EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|A LIFE OF HER OWN (director: George Cukor; screenwriter: Isobel Lennart; cinematographer: George Folsey; editor: George White; music: Bronislau Kaper; cast: Lana Turner (Lily Brannel James), Ray Milland (Steve Harleigh), Tom Ewell (Tom Caraway), Louis Calhern (Jim Leversoe), Ann Dvorak (Mary Ashlon), Barry Sullivan (Lee Gorrance), Margaret Phillips (Nora Harleigh), Jean Hagen (Maggie), Hermes Pan (Dancer); Runtime: 109; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Voldemar Vetluguin; MGM; 1950)|
|"This artificially dramatic fluff piece
seems as if it was ripped out of the pages of a
woman's confessional magazine and meant to give
the lady readers a scary moral lesson about not
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Director George Cukor ("The Philadelphia
Story"/"Heller in Pink Tights"/"My Fair Lady") does his best with this
"silly and fatuous" melodrama, even though it's still
not enough. Writer
Isobel Lennart turned Rebecca West's novel The Abiding Vision into A Life of Her Own.
Uncredited writers Donald Ogden Stewart and Samson Raphaelson were
called in to fix up the messy conclusion, which still
The girl from the
wrong side of the tracks, Lily James (Lana Turner), leaves her
Kansas small-town to be a model in NYC. Lily gets
hired by Tom Caraway (Tom Ewell), head of the
prestigious model agency. At the agency she's
befriended by a former top Caraway model, Mary Ashlon
now a drunken aging has-been. In
the evening, Mary arranges a double date for her and
Lily with advertising executive Lee Gorrance (Barry Sullivan) and
corporation lawyer Jim Leversoe (Louis Calhern), but is
disturbed that her regular boyfriend Lee is making a
play for the younger beauty. After the drunk Mary
throws a temper tantrum at the nightclub, Lily
accompanies her home. The next day, Lily learns from
the newspaper headlines that Mary committed suicide by
jumping out of her hi-rise apartment.
The next day Lily
rejects Lee's advances, but remains friends with Jim.
When Lily's career takes off, Jim introduces her to
his suave millionaire friend, Steve Harleigh (Ray
Milland), a Montana copper-mine owner on a business
trip to New York. Steve is married, and while in the
city the lonely man takes Lily out on harmless
dates. Before returning home, Steve realizes that
he's fallen in love with Lily and gives her an
expensive bracelet to express his affection. When
Steve returns to the city, Lily refuses to see him
thinking he tried to buy her off with the bracelet.
But they soon run into each other in one of the city
spots they frequented, and he tells her he will be
staying full-time in NYC. They take an apartment
together and things are going well, but when Steve
tells her his invalid wife Nora (Margaret Phillips), who
can't walk as a result of an accident three years ago,
will be visiting for his
birthday, things get tense. Lily gives Steve the
elaborate party she planned, while Steve spends a
quiet evening with Nora.
It concludes with Lily asking to meet Nora,
and coming away impressed that she has a real
affection for her husband and is dependent on his
support (needing him more than she does). With that,
Lily decides not to be a home-wrecker and gives
Steve up. Lily is left thinking that if she's not
resolute, she'll end up a suicide like Mary.
This artificially dramatic fluff piece seems
as if it was ripped out of the pages of a woman's
confessional magazine and meant to give the lady
readers a scary moral lesson about not committing
REVIEWED ON 4/1/2010 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ