This sensitive, touching film, based on the classic romance play by Pinero, is beautifully enacted by McGuire and Young as the uncommon lovers. Oliver (Young) is the embittered, disfigured WWI veteran obsessed with suicide, the only alternative, he feels, to coping with an ugliness that
repels everyone. He meets the shy and plain Laura (McGuire), a woman also shunned by society. They marry and move into seclusion inside a small New England cottage, all that's left of a great estate which burned down years earlier. As a honeymoon cottage scores of happy lovers have carved their
initials on its windowpanes; its owner (Natwick) knows well the legend of its wonderful spell. Slowly Oliver regains his handsome countenance and Laura blossoms into a beautiful young woman. It is, of course, their mutual love which has brought about these astounding transformations, images
shattered by mindless friends.
An unforgettable fable for all who have found beauty in another person, the film does a remarkable job of sidestepping the maudlin and convincingly argues that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." Pinero's intent, to write about the triumph of love over adversity, is as fully preserved in this
version as it was in its original 1922 stage production and 1924 silent film, starring Richard Barthelmess and May McAvoy. Young and McGuire underplay roles that would doubtless have been more histrionically delivered in less able hands. This 1945 remake also benefits from subtle makeup, a
stirring score by Webb, innovative lensing by Tetzlaff and a literate screenplay by Mankiewicz and Bodeen.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: This sensitive, touching film, based on the classic romance play by Pinero, is beautifully enacted by McGuire and Young as the uncommon lovers. Oliver (Young) is the embittered, disfigured WWI veteran obsessed with suicide, the only alternative, he feels,… (more)