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

Thursday, July 3, 2014


Rosalind Russell lost in a fantasy
THE GUILT OF JANET AMES (1947). Director: Henry Levin.

Janet Ames (Rosalind Russell) is a war widow whose husband died throwing himself on a grenade, thereby saving the lives of five men. A bitter Janet decides to find out if these five men were worthier of life than her husband, but the problem is the method the film employs to help her do so. Instead of actually meeting these men (aside from one of them) Janet encounters an alcoholic reporter named "Smitty" (Melvyn Douglas) who helps her fantasize about these men in tiresome dream sequences, supposedly inspired by a character in Peter Ibbetson. [One of these men is comic Sid Caesar of Curse of the Black Widow playing, well, a comic.] Smitty has his own dark secret, relating to Janet's husband, and Janet also has to face some harsh truths about her marriage. The premise is excellent, and this is -- or could have been -- strong, adult material, but the screenplay and approach are silly and pull the viewer out of the story despite some interesting developments. Russell and Douglas both give excellent performances, however. Arthur Space [Target Earth], Hugh Beaumont [Murder is My Business], and Harry von Zell are also in the cast.

Verdict: Perhaps well-intentioned, but it just doesn't work. **.

No comments: