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Monday, June 23, 2014

Three Secrets (1950)

When a private plane carrying a 6 year old boy and his parents crashes in the California mountains, only the child survives. As climbers make their way to the top of the mountain to rescue the child, three women wait to see if it is the child they gave up for adoption: a married woman (Eleanor Parker) who had a baby out of wedlock before she married her husband (Leif Erickson), a journalist (Patricia Neal) who gave up her baby after her husband (Frank Lovejoy) left her for another woman and a dancer (Ruth Roman) who served time in prison for murdering the father (John Dehner) of the child she gave up for adoption. For an unabashed weepie, the film manages to overcome the possible maudlin nature of its story line thanks to the no nonsense direction of Robert Wise (WEST SIDE STORY) and its three leading actresses who act the Hell out of it. Parker's loving wife is the least interesting of the three but Neal and Roman bring some vinegar to their roles. The stigma of unwed mothers is (almost) non-existent today so there's a certain quaintness to the subject matter that distances us. But it does serve to remind us how lucky we are that there are more options today than then. The score by David Buttolph is nice though the use of Cole Porter's I Get A Kick Out Of You as a recurring theme is a bit annoying. With Arthur Franz, Larry Keating, Katherine Warren, Edmond Ryan and Eleanor Audley.

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