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

Thursday, November 26, 2020


Colman on his couch
FOUR STAR PLAYHOUSE: Ladies on His Mind (1953). Directed by Robert Florey.

Four Star Playhouse, which aired from 1952 to 1956,  had a series of rotating hosts, four stars including David Niven, Charles Boyer, Dick Powell, and Ida Lupino. Either one of the aforementioned male stars was replaced by Ronald Colman, or other stars appeared in certain episodes when one of the hosts wasn't available. In any case Colman [The Prisoner of Zenda] is the star of this indifferent and forgettable half-hour segment, the 17th episode of the first season. In "Ladies On His Mind" Colman plays a happily-married psychiatrist whose wife (Benita Hume) doesn't seem to think too much of his profession. 

Ronald Colman consults
During the half hour Colman sees three female patients played by Patricia Morison (an actress who only hopes to find true love), Elisabeth Fraser (who fears her husband's best friend has fallen in love with her when it might be vice versa), and Hilary Brooke (an unhappy neglected wife whom Colman seems to think is a shrew worth poisoning without ever meeting her husband). As he listens to the ladies' woes, Colman fantasizes himself into a stark painting on the wall where sort of mini-ballets are played out, none of which are very interesting. Colman is as excellent as ever, Hume personifies middle-aged loveliness, Brooke is quite good as the neglected wife, and the others are fine. But the script for this lets everyone down. Gifted director Robert Florey [The Face Behind the Mask] does the best he can with the material. Alix Talton [Deadly Mantis] plays Colman's nurse. 

Verdict: Tries to be something different but just doesn't work. **.


angelman66 said...

What a treasure trove those old kinescope TV productions provide! Too bad this one isn’t better, but a reminder to me to seek these out. I really enjoyed the My Sister Eileen/Wonderful Town you turned me on to!!
- C

William said...

I'm glad you liked that! Probably the only way to see that show nowadays although I think it was revived quite awhile ago. I think it's interesting that so much of this old TV stuff shows up on Amazon Prime and youtube.