For some reason, NetFlix has automatically rejected my review of this 1945 Tracy/Hepburn film, so I’m dropping my impressions here:
This film is brilliantly overloaded with proven box office talent. Barry plays and Stewart screenplays (customized for Hepburn) bring fascinating questions about open marriage and platonic love from dusty tomes of philosophy and biting literary references to life in the presence of organic modern music and deeply gifted actors. But it doesn’t actually work quite as well as Holiday nor The Philadelphia Story, largely because of the numerous characters and complicated subplots that pull attention in various directions that (don’t really matter much and ) magically resolve in exactly the kind of family-friendly tenderness, optimistic passion and genuine warmth that was telegraphed before the start of principle photography.
Curiously, this film is overburdened with long moments of sparkling wit, extended periods of profoundly meaningful silence, sophisticated charm, deeply adult ideas about companionship, and frequent bursts of comedic brilliance.
It ought to have been the (re)launching platform for a half-dozen amazing post-war careers; and it was, but the film also stands as a testament to all failed attempts to bottle lightning. Sometimes the best ingredients result in flat champagne or fireflies.
This film is a remarkably interesting and engaging disappointment that begs for your careful analysis.
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