THE LIFE OF VERGIE WINTERS was not a happy life but it seemed to be just right for audiences who liked this sort of STELLA DALLAS and BACK STREET story. Unrequited love is always a good soap opera, and the addition of a love child here makes this a highly effective tearjerker. Harding is
an attractive young woman in love with a man on the rise, Boles. The only drawback is that Boles is married to the nasty Vinson, whom he has wed out of convenience rather than love. She's the "right woman" for a young guy on the go, but his heart belongs to Harding and they conceive a daughter
without benefit of clergy. It's all kept on the hush-hush and Boles continues promising he'll divorce Vinson and make an honest woman out of Harding. Harding won't hear of that, though, because any sort of scandal might ruin his promising career in politics. So the child (first as Granville, then
as Furness) grows up while Harding sighs a great deal in a dress shop. Eventually, Boles can take his double life no longer and tells Vinson that he wants out to marry Harding, whom he's been seeing regularly. Vinson follows Boles to Harding's residence and shoots the man. Harding, in a move so
martyrlike that she might be eligible for unwed-mother sainthood, takes the rap rather than besmirch her late lover's name. She is sent to prison (where we met her in the first reel--the whole film is a flashback--as she watched Boles' funeral procession out the barred windows) until Vinson, on
her deathbed, finally absolves her of the crime and Furness arrives to take her mom home from the slammer. Well directed by Santell, this film could have slipped into a quagmire of sentimental slush were it not for the sharp screenplay and the sharper editing. Steiner's score also helps mightily.
Anyone familiar with the movie mores of the 1930s knows from the start that Harding will have to pay for her adultery, so there's no suspense except in wondering how they'll punish her for her indiscretion. Note Bonita Granville (who later married millionaire Jack Wrather), Betty Furness (who
became a consumer advocate on TV), Walter Brennan (before winning any of his three Oscars), and Ben Alexander (who went on to be Jack Webb's sidekick on "Dragnet") in the cast.
Cast & Details See all »
- Rating: NR
- Review: THE LIFE OF VERGIE WINTERS was not a happy life but it seemed to be just right for audiences who liked this sort of STELLA DALLAS and BACK STREET story. Unrequited love is always a good soap opera, and the addition of a love child here makes this a highly… (more)