We are now in the final week of #CleanMovieMonth2020. In the next few days, I will be publishing the last three reviews of new American Breen Era (1934-1954) films which I have watched during July. This article is the final mini review I will publishing. The nineteenth and twentieth articles will be this week’s entries in our 100 New Code Films. I hope that you have enjoyed joining us in this discovery of new Code films from the wonderful Breen Era of Hollywood.
#18 – Goodbye, My Fancy (1951)
Joan Crawford, Robert Young, and Frank Lovejoy
Director: Vincent Sherman, Producer: Henry Blanke, Production Company: Warner Bros.
A middle-aged congresswoman resists the advances of a former sweetheart, a persistent photographer. When she receives an invitation to accept an honorary degree from her alma mater, from which she dropped out, she is very excited to return, largely to be reunited with her first love, the college’s president.
Fair Code Film
Highly Recommended, Five Stars
I haven’t seen many films with Joan Crawford yet. In fact, this is only the third Code feature film in which I have seen her, plus the pre-Code Grand Hotel (1932). I feel like I need to see more films starring this famous actress before I can really form an opinion on her. I enjoyed her performance in this film. She is authoritative and serious, as one would expect a congresswoman to be, yet she softens and shows her vulnerable, human side upon returning to her alma mater. Robert Young plays a complex role as the college president whose principles of youth are rekindled by seeing his old flame again. Because of her, he wants to find the noble nature which he sacrificed years ago to politics. Frank Lovejoy is the least likeable character as Matt Cole, the newspaperman who hounds Agatha (Joan Crawford) throughout the film. Quite frankly, I think that Mr. Lovejoy is better suited as a supporting actor rather than a character of such prominence. His acting was very good; I just didn’t care for the role. The rest of the cast featured other strong supporting actors. One of the most noteworthy is Eve Arden as Agatha’s cynical secretary, Woody. She doesn’t understand the frivolous side of Agatha’s nature which comes out when they visit her college. Speaking of frivolous, Ellen Griswold (Lurene Tuttle) is Agatha’s hilariously frivolous former roommate, who now is married to Claude Griswold (Howard St. John), an important man at the college. In her film debut, Janice Rule plays Virginia Merrill, Jim Merrill’s (Robert Young) college-aged daughter. This movie does a great job at keeping you guessing as to what is really happening, particularly regarding Jim’s character. There are strong messages about the importance of free speech in education, and they are extremely relevant today. There is a huge debacle at the university regarding a documentary which Agatha made. It explores the restrictions which were put on thought, expression, and education in dictatorships, warning America not to follow this dangerous path. This entertaining film raises a very similar flag of warning for our country in the twenty-first century.
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