“Never leave me out of your sight — never again. My life began with you. I can’t imagine the future without you.”
A shell-shocked, amnesiac WWI veteran (Ronald Colman) escapes from his asylum and is taken under the wing of a compassionate dance hall singer (Greer Garson), who he eventually marries. After a tragic accident, Colman and Garson’s future together remains uncertain: is their love destined to last?
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Greer Garson Films
- Love Triangle
- Mervyn LeRoy Films
- Mistaken or Hidden Identities
- Ronald Colman Films
- Star-Crossed Lovers
This enormously popular adaptation of James Hilton’s best-selling novel offered Greer Garson a suitably noble follow-up role after her Oscar-winning turn in Mrs. Miniver (1942); Colman a come-back role at the age of 51; and both stars an opportunity to once again enact Hilton’s characters (Garson co-starred in Goodbye, Mr. Chips, while Colman was lead in Lost Horizon). The amnesia-driven storyline of Random Harvest is pure melodrama all the way, though handled well enough not to wear out its welcome. DVD Savant argues on behalf of this flick as “an intelligent and emotionally rewarding” soaper, noting, “We care deeply about what happens to these people and their situation becomes something of intense personal importance for the audience”; later in his review, he points out that “the movie has no malice and no villain.” Indeed, those in the mood for exactly this type of feel-good flick likely won’t be disappointed, though I find it overly tame for my tastes: Garson’s character is almost too “pure” to be true, and Colman wanders around in a semi-daze for much of the film. Meanwhile, a likable supporting character (Susan Peters) poses an unenviable and unavoidable conflict of interests. (Check out IMDb for more on Oscar-nominated Peters’ tragically short life.)
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Joseph Ruttenberg’s cinematography
No, though it’s certainly worth a one-time look.