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Monday, March 27, 2017

In This Our Life (1942)

Two sisters couldn't be more different. Stanley (Bette Davis) is self centered and amoral and doesn't care who she hurts but Roy (Olivia De Havilland) is conscientious with a moral backbone. When Stanley steals Roy's husband (Dennis Morgan), it's only the beginning of the heartbreak she will bring not only to her family but others as well. Based on the Pulitzer prize winning novel by Ellen Glasgow and directed by John Huston. The racial aspects of the novel as well as the Uncle's (Charles Coburn) incestuous desire for Stanley were toned down for the film and Glasgow disowned the film. What stands out today is a juicy melodrama with nice performances by Davis and De Havilland both, alas, stuck with dull leading men, the aforementioned Morgan (though to be fair, a bit livelier than usual) and George Brent. But the movie's most striking aspect is the portrayal of the young black man (Ernest Anderson) studying to be a lawyer who gets railroaded into a hit and run charge. He and the script play against the usual stereotypes black actors were usually required to play during this era. With Walter Huston, Hattie McDaniel, Billie Burke and Lee Patrick.

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