Tuesday, March 15, 2016


In Italy during the war, Roger has had his buddy Alan writing love letters to Victoria, his girl back home, but with Roger's name attached. (These two never heard of Cyrano de Bergerac?) Alan's ready to stop because he finds himself falling for this woman he's never met—he refers to her as a "pin-up girl of the spirit." Roger eventually goes home and marries Victoria, but later when Alan returns to London, he finds out that Roger has died in an accident. At a party before Alan leaves to claim the rural property left to him by an aunt, his friend Dilly introduces him to a woman named only Singleton, a woman with amnesia who remembers nothing about her past. But when Alan tells his story about his yearning for Victoria, Dilly reacts strangely. Long story short, Singleton is Victoria, who was put on trial for the murder of Roger, who was found stabbed to death with Victoria holding a knife and remembering nothing about the incident or her past, and her guardian Beatrice paralyzed by a stroke. It appeared to have been self-defense and with Victoria now a victim of amnesia, she was sentenced to one year at a sanatorium. Eventually, Alan finds out about her past but has fallen deeply in love with her and marries her, agreeing not to push to get Singleton to recall her previous life. But slowly, Singleton begins to remember snatches of her life. What will happen when she remembers it all?

That’s a lot of plot summary for a fairly straightforward story of amnesia and love. All the little kinks along the way are mildly interesting, but ultimately this feels overblown and tedious. The performances do not help: Jennifer Jones is disastrous as Victoria, and Joseph Cotten can't do much with his blandly-written character. That they manage to develop some chemistry is mostly to Cotten's credit. The supporting cast is better: Gladys Cooper as Beatrice and Cecil Kellaway as the caretaker of Alan's farm are both good, and I wish there was more of them, particularly Cooper (pictured with Cotten) who only has a couple of scenes. Ann Richards is fine as Dilly and I like Robert Sully (Lucille Bremer's boyfriend in MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS) as Roger—at least he has some spunk even though his character is unlikable—but he's only around for the opening scene. The title song was nominated for an Oscar, and the sets and cinematography are above average, but the pluses are not enough for me to recommend this one. [DVD]

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