Londoners Arnold and Evelyn Boult had high hopes for the life of their son, Edward. His relatively short life ended up being one of privilege but irresponsibility. His life ended at age 23 ...
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Londoners Arnold and Evelyn Boult had high hopes for the life of their son, Edward. His relatively short life ended up being one of privilege but irresponsibility. His life ended at age 23 when he was killed in battle in World War II. Arnold recounts pivotal moments in his son's life - such as a serious medical issue at age 5, near expulsion from a prestigious private school at age 12, and impregnating a girl with whom he had no intention of marrying at age 20 - and the extreme measures Arnold took to protect the name of his son. However, other things that Arnold did throughout Edward's life, including having an extramarital affair, show that his actions were perhaps more in the name of his own happiness and standing in the community, which eventually included being dubbed a Lord. His actions have dire consequences for many, including Evelyn, who slowly begins to hate her husband and who sadly admits that she never really understood or knew her son. But after Edward's death, Dr. Larry...Written by
Much of the film's failure has fallen on the shoulders of Spencer Tracy, whose performance is distinctly out of step with his co-stars. Like most leading men of his day, Tracy refused to attempt dialects. In many cases, this did not negatively impact a film -- i.e. Clark Gable and Leslie Howard's home-grown tones tend to go unnoticed in Gone With the Wind (1939) -- but in the case of Edward, My Son (1949), Tracy's resistance to effecting an English accent resulted in his being a distractingly incongruous American presence in an otherwise all-British cast, with the drama taking place in and around London. Robert Morley, who wrote the play on which the film is based, originated Tracy's role on stage. See more »
Near the beginning of the film, Arnold brings home a baby carriage. The gate to the front walk is open when he arrives, and he hurries through it, not closing it. However, from a shot inside the house looking out, the gate is closed. See more »
Arnold Boult ( Spencer Tracy ) is a higher rank than just captain of industry as he dupes, browbeats and bribes his way to power in Twentieth century London. With limitless ambition and drive he is not concerned about being liked but having his way. Son Edward is another story however and he slavishly dotes over the boy spoiling him at every turn and using his considerable power, he holds the mortgage to the prep school Edward is about to be expelled from, to allow him to do as he pleases. With this kind of powerful enabling it is little surprise sonny grows into irresponsible adulthood.
Directed sluggishly by George Cukor, Edward, My Son has a stage feel to it as it trundles slowly from scene to scene. We never see the title character but the little he has is fleshed out excellently in conversation and argument between the parents. Tracy as a bullheaded industrialist from across the pond ( Canadian instead of Ugly American ) does a fine job of going against type, playing one of his many fatherly roles with reckless arrogance. Playing opposite Tracy as his wife Deborah Kerr simply walks away with the picture as she goes from housewife to millionaires wife with title before descending into the depths of alcoholism after the loss of her son and a lifetime with Arnold. It may well be the celebrated Kerr's most challenging and finest performance in a career that has had many.
Mid picture the film really begins to bog down as Boult begins an affair with his secretary (Lueen McGrath) that Cukor attempts to sum up in one long laborious scene at her apartment slowing the pace even more, though salvaged somewhat by Kerr who saves her best for last. The denouement is more than satisfying. It's the getting there that's the problem.
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