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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

ADAM HAD FOUR SONS (1941)


After her Hollywood debut in David O Selznick ‘s INTERMEZZO/’39, megged by routineer Gregory Ratoff, Ingrid Bergman took a year off to complete her Swedish contract. Her second Hollywood film found her stuck playing a saintly nanny & surrogate mother to Warner Baxter’s brood of boys. She even got stuck with Baxter as love interest and Ratoff repeating as director! (The studio look of the film is particularly suffocating.) It hardly mattered, Americans were all goners, and rightly so; Ingrid inspires nothing but awe & devotion. Still, this is pretty dreadful stuff. And a bit creepy when, after a long absence, she returns to nanny duties with four fully grown men all getting prepared to go off and serve in WWI. (Whatever is she doing there?) She does gets to battle it out with the eldest boy’s new bride, Susan Hayward, who’s laughably transparent as a scheming, sexually voracious vixen. Bergman even deigns to nobly ‘cover’ for the little bitch. It’s just the sort of goodie-goodie role Bergman deliciously sends up in MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS/’74, but you’ll enjoy that film just as much without sitting thru this dog.

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