucile Watson as her strong willed mother. There is also the dependable Eve Arden as a sidekick, not so different than Joan Crawford's in "Mildred Pierce," and the perfectly cast Jerome Cowan as a suitor who moves in on her before she has quite realized she's a widow. Eventually the stellar cast is filled in by George Brent, ever stable and likable with his inevitable appeal to the main character.
So this is a great 1940s drama, filled with deep sentiments, tight friendships, distraught characters who need more than they can ever get, and rays of hope. It fits the needs of an audience which was filled with women recently widowed, either literally or figuratively with men returning from the war not ready to be the men they were before going away. It is 1946, after all, a giant tipping point in American social life.
Do you want more reasons to love this movie? The music is by the legendary Max Steiner (who scored "Gone with the Wind" for starters). And the cinematography is by the superb James Wong Howe (who shot the stunning "Sweet Smell of Success").
What slows the film down at all is plain old chemistry—Brent is not a convincing leading man, for me, and he and Stanwyck don't seem capable of really smoking on screen. The plot does imply a formality at first, and so it makes sense as far as that goes. But eventually we are meant to feel both characters in their loneliness, and their longing for each other. The war literally comes into play, and it must of struck painful chords in many.
One of the more interesting aspects is the problem of a widow dating a new man with the eyes of her friends and neighbors watching, and disapproving of, her every move, reaching the point of scandal for no reason. I'm sure the point of the movie is partly to push that point, so the world would be be more understanding. There is a huge scene at a party, just before the new couple rushes to Chicago for a dramatic New Year's Eve.
So imagine a vividly photographed, highly emotional drama that fit into the needs of the times perfectly. Does the movie rise to its intentions—quite well, very intelligently, yes. I say see it, and you'll find many things to love.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this