EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|DEVOTION (director: Curtis Bernhardt; screenwriters: based on an original story by Theodore Reeves/Keith Winter/Edward Chodorov; cinematographer: Ernest Haller; editor: Rudi Fehr; music: Erich Wolfgang Korngold; cast: Ida Lupino (Emily Bronte), Paul Henreid (Arthur Nicholls), Olivia de Havilland (Charlotte Bronte), Sydney Greenstreet (William Makepeace Thackeray), Nancy Coleman (Anne Bronte), Arthur Kennedy (Branwell Bronte), Montagu Love (Reverend Bronte), Ethel Griffies (Aunt Branwell), Victor Franken (M. Heger), Odette Myrtil (Madame Heger); Runtime: 107; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Robert Buckner; Warner Brothers; 1946)|
|"Makes no effort to apologize for being
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Curtis Bernhardt ("Sirocco"/"Conflict"/"Miss Sadie
confusingly and sentimentally directs this studio-bound film as if in a
swoon, as he does everything he can to dumb it down and avoid telling
about the Bronte sisters' literary genius to instead keep it
overwrought with untrue melodramatics. It's an entertaining (in a campy
way) but painlessly absurd highly romanticized big-budget Hollywood
film about the Bronte sisters and their talented but
wastrel temperamental brother
Branwell (Arthur Kennedy). It's an almost risible telling of the
Brontes that never quite gets what they're about, and it makes no
effort to apologize for being historically inaccurate. The period film
is set in Yorkshire, England, during the Victorian age. It's based on an
original story by Theodore Reeves and is written by Edward Chodorov and Keith Winter.
the early 1800s, sisters
de Havilland), the bitchy future author of Jane Eyre, and
Anne Bronte (Nancy
Coleman), the quiet future author of Agnes Gray, prepare to
leave their dreamy sister Emily (Ida Lupino), the future
author of Wuthering Heights, their playful brother
(Arthur Kennedy), their loyal
matronly aunt (Ethel
Griffies) and stern vicar father (Montagu
Love) to work as governesses. The girls wish to
gain a more worldly outlook on life by leaving for a year their home in
the village of Haworth, Yorkshire, as they prep for careers as writers.
In the meantime Arthur
Nicholls (Paul Henreid) arrives
as the new curate for the
Bronte sisters' father. He inexplicably speaks with an Austrian accent.
The handsome curate attracts the romantic interest of Emily (not
historically true) and soon there's a love triangle when Charlotte
returns from working as a governess. The kindly curate is even more
attracted to the beautiful Charlotte, who delights in stealing him from
is viewed sympathetically as the responsible sister; Charlotte as the
arrogant one. Sister Anne has a small part and is depicted as the
delicate one. Brother Branwell is viewed as a talented drunk, who
messes up his life and blames his sisters for his downfall. The vicar
is the stern patriarch who can't seem to understand his children, while
Aunt Branwell spends her time trying to clean up the messy Bronte house
and keep the girls in line.
It's all so mawkish and
lacking in literary taste, presenting a story more like a banal soap
opera than a work about great writers.
REVIEWED ON 2/8/2011 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ