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

Thursday, May 7, 2009


YOUNG WIDOW (1946). Director: Edwin L. Marin.

The very American hotsy totsy Jane Russell teamed in a romantic pairing with the veddy British and veddy cultured Louis Hayward? You wouldn't think of these two together, but somehow it works. Part of the reason is that this film features a more subdued, much less hard-bitten Russell, who gives a very nice performance as Joan Kenwood, who is dealing with her grief over losing her beloved husband in the war. She and an equally effective Hayward play quite well together, despite their obvious differences. But there are even more cast surprises in this film. Penny Singleton of Blondie fame plays a friend and roommate's of Joan's, but she's not the dingbat -- her other roommate Marie Wilson (My Friend Irma) takes that role, and Singleton is sensible! Kent Taylor of The Day Mars Invaded Earth is Joan's boss and Faith Domergue of It Came from Beneath the Sea is another colleague who is afraid to marry a serviceman. Norman Lloyd of Hitchcock's Saboteur [he falls from the Statue of Liberty at the end] is another serviceman, and Gerald Mohr of Angry Red Planet and Funny Girl is another reporter. Also in the cast are Louise Beavers, Connie Gilchrist, Cora Witherspoon, and James Burke, who plays a motorcycle cop in a funny sequence and was also in the classic "The Diner" episode of I Love Lucy. A bizarre moment occurs in a hospital room full of expectant dads where a middle-aged man tells of how he and his wife were trying for twenty years to have a baby. Their luck finally changed when a young serviceman took a room in their place. Hmmm.

Verdict: Entertaining drama has laughs and poignancy in equal measure. ***.

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