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

Thursday, May 15, 2014


Merle Oberon
DARK WATERS (1944). Director: Andre De Toth.

Leslie Calvin (Merle Oberon of These Three) is the only survivor of the shelling of a ship, and spent many miserable days in a life boat. With no family left, she goes to live with her Aunt Emily (Fay Bainter) and Uncle Norbert (John Qualen of Girls Dormitory), who live on an old sugar plantation near the bayou, and whom she has never met. Leslie is befriended by Dr. Grover (Franchot Tone), the maid Florella (Nina Mae McKinney), and another fired servant, Pearson (Rex Ingram), who has been warned to stay away from the estate. Among her relatives' associates are their lawyer, Mr. Sydney (Thomas Mitchell), and handyman Cleeve (Elisha Cook, Jr.). It isn't long before Leslie, now a wealthy heiress, suspects that there's something not quite right going on in the bayou, and that it embroils her aunt and uncle and perhaps others. Dark Waters is a modest, obvious and predictable suspense item with some good performances from Tone and Bainter, and especially Ingram [Fired Wife], Mitchell and Cook. Oberon has a strong scene in the hospital at the beginning, but her performance is uneven. It's all swathed in a nice score by Miklos Rozsa.

Verdict: Watchable but not much else. **1/2.

No comments: