Friday, 2 December 2011

Blossoms In The Dust (1941)

{Cutest moment ever caught on camera. My GIF. Plus she and this kid have totally matching hair.}

I had nothing to do a kind of free evening yesterday so I decided to watch a film. I started to watch Mary Of Scotland (1936) starring Frederick March and Katharine Hepburn, but I all but fell asleep after about five minutes, so that was turned off. Then I decided to watch Blossoms In The Dust (1941) starring Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon with my sister instead. So we sat down and got wrapped up (I swear the right side of our house is like northern Greenland right now) and started to watch it. Wow.

Blossoms In The Dust (1941) Directed by Mervyn LeRoy


Edna Kahly comes from a wealthy family. She doesn't have any social problems and is going to be married around the same time as her adopted sister, Charlotte. And then one day when she was at the bank one of the tellers said just one thing to her - "You better take that ring off right quick, because you're going to marry me." Shaken, she came home and told all to Charlotte. She gets over it and gets ready for a party she's having that night. Little does she know that the same banker, Sam Gladney will turn up at the dance to tell her that he had short-changed her at the bank. She cautiously accepts a dance from him to save face, and he tells her a little about his wheat mill in Texas and how he's going to set it up for a family and then get married to her {it isn't as stalkerish as it sounds.} He tells her to meet him at the station the next morning to see him off.

With Charlotte's encouragement she goes and waves goodbye to him. They then start corresponding with letters and notes and eventually they get engaged and he comes home to get her for the wedding. When they arrive home, Charlotte tells them that her fiancee is in with his parents negotiating a double wedding, but in fact they are telling their son that he can't marry Charlotte because she is a "foundling - an "illegitimate" girl. Charlotte walks in and hears everything. Devastated, she runs up to her room and kills herself.

Two years pass and Edna and Sam are getting along nicely and they have a child. Unfortunately the doctor, Max Breslar, informs the couple that Edna can't have any more children. Sad, but grateful for the child they have though he is very frail, they do their best to make the child as happy as possible, but one day he tragically dies. The years pass and one night at one of Edna's parties, Max comes in with a child who was on her way to the orphan centre, and who he wants to stay with the Gladney's for a night. Edna is adamant that the child cannot stay and after Max leaves, she confesses how sad and "useless" she has felt since she found out that she couldn't have children.

So instead of feeling sorry for themselves, Edna and Sam open up a day-nursery for children with working mothers, but the wheat business crashes, leaving Sam with nothing. So they move away and he starts working in a mill, when one day on the way to post a letter, Edna comes across a session in court for adopting children. She sees how all the "illegitimate" babies are sidelined and left alone, and she is reminded of Charlotte. She makes her mind up to set up an organisation by which children can be adopted and put with families they will be happy with. This goes well until Edna is told she can't go on with her organisation and suddenly Sam dies.

Penniless, but full of ambition and driven by Sam's last words, "Never desert", Edna crosses the whole of Texas raising money for her new children's home...


The Verdict:

This was one of those films I'd heard hyped a lot and I'd heard how sad it was, so I was hoping for the best, but at the same time hoping I'd find it as great as everyone else does. I did. It was amazing. Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon in a drama about little orphaned children? TEARS GALORE PEOPLE! SERIOUSLY! Me =

{Not my GIF}

Walter Pidgeon has a really small part in this film. He dies before anything happens! Shame, because then he and Greer could have run the big orphan house together like the perfect perpetually-married couple that they are in real life in the movies. I love Walter Pidgeon. I've only really seen him in Greer Garson movies and then Funny Girl (1968) but from what I've seen I think he's a really good actor. They work so well as a pair because neither of them takes away from the other's performance. You get the feeling that they were totally equal in the way they went about their roles. It's great to watch them, up there with Tracy/Hepburn in my favourite couples list!

The direction in this film is really good. I was expecting nothing less from the amazing directing talents of Mervyn LeRoy (just realised I've only seen this film, Gypsy and Random Harvest of his.. Oh well. That makes him amazing!). He manages the subject very well, without making it too obvious or predictable. The whole subject actually leaves a lasting impression on you. I really felt for all the good characters in Blossoms In The Dust. The way that you always want to feel about the protagonists of a film, but rarely really feel.

Greer Garson will forever be one of my favourite actresses. Unfortunately, there aren't many of her films available and not many people even really know her! She's such a wonderful actress that this is a crime! Spread the Greer love people! But anyway, she is perfect for the role of Edna. You totally believe that she could be loved by and take care of all those cute little lonely babies. I have to say that some of her scenes with her beloved invalid boy Tony were completely fantastic and greatly moving. I can never seem to pick any holes with any Greer Garson performance, and I can't with this either! (Plus, she has the most amazing red hair I've ever seen.)

"And then can I come back to you, Auntie Edna?"

My favourite ever crazy-supporting actor tied with Cuddles Sakall is in this film! He's in Shop Around The Corner too and his name is Felix Bressart (I didn't know his name 'till today!). He is so sweet and adorably slow and funny :-) Plus... He has the complete best mustache in history.

Overall this is a great film. It's a super-dooper tear-jerker, but that's nothing against it! So if you are a Greer Garson fan or just a looking for a really great film then watch this! It thought it was fantastic :-D

I know the film is hard to get, but it can be found on YouTube at the moment, so look while you can! It might get taken down soon.



Rianna said...

I watched this a week ago (I'm still in Greer obsessive mode) and I thought I would dissolve into a puddle of tears at the end! The little boy was adorable, and Greer was so loving and warm to all the children! The only thing I resented was Walter getting killed off, but it is based on a true story, so I guess they couldn't help it.

classyfilmlover said...

I love Greer Garson and agree that more people should see her work! "Blossoms In The Dust" seems to be a very nice story. This is one of her films that I've never had a chance to see before. I actually just ran across a pack of classic movies for $10 yesterday and this was one of the four films included. I think I'll go back and buy that set now. Haha.

Gilby37 said...

I loved this article. I still need to see this film and you've piqued my interest!

Anonymous said...

I saw it when I was eleven, but all I remembered about it was Greer Garson and the title. Last night I saw it again--after 73 years. I loved it. I had forgotten that it was about the Edna Gladney homes--if I ever knew it. By the way, I saw it in the same theater both times--The Palace Theatre in Corsicana, Texas.

Anonymous said...

Well where did you watch it because I have been all over the internet for over an hour and I can't find where the FULL movie will play at all........only the trailer.

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