Amnesia, that standard movie plot device, was never used better than in this filmed adaptation of James Hilton's popular 1940 novel. The setting is England, where WWI veteran Colman is hospitalized for shell shock, having lost his memory in battle. When the armistice is declared, Colman
wanders out of the hospital during a joyous celebration and meets Garson, who takes him to a country village to help him put his life back together. Although Colman is unable to regain his memory, he builds a new identity and discovers he has a talent for writing. In time, he and Garson fall in
love, marry, and have a child.
The idyll ends when Colman is hit by a car: the accident restores his old memories, but wipes out his last three years with Garson. He returns to his relatives and works in the family business. After much struggle, Garson locates her husband and gets a job as his secretary (on a psychiatrist's
advice, she doesn't let on who she is). Colman has a new fiancee and is embarking on a political career. But since he still fails to recognize his ex-wife...
RANDOM HARVEST is a deeply moving film, marked by superb direction of its intricate story from Mervyn LeRoy, and by the strong performances of Colman and Garson (who's better here than she was in her Oscar-winning turn the same year in MRS. MINIVER). Their scenes together are sensitive and
heartfelt, giving a depth to the implausible plot that allows the proceedings to transcend soap opera. Made at a cost of $2 million, RANDOM HARVEST brought in $4.5 million at the box office, made record receipts for Radio City Music Hall, and became one of the top 25 money-making films of its
year. On the strength of its success, Colman won renewed respect in Hollywood and Garson's future at MGM was assured.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Amnesia, that standard movie plot device, was never used better than in this filmed adaptation of James Hilton's popular 1940 novel. The setting is England, where WWI veteran Colman is hospitalized for shell shock, having lost his memory in battle. When th… (more)