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

Thursday, November 15, 2012


THE SAXON CHARM (1948). Writer/director: Claude Binyon.

"Yes, my flatulent Florence Nightingale, and close the door on your way out!" -- Charming Matt Saxon to nurse.

Janet (Susan Hayward), the wife of a successful novelist-turned-playwright, Eric Busch (John Payne), is warned by the unfortunately-named  entertainer Alma Wragg (Audrey Totter) that she may well regret it if her husband allows producer Matt Saxon (Robert Montgomery), Alma's boyfriend, to produce his play. For Saxon doesn't seem to know or especially care that other people have personal lives and may not want to be at his constant beck and call like a bunch of babies. Saxon even tries to order for everyone in a restaurant and throws a fit when things are not to his liking. However, Saxon not only has charm, but he isn't stupid: "Nothing that's good and has a purpose is old-fashioned," he says. Still he's almost responsible for wrecking the Busch marriage and his need for control goes a little too far when it comes to Alma and her career. While The Saxon Charm hasn't quite got the bite and strong plot of the later backstage drama All About Eve, and the marital difficulties of the Busch's seem a bit contrived, it is nevertheless well-acted by all of the principles and quite entertaining as well. A nice score by Walter Scharf  is a bonus. Harry Morgan, Harry Von Zell, Heather Angel, Chill Wills and Kathleen Freeman all score in smaller roles. Binyon also directed Dreamboat with Clifton Webb and many other movies.

Verdict: It's worth spending some time with this "charm boy," who is all too typical of many theatrical types and others. ***.

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