Clifford Groves is a toy company executive whose wife and kids take for granted. Alone and depressed, he unexpectedly meets old flame Norma. They fall back in love and Groves prepares to leave his family…
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The only Sirk that works for me likely due to my bias for the infinite possibilities afforded by black and white over the binary symbolism of colour. There's also something to be said about it functioning much better as a social critique thanks to its bitter ending. Also, the children in this are such conniving pieces of shit that I love them in contrast to the dimwits in All That Heaven Allows.
Great casting idea : if we believe so much in this old love and even feel the nostalgia and the regrets it is because we do remember Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray loving each other in "Double Indemnity". Sirk kind of play on a second level with this emotional tie that goes beyond his own film. In the second half, the construction of frames within the shots are amazing. Hollywood golden era !
Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray were reunited on screen again in this great film by Sirk, maybe his best. They were in Remember the Night, and famously in Double Indemnity, Billy Wilder’s movie. Russell Metty shot in black & white. Rex the walking talking Robot is Fred’s alter ego. It’s pretty grim. I saw this on Home Maker’s Movie on WTIC Hartford in 1964, then again, projected at UConn's Sirk Retro in 1974.
So overshadowed by other Sirk's, but definitely one of his major and most memorable accomplishments. To see Stanwyck and MacMurray once more after "Double Indemnity" is a blessing. A love story of sorts, a visit from ghosts past, the opportunity for redemption, or how the "American Family" and the "American Dream" are not necessarily synonymous.
The American man is as trapped by postwar society as the women, it seems. Cliff is objectified even by his own family as naught but a breadwinner, and when he is tempted back into life outside his deadening routine, his children react as much against the disruption as they do loyalty to their mother. Black and white emotional remove replaces lush, visceral color. Cliff does not even have the luxury of a breakdown.