Tag Archives: Betty Field

John Cromwell – Victory (1940)

Plot

Victory was the first of Joseph Conrad’s novels to be adapted to film, way back in 1919. The earliest talkie version, pointlessly retitled Dangerous Paradise, was lensed in 1930. Finally, Victory was given its best screen treatment in 1940 under the sensitive direction of John Cromwell. Fredric March plays an intellectual British recluse living in the Dutch East Indies. Having vowed to close himself off from the world, March is forced to break this promise to himself when lovely travelling showgirl Betty Field is imperiled by three murderous scavengers. The villains–led by Cedric Hardwicke at his most sardonically scurrilous–switch their attentions from Field to March when they’re led to believe that the recluse is wealthy. The experience shakes the morose March back into the real world, but his regeneration is tinged by tragedy. Not precisely perfect (it’s possible the book was unfilmable), the 1940 Victory is superior to the earlier film versions if for no other reason than its retention of Joseph Conrad’s overall sense of doom and foreboding. Read More »

Joshua Logan – Picnic (1956)

Synopsis:
One of the biggest box-office attractions of the 1950s, Picnic was adapted by Daniel Taradash from the Pulitzer Prize-winning William Inge play. William Holden plays Hal Carter, a handsome drifter who ambles into a small Kansas town during the Labor Day celebration to look up old college chum Alan (Cliff Robertson, in his film debut). Hoping to hit up Alan for a job–or a handout–Hal ends up stealing his buddy’s fiancee Madge Owens (Kim Novak). Hal also has a catnip effect on spinster schoolteacher Rosemary Sydney (Rosalind Russell), so much so that Rosemary makes a fool of herself in front of the whole town, nearly driving away her longtime beau Howard Bevans (Arthur O’Connell). Read More »