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

Thursday, September 3, 2009


PERSONAL AFFAIR (1953). Director: Anthony Pelissier.

"I loved her the way one loves a child that is lost."

School teacher Stephen Barlow (Leo Genn) is beginning to tutor student Barbara Vining (Glynis Johns), when his wife Kay (Gene Tierney) tells him that the girl is clearly in love with him -- and confronts the young lady about it as well. Shortly afterward Barbara disappears. The problem is that without telling anyone Stephen made arrangements to meet with her. Did he murder the girl? Did she throw herself into the river? Has Kay Barlow got something to do with the disappearance? And what about Barbara's rather weird spinster aunt Evelyn (Pamela Brown)? Stephen tries to assure her parents that there was nothing going on between him and Barbara -- but is he telling the truth? This is not an Agatha Christie-type mystery but rather a character study showing various reactions to a disappearance and the concerns and accusations it causes. Tierney gives a stand-out performance as Kay. It's hard to imagine Leo Genn exciting schoolgirl fantasies, but there's no accounting for taste. Certain suggestions -- unspoken but tacit -- are made about Aunt Evelyn that seem psychlogically dubious.

Verdict: Interesting for what it is. **1/2.

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