Director: Otto Preminger
Year Released: 1947
Lawyer Dana Andrews fools around with artist Joan Crawford pretty much right in front of his wife Ruth Warrick; in walks soldier boy Henry Fonda to marry Crawford since Andrews can't (and won't) leave his wife. It's then that things get muddled and the script starts maneuvering things just so: there's a divorce trial that comes across like a murder trial, Andrews - whose character makes a big show of loving his kids - willingly hands his daughters over to an abusive wife, Fonda does a turnaround and he and Crawford kiss for the camera. In other words, it's a picture that literally moves from a liberal sense of morality to a conservative one in the course of ninety minutes, declaring that even an unhappy, fraudulent marriage (the Crawford/Fonda one) is the 'triumphant' one. I'm not saying the liberal-to-conservative shift isn't one a movie can make, I'm just saying I'm not sure this one earns it (it is inherently a soap opera with mood lighting).