Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Friday, May 9, 2008


A STOLEN LIFE (1946). Director: Curtis Bernhardt.

Kate Bosworth (Bette Davis) falls for a handsome lighthouse keeper named Bill (Glenn Ford) but he finds that her twin sister Pat has a little more "frosting" on her and marries the latter, devastating Kate. This is an interesting study of unrequited love with a little melodrama thrown in for good measure. Despite some trenchant dialogue, this is essentially a pure soap opera and it's perfectly swell on that level. Davis is fine and successfully limns two separate personalities as Kate and Pat. Ford merely has to look cute and be pleasant and this he does adroitly. Walter Brennan is his usual peppery self as the other "elderly" lighthouse keeper (Brennan was only 52 at the time!) and Charlie Ruggles scores as the twins' wise and compassionate cousin. Dane Clark is okay as the bitter starving artist Karnock but frankly it would have been wiser to forget about him and show us scenes of domestic discord with Bill and Pat -- that certainly would have been more fun. Bruce Bennett has a small role as one of Pat's extracurricular interests. A bit on the slow side at times, but the photography by Sol Polito and Ernest Haller is excellent, as is Max Steiner's score. The FX blending the two sisters together -- Davis acting with herself (and doing very well!) -- are very well executed and seamless.

Verdict: Handsomely produced soaper. ***.

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