“Once you find the way, you’ll be bound. It will obsess you, but believe me, it will be a magnificent obsession.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary gives away a few too many spoilers in his review for me to quote it more extensively, but suffice it to say that he calls out the film’s Christian/spiritual underpinnings, which were a prominent feature of the source novel by minister Lloyd C. Douglas. In his much-more-cynical review, DVD Savant refers to the screenplay as “a rickety stack of accidents and ironies”, the dialogue as “painfully trite and often unintentionally funny”, and the underlying moral thrust — which he believes is corrupt — as “Presbyterian Guilt, [or] an exaggerated sense of responsibility”; he’s clearly not a fan of the film (or the story). My position lies somewhere in between both perspectives. Unless you buy into Sirk’s unique sensibility, you’re likely to find the entire film just a skosh removed from high camp — which is not to say you won’t enjoy some of its more melodramatic moments. There’s something undeniably moving about seeing a playboy genuinely reformed — and I found Hudson’s attraction to Wyman much more believable here than in their follow-up film, All That Heaven Allows. While this one is ultimately only must-see for Sirk completists, film fanatics will probably enjoy seeing it at least once.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments: