“Painting is seeing, then remembering better than you saw.”
A British painter and former Sudanese-war correspondent (Ronald Colman) pines after his childhood sweetheart (Muriel Angelus), who prefers to pursue her own painting career. Meanwhile, Colman’s eyesight — damaged during an attack while protecting a fellow soldier (Walter Huston) — begins to fail him, and he is determined to finish a key painting of a Cockney model (Ida Lupino) before he’s completely blind; but will Lupino’s anger at Colman for squelching her relationship with Huston get in the way of Colman’s final artistic accomplishment?
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Historical Drama
- Ida Lupino Films
- Ronald Colman Films
- Walter Huston Films
- William Wellman Films
There are quite a few “classic” (i.e., older) films that may remain beloved by a few, but by and large have passed their prime. Such is the case with this adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s pro-British, pro-Colonialist, classist novel, which will likely only appeal to fans of Kipling’s era-specific work. There simply isn’t much here to hold our interest, other than Lupino’s feisty portrayal as a woman of few means — a “dissolute little scarecrow, a gutter-snippet and nothing more” — who sees an opportunity for betterment and latches onto it (though she’s essentially villainized for this attempt). It doesn’t help matters that Colman’s portrait of her — upon which the entire storyline hinges — seems like far from masterpiece material:
which I suppose is a problem for any film centering on a pivotal piece of art (viz. The Picture of Dorian Gray — though that movie, despite its own flaws, is infinitely more nuanced and interesting).
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Ida Lupino as Bessie Broke
No; feel free to skip this one.