This tasteful, sentimental Goldwyn production is a ten-handkerchief movie. Fredric March and Merle Oberon are childhood sweethearts whose impending marriage is interrupted by World War I. March is thought to be dead and Oberon turns to an old friend, the gallant Herbert Marshall,
accepting his proposal after a long courtship. Marshall, his commanding officer, had sent March on a dangerous mission from which he did not return. March, however, is very much alive, though permanently blind. Feeling he will be a burden to Oberon, he asks his old friend, John Halliday, to
conceal him in England under a different name when he is released from the military hospital. March becomes a world-famous writer of children's stories. When Halliday reads about the upcoming nuptials of Marshall and Oberon, he goes to the future bride and tells her that the man he believes she
truly loves is still alive. March learns of his friend's disclosure, so before Oberon arrives with Marshall he memorizes every detail of his drawing room in order to conceal his blindness. His ruse works for a while, but then Oberon discovers his affliction. She goes to him, and the lovers are
bound together in a happy ending. Though heavily melodramatic, the film is held together by the restrained and genteel performances of the three fine leads. This grand weeper was personally selected by Goldwyn, who originally hired his favorite writer, Thornton Wilder, to script the screenplay.
Later the producer brought in the bright and unpredictable Lillian Hellman and Mordaunt Shairp to adapt the script from Guy Bolton's successful stage play. Sidney Franklin's direction is well-paced and Gregg Toland's lensing sharp and innovative. This was another attempt by Goldwyn to make an
overnight star of his leading lady. He had failed with Anna Sten but the Tasmanian-born Oberon (the same little island that gave the world Errol Flynn) became a sensation with this, her second American film. The movie is a remake of Goldwyn's 1925 silent, starring Ronald Colman. The new version
proved superior, winning an Academy Award nomination for Oberon (which she lost to Bette Davis for DANGEROUS) and boosting the careers of March and Marshall. March, who at the time was America's favorite leading man after Colman, gave one of his best performances of the decade. Goldwyn's coffers
bulged with the success and encouraged him to remake his silent films RAFFLES and STELLA DALLAS.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: This tasteful, sentimental Goldwyn production is a ten-handkerchief movie. Fredric March and Merle Oberon are childhood sweethearts whose impending marriage is interrupted by World War I. March is thought to be dead and Oberon turns to an old friend, the g… (more)