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

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Triangle: Joan Leslie, Louis Hayward, Virginia Field

REPEAT PERFORMANCE (1947). Director: Alfred Werker.

"They're not real people, actresses. Audiences don't like them."

Broadway leading actress Sheila Page (Joan Leslie) has a problem or two: She is still in love with her stinker of a husband, the drunk, philandering Barney (Louis Hayward), and grateful to him for writing the role that made her a star years ago. But Barney hasn't written another play since, and he enters into an affair with Paula Costello (Virginia Field), the author of Sheila's new hit. What is basically a triangle melodrama has a unique twist -- Sheila shoots Barney at the very beginning of the film on New Year's Eve, and so fervently wishes she could live the past year all over again and avoid the grim result that she literally winds up a year in the past. Sheila does her best to change things so they won't lead to the same outcome, and the fun of the movie is in seeing whether or not things will work out the way she hopes. But even when some things change will the ending be inevitable? Leslie gives a more than competent if unexciting performance -- one can imagine say, Stanwyck in this part -- but Hayward and Field are quite flavorful [even if the former chews the scenery at times]. Richard Basehart and Natalie Schafer are fine as a young poet and the wealthy man-hungry woman who becomes his patron. Tom Conway is Sheila's producer. Wrongly considered a remake of Turn Back the Clock of 1933 [which had a time travel slant but an entirely different storyline], this was remade under that title as a made-for-TV movie with Connie Selleca in the lead [Leslie appeared as a party guest] in 1989.

Verdict: Worth living through at least once. ***.

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