NO SAD SONGS FOR ME (1950). Director: Rudolph Mate.
A young wife and mother (Margaret Sullavan) discovers she has inoperable cancer and tries to arrange for another woman -- a co-worker of her husband's -- to take over when she's gone. This sounds like very depressing subject matter, but while the movie is very moving, it's also uplifting due to the artistry of Sullavan, whose performance is compelling, affecting and restrained yet believable. Although you of course know the outcome from the first, the story is still unpredictable. Howard Koch's fine screenplay transcends soap opera, and the supporting performers (Wendell Corey as the husband, Viveca Lindfors as the co-worker who falls in love with him) are also excellent. The raw graphic treatment that you would see in a film of this subject today is avoided, but at the same time, Sullavan does not get more glamorous as her health worsens. Some might find the final scene a bit pat, but it works for this movie, and avoids a morbid air. Very worthwhile. This is "adult" material in the best sense of the word.
Verdict: Great. ***1/2.