Mary Rafferty (Greer Garson) comes from a poor family of steel mill workers in 19th Century Pittsburgh. Her insufferable father, played by Lionel Barrymore (picture Mr. Potter on roids), was crippled by an accident in the mill and objects when she goes to work as a maid for the wealthy Scott family who controls the mill. When Mary catches the attention of the handsome Paul Scott (Gregory Peck), their romance is complicated by the conniving ways of Louise Kane (Jessica Tandy) who wants Paul for herself, Mary’s conscience over the social complications of their union, which is not at all relieved by her father who believes the Scotts are evil and is secretly planning a union strike against their mill.
A lovely film despite Barrymore’s overzealous crotchetiness, Greer Garson is a breath of fresh air in the gloomy background of a Pittsburgh mill. It was also exciting to see a young Jessica Tandy who played quite a witch in the film.
Designing Woman (1957)
Fast forward eleven years and fall into a smooth comedy featuring Lauren Bacall, Gregory Peck, Dolores Grey, and Tom Helmore. With shades of Woman of the Year sans drama, Designing Woman is directed through first person narrative giving the viewer the perspective from the two main characters. Peck, a sportswriter and Bacall, a fashion designer find they have a lot of adjusting to do when they marry in haste. Add in a little jealousy, a punchy ex-boxer, some minor threats from a mob boss and lots of beautiful dresses and you have a hilarious Minnelli comedy.
When the head of Green Manors mental asylum Dr. Murchison (Leo Carroll) is forced to retire after a breakdown, he is replaced by the young and handsome Dr. Edwardes (Gregory Peck), whom from day one holds the usually cold and efficient Dr. Petersen (Ingrid Bergman) enthralled. Is it his dashing good looks or is she destined to be spellbound for a more important purpose? Dr. Edwardes seems strange right off and before his second day has ended, Dr. Petersen has figured him out for an impostor. Determined to help “Dr. Edwardes” who she figures is a paranoid amnesiac with a guilt complex, Spellbound is full of suspense and breathtaking moments.
Though Vertigo still reigns supreme for me, I was quite impressed with the effects and usage of camera angles in this film (the image below, when played out, was quite disturbing) and recommend anyone who has not seen it to do so. Quite entertaining, especially the old school psychiatric lingo that always makes me giggle.