RACHEL AND THE STRANGER (1948). Director: Norman Foster. Screenplay by Howard Fast and Waldo Salt.
After his beloved wife dies, Ohio rancher Dave (William Holden) buys and marries a bond servant named Rachel (Loretta Young) to look after his young son Davey (Gary Gray) and help with the chores. Unfortunately, his grief makes it impossible for him to act like a real husband with the woman. A wandering friend named Jim (Robert Mitchum) sees the problem and decides that Rachel should marry him. This lovely film features one of Holden's best performances as the widower who tries too hard to remain faithful to his dead wife. One might not see Loretta Young in the deglamorized role of Rachel, but she is also excellent. Robert Mitchum fails to get across his character's internal emotions, but is otherwise competent. Gary Gray is quite good as young Davey. The theme of loneliness resonates throughout the movie.
Verdict: This is a “little” picture but a memorable one. ***.