Society belle Gene Tierney is in love with the dashing but penniless Tyrone Power, much to the displeasure of her snobbish uncle Clifton Webb (turning in another of his signature bitchy roles). Tierney wants Power to settle down and earn a good living in order to keep her in the manner to which she is accustomed, but Power needs to find some meaning in life, and he heads off to find enlightenment, first in Paris, later in India. Tierney doesn’t wait for him, and marries millionaire John Payn…, but when Power returns to Paris, where she now lives, her torch burns as brightly as ever, and she will stop at nothing to preserve him for herself.
This is high-grade soap opera (1946 vintage), and there’s nothing wrong with that. The India sets are laughable, but the Paris scenes are well done, and the entire production is lavish and slick. Since goodness is not that interesting, the second half of the film shifts its focus from Power to Tierney, who continues in the vein of the previous year’s Leave Her to Heaven as a cold, scheming, amoral hell-bitch. The tone is self-important, but the storytelling is compelling.
The usual Studio Classics options are present: original mono or 2.0. The inevitable problems with wraparound dialogue are present, but are more apparent at some moments than others. The music begins a little on the thin side, but becomes noticeably richer after the opening credits. The sound is pretty clear and undistorted, but mysteriously cuts out for a couple of seconds about 91 minutes in.
The picture, on the other hand, is excellent, barring slightly harsh whites. Other wise, it’s damn near perfect. The print is pristine, with no damage or speckling. The blacks are terrific, and the image is perfectly sharp, free of grain or edge enhancement.
Historians Anthony Slide and Robert Birchard give us a fine commentary, their discussion keeping things from getting too dry, even though this is a serious effort. The only other extra is three Movietone newsreels. The menu is basic.
Call this a guilty pleasure. The ideas are nowhere near as deep as they think they are, but you won’t be able to tear your eyes from the screen.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Movietone Newsreels