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STUDIO: Warner Home Video
RUNNING TIME: 107 Minutes
o Available Subtitles: English
o Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
o Two vintage "Behind the Cameras" segments from the Warner Bros. Presents TV series
o Original theatrical trailer
A first class screenplay from Ben Hecht (Notorious, His Girl Friday, Scarface) creates a powerful tear-jerker about love and loss in the WWII era.
Van (Brigadoon, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo) Johnson, Jane (The Lost Weekend, All That Heaven Allows) Wyman
Ruth Wood (Wyman) lives a lonely existence working at a thankless office job during the day and taking care of her heartbroken and unwell mother at night. A chance encounter with a soldier awaiting deployment (Johnson) precipitated (pun unintended at first, but am now quite proud of, honestly) by rain leads to a whirlwind romance. What follows is an exploration of love’s power in trying times of war and loss.
Labatt Blue: the neckless’ choice of brew.
They don’t make tear-jerkers like this anymore. Sure, there’s emotionally manipulative movies that use all of their possible means to make you invest emotionally in the work (regardless of whether the movie has earned this or not), but few actually create likable and believable characters who develop over the course of the film and then subject us as an audience to their pain and sorrow. It feels like the product of a bygone era when characters could simply be likable to base a movie around them, instead of there being a hook or gimmick (one feels that if this movie was remade today they’d add a gimmick – War-torn lovers, but one of them lives in the Middle Ages!).
"Oh, look, Ghost Rider’s #1 at the box office!" "What’s that headline next to it?" "Good taste to America: ‘Fuck you’."
The work by its two leads, Wyman and Johnson, is exceptional and anchors the movie by creating two believable characters (although Wyman’s character does most of the heavy lifting, while Johnson just plays a guy you’re happy for her to have found) whom you root for throughout the film. Hecht as a writer is smart enough to takes his time to go into these characters and their specific motivations and backstory. This pays off for the film in a major way later on, as you’re willing to invest emotionally into the melodrama as the film progresses to quite a different endpoint than that from which it began. The film also does them right by surrounding them with a textured supporting cast, led by Eileen Eckhart as Ruth’s friend Grace as well as Josephine Hutchinson and William Gargan playing Ruth’s estranged parents. These characters aren’t just there perfunctorily and some of them are actually given arcs that don’t exactly pertain to the ‘A’ storyline, allowing for a film experience that feels more whole than the disposable supporting characters often used indiscriminately today.
Before she could even react, she was victimized by the famed ‘Grocery Flasher’.
Another character worth noting in the movie (as is the case generally when this is the setting) is New York City. It’s a great setting for a movie based on the idea that two people making a connection with one another in a frenzied world is worth calling a miracle. Rudolph Mate captures their courtship beautifully and doesn’t pull you out of the movie with any spectacular crane shots or anything in that manner. It’s a rather straightforward film filmed rather straightforwardly.
I suppose the extent to which viewers will accept this movie rests solely on their opinion of the power of love as an abstract concept (and the inherent goodness of people – this is a movie where waiters in fancy restaurants will get you a table without a reservation simply out of the goodness of their heart, the type of good-natured people you wish existed because the world would suck less if it did). If you buy into it or better yet need to believe in it, I think this movie will work for you, and work quite convincingly. If you’re so cynical to be past caring for such lovable characters as this, then this isn’t recommended for you. However, for those who enjoy Ben Hecht’s work, or the old melodramatic style of filmmaking (that’s quite emotionally resonant, especially in our current war-torn climate) then this movie will be right up your alley.
An early incarnation of Dateline’s To Catch A Predator proved to be unwieldy in its setups.
First, as always, the cover art. It’s pretty damn good, actually, with a Norman Rockwell feel that captures the romantic spirit at this movie’s core perfectly. The transfer is acceptable, although it could’ve been cleaned up a little bit if they were going down that route. The Dolby 1.0 is fine and cleaner than the picture, for what it’s worth. In terms of extras, you get the original trailer (which doesn’t even stoop to being funny in retrospect) and two “Behind the Cameras” segments that involved the Miracle shoot (one about the city of New York City and a soundstage reproduction of part of it, the other about the process by which film negative is developed) which are pretty fluffy but worth inclusion just for posterity’s sake.
7.3 out of 10