Thursday, February 2, 2012
Released in 1946, My Reputation was made -- and takes place -- three years earlier. Jessica Drummond (Barbara Stanwyck) has just lost her husband after a long illness, and doesn't quite know how to handle the emptiness she's left with. She has two young boys, a difficult if somewhat wise old mother (Lucile Watson) and some good friends, including Ginna Abbott (Eve Arden), but the loneliness she feels can be crushing. On a holiday with Ginna and her husband Cary (John Ridgely), she accidentally meets Major Scott Landis (George Brent) and the two begin a decidedly unconventional romance... and soon gossipy tongues are wagging. This has a superb, sophisticated, literate script by Catherine Turney, and features another of Stanwyck's sterling star performances. The supporting cast -- Arden, Watson, Esther Dale as the housekeeper, Jerome Cowan as a lecherous married friend, Scotty Beckett as one of her boys and others -- are swell, and George Brent, if not on Stanwyck's level, strikes the right note throughout. This is a lovely, beautifully-made movie with a moving ending. Max Steiner's score is one of his best, and cinematographer James Wong Howe ensured that Stanwyck looks luminescent.
Verdict: Another great Stanwyck picture. ****.