DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

VACATION FROM MARRIAGE (PERFECT STRANGERS) (director: Alexander Korda; screenwriters: Clemence Dane/Anthony Pelissier/from the story by Dane; cinematographer: Georges Perinal; editor: E. B. Jarvis; music:  Clifton Parker; cast: Robert Donat (Robert Wilson),  Deborah Kerr (Catherine Wilson), Roland Culver (Richard),  Glynis Johns (Dizzy), Ann Todd (Elena), Elliott Mason (), Molly Monks (Meg), Allan Jeayes (Commander), Caven Watson (Scotty) Runtime: 93; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Alexander Korda; Warner Home Video (MGM); 1945-UK/USA)

"A decent comedy that misses the mark, as it never becomes that enticing."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A decent comedy that misses the mark, as it never becomes that enticing. It was shot by the MGM British studio, in its London Denham Studios, in b/w, during wartime and under horrible wartime conditions. The pic was a commercial success in both Britain and the States.

Alexander Korda ("Rembrandt"/"Marius"/"That Hamilton Woman") flatly directs this outdated story, in which he doesn't seem to want to make. It's based in the story by Clemence Dane.

Londoners Robert and Catherine Wilson (Robert Donat & Deborah Kerr) have a quiet but drab marriage for four years. When World War II begins the accountant hubby is drafted into the British navy, while his dowdy and sickly wife joins the Wrens (Women's Naval Service). During their service time both become more confident and less timid. Robert even has a brief platonic affair with a widowed nurse Elena (Ann Todd), he meets while recuperating from burns after heroically rescuing some of his sailor mates during battle. On the home front, the free spirit liberated woman Dizzy (Glynis Johns), a team leader in the Wrens, encourages Catherine to loosen up and to smoke and wear makeup. It leads to a platonic fling with Dizzy's dashing cousin Richard (Roland Culver).

During the war, the couple never manage to meet until three years later, as each receives a 10-day leave and meet in London. They are both apprehensive of getting together again and returning to their familiar dreary lives. But when they meet in a London pub, both are surprised by how much they have changed for the better during this time period away from each other. Back in their bombed out flat, they talk about rebuilding their lives. Bombed-out London serves as a metaphor for the marriage.

REVIEWED ON 10/4/2014       GRADE: C+

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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