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

Thursday, February 26, 2009


CHEERS FOR MISS BISHOP (1941). Director: Tay Garnett.

Ella Bishop (Martha Scott) graduates from a small town college and becomes a teacher there. Chances for love pass her by as the years roll on. This may sound like a dull, sappy movie, but it's actually an engrossing, warmly sentimental drama about small-town life and values, but it doesn't have a puritanical streak: at one point Miss Bishop becomes involved with a married man (Sidney Blackmer) whose wife refuses to divorce him. Donald Douglas plays Del, the man she nearly marries before her bitchy cousin Amy (Mary Anderson) steals him away, and William Gargan is the loyal Sam, who probably loves her better than anybody. There are memorable performances from the aforementioned as well as Edmund Gwenn, as president of Midwestern, Dorothy Peterson as Ella's mother, Rosemary DeCamp as Minna, Marsha Hunt as Amy's daughter, and the always-odd Sterling Holloway as the campus janitor. Martha Scott offers a simply outstanding performance as Ella; she's on top of the part whether she's playing the young student or the old lady retiring at seventy.

Verdict: A lovely movie. ****.

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