Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. USA, 1942. Warner Bros.. Screenplay by Casey Robinson, based on the novel by Henry Bellamann. Cinematography by James Wong Howe. Produced by Hal B. Wallis. Music by Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Production Design by William Cameron Menzies. Costume Design by Orry-Kelly. Film Editing by Ralph Dawson. Academy Awards 1942.
This is the most curious masterpiece: a perfect blend of film noir, period drama, and charming small-town situational comedy, all lensed to perfection by cinematographer James Wong Howe. Director Sam Wood knows exactly what he’s doing the whole time, and his risks (like introducing a major character in the last half hour of the film) somehow all pay off in spades. Lead cast members Ann Sheridan and Robert Cummings aren’t strong enough in their roles for the material they’re performing, but it makes no difference to the end result. The story concerns the goings-on in a small New England town, where secrets are capable of destruction and a man’s fortune is subject to the luck of the draw. Exceptional stuff.