A British and American cast struggles to make this long, slow movie into something more than the soap opera it is. Told in flashback on the eve of the victory in Europe in WW II, it's a multilayered story of several people in the small Lancashire town of Browdley, England. Scott is a vicious, greedy woman whose father was sent to jail as an extortionist....read more
A British and American cast struggles to make this long, slow movie into something more than the soap opera it is. Told in flashback on the eve of the victory in Europe in WW II, it's a multilayered story of several people in the small Lancashire town of Browdley, England. Scott is a
vicious, greedy woman whose father was sent to jail as an extortionist. She's now married to Mills, a newspaper editor-publisher who has taken the side of the local mill workers in a labor squabble. Mills is a popular man due to his stance and Scott pushes him into running for Parliament. A
diphtheria epidemic breaks out, and Mills finds that more important than his campaign so he uses his time to help the local doctor, Howard, combat the disease. Howard is a drunk who is overworked and underpaid but zealous in his attentions to the populace. Mills and Scott's son dies in the
epidemic and Howard adopts an orphan (Juliet Mills, who was the actor's daughter and later a US TV star). Scott can't stand Mills' selfless manner and leaves him when he decides to spend his time rectifying social injustices. Time passes; Scott remarries, is widowed, and returns to the area with
her son by her second marriage, Carlson. Carlson meets and falls in love with Roc (the grown-up Juliet Mills). He is a flying officer and when his face is mangled in a crash, it looks as though interfering Scott is going to put an end to his budding romance with Roc, but ex-husband Mills steps in
to bring the young lovers together and Scott leaves town. Since Mills is depicted as a fine human being and Scott is shown to be ambitious and predatory, the audience is left with a good feeling when the harridan is outfoxed. James Hilton, who wrote the novel upon which this was based, as well as
Lost Horizon, is the wordy narrator. The movie looks good and was shot on an 11-week schedule at Denham Studios near London as well as in the English countryside where it was set. Producer Scott, director Dmytryk, and composer Eisler were all being scrutinized by the red-baiters at this time and
the result was that nuances that never existed were read into this movie. Several of the more right-wing critics found this to be a communist-inspired movie when it was, in fact, a drama and little else. Hilton's novel would never have been deemed pink, but the addition of the aforementioned trio
caused the paranoids to come out of the woodwork and attack the story.
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