This is one of my mom’s fave classic films, BUT I just recently watched all of it. It’s Hitchcock, but also VERY romantic (note the lighting). And we get the pleasure of seeing Hollywood’s two most GORGEOUS, sophisticated, and talented actors working together!
Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman) is a beautiful/young/strong-willed Miami socialite who has turned to drinking and carousing since the imprisonment of her father. At a party one night, she gets very drunk, and has to be driven home by T.R. Devlin (Cary Grant).
Devlin learns that Alicia, who loves America, is bitter that her father worked as a German spy. Devlin proposes that Alicia work as a spy for the American government on a special assignment in Rio de Janeiro. The country could use someone w/ her background and talents, Devlin’s superiors say.
Even before the plane lands in Rio, Dev and Alicia are deeply into each other. She quits drinking, resigned to be a better person. That night, she says she’s in love with Dev. But the new romance is suddenly halted when Dev learns what Alicia will be required to do IF she accepts the assignment. She’ll have to get VERY close to wealthy businessman Alexander Sebastien (Claude Rains), one of her father’s close friends. Devlin’s bosses explain that Sebastien was in love w/ Alicia years ago, and is eager to see her again!
I wanted to see this movie for a few wks! Some parts were on You Tube, but NOT the entire film. So I decided to buy it on Amazon (it was a low price). It’s an unique and memorable picture w/ 2 VERY strong actors, though Meryl Streep later said he felt “in over her head” in playing Sarah. There is some beautiful lighting and scenery, including a lush forest. It’s also mysterious, making you think about the complexity of the human mind.
This is a movie w/in a movie b/c Streep and Irons play two roles. In the modern world, they are Anna (an American actress) and Mike (a British actor). Anna (who plays mysterious outcast Sarah Woodrough) and Mike (who plays wealthy science enthusiast Charles Smithson) are filming The French Lieutenant’s Woman in Dorset and London. We shift from the past (Victorian England) to the present (’80s) throughout the film, enabling us to compare and contrast the actors and their roles.
Charles comes from London to engage the hand of Ernestina, the young daughter of a wealthy shipbuilder. He’s known her for several weeks, and they seem very much in love. Ernestina’s father approves of the match, though Charles is a follower of Darwin. After their engagement, Charles and Ernestina take a walk near the seaside. Charles sees the far-off figure of a woman (wearing a dark cloak) at the edge of the walkway. It’s a very windy day and violent waves are coming up over the seawall. Being a sensitive gentleman, he is alarmed about the stranger’s safety.
When Charles asks about her, Ernestina remarks “oh, tragedy.” Sarah is notorious in the community b/c of her (actual or alleged?) affair w/ a French officer years ago. Though it is dangerous, the curious Charles runs out to warn the woman. Sarah turns to face him, but says nothing. We see that Charles has been deeply affected by seeing her- love at first sight! He learns more about her (precarious) position in life, and wants to help her.
The actors, Mike and Anna, are romantically involved during shooting. These modern people are NOT as interesting as the Victorians, but have their moments. In one small (but eye-opening scene) Anna reads to Mike from a history book. We learn that most of the girls working in London brothels were “nice girls who’d lost their jobs”; some had been governesses. I don’t want to give TOO much away; you should watch this film ASAP!
This is a 4 star classic film noir that you MUST-SEE! Out of the Past reminded me of A History of Violence. It has snappy dialogue, interesting characters, twists and turns, and gorgeous lighting. Because of censorship laws of the ’40s, some events are (cleverly) hinted at, instead of shown outright. This adds to the originality of the film!
Jeff Bailey (Robert Mitchum) has lived for 2 yrs in a small California town running a gas station. His assistant is a deaf/mute teen boy. Jeff (a seemingly normal, quiet guy) often goes fishing w/ a pretty, sweet local lady- Ann Miller. He plans to marry her in the near future. One day, a big-city guy drives into this little community and starts asking questions about Jeff. This stranger (from Jeff’s old life) is surprised to learn about his (now ordinary) life.
Jeff confides in Ann after seeing the man from his past. No so long ago, he was a sort of private detective in San Francisco. Jeff and his partner, Brodie, got in over their head when they started working w/ crime boss Whit Sterling (Kirk Douglas). Whit paid them to look for his runaway girlfriend, Kathie Moffat (Jane Greer), even AFTER she tried to kill him!
Jeff traveled to Mexico, met the mysterious/beautiful Kathie, and quickly fell in love w/ her. After 2 weeks, Whit showed up w/ a group of his men. Jeff met w/ them, but then ran away w/ Kathie. But that’s NOT the end of this story!
Unlike the song, Kathie was not “easy to love,” but Jeff went out of his way to protect her from Whit. We find out in the last 1/3 of the story that Kathie is NOT as defenseless as she seems. Even after 2 yrs, she’s NOT completely out of Jeff’s system! Can Jeff have a normal life w/ Ann, or will Kathie cause the undoing of him? This was (no doubt) a juicy role for Mitchum, who we know has the tough guy exterior, but also a sly humor and normal guy demeanor. Just a magnetic actor!