Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA, 1949. The Filmakers. Screenplay by Ida Lupino, Collier Young. Cinematography by Archie Stout. Produced by Ida Lupino, Collier Young. Music by Leith Stevens. Production Design by Van Nest Polglase. Costume Design by Reta Dawson, Margaret Greenway. Film Editing by Harvey Manger, William H. Ziegler.
Ida Lupino began her directorial career with this sensitive portrayal of a dancer dealing with the personal setback of illness. While enjoying a successful partnership with Keefe Brasselle, both in dance and as lovers, Sally Forrest becomes unwell and, while in hospital, learns that she has polio. She is sent to a rehabilitation centre (which Lupino films on location), at first unable to walk at all but gradually, with exercise and personal determination, working her way back to mobility while Brasselle puts his career on hold and becomes a real estate agent to earn a living. The most significant obstacle for Forrest to overcome is not moving her muscles but keeping a positive attitude, and Lupino’s intelligent script has her heroine going back and forth between optimism and despair while her doctors try to make her understand that her mental state is a big part of her recovery. The fact that the film is obviously made quickly (two weeks, as with most of Lupino’s features) on a small budget only displays her talent more, as the film’s small narrative breadth contributes to a sense of intimacy instead of the usual disposable nature of most B-movies of the era.