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

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotten and Cecil Kellaway
LOVE LETTERS (1945). Director: William Dieterle.

"Most people aren't happy. They wait all their lives for something to happen to them."

"Women must understand that the returned soldier is not the man she knew and loved before he went away."

Allen Quinton (Joseph Cotten) does a favor for a callow Army buddy, Roger (Robert Sully), by writing love letters to the latter's girl back home, a woman named Victoria. Allen is disturbed because he fears when Victoria marries Roger, she'll be thinking he's an entirely different sort of man because of the letters. Years later Allen hears that Roger was killed by his wife during an argument, and is told that she, too, is dead. But is she? Allen meets a mysterious woman who goes by the one-word name "Singleton" (Jennifer Jones) at a party and at first barely notices her. But who is she really? And will the truth of her identity drive her to a nervous breakdown? Love Letters may sound intriguing, but be warned that it's a deadly bore, very slowly paced as if everyone concerned thought they were summoning up something deeply profound here. There were certainly possibilities in the premise, but Ayn Rand's un-cinematic screenplay fritters them all away with much talk and some truly suspect developments that make little sense -- it's almost as if she was writing a parody of a romantic film! Cotten is excellent, as usual; Jones has to deal with playing a very irritating character [but she received an undeserved Oscar nomination  anyway]; and Cecil Kellaway and Gladys Cooper (in a truly thankless part) are as wonderful as ever. But this is a misfire that even a pleasant score and some good dialogue can't save. File this under "Bad Hollywood Amnesia Movies."

Verdict: Leave "Singleton" to herself! **.

No comments: