Thursday, October 24, 2013

Our Town (1940)

Hmm... after Stagecoach, Our Town is one of the oldest films ever reviewed on this blog.

Synopsis: It’s Thornton Wilder’s beloved combination of sickly-sweet small-town nostalgia and depression-inducing nihilism – captured forever on dark, grainy film. 

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “Thornton Wilder adapted his Pulitzer Prize winning stage hit and recaptured it on film. Grovers Corners, New Hampshire, a typical small American town is seen through the eyes of the village pharmacist. 

What Did I Learn?: Based on the number of scenes that take place around the breakfast table, turn-of-the-century New Englanders really, really enjoyed that first meal of the day.


Really?: THEY. CHANGED. THE. ENDING.  Oh, Thornton... how could you? 

Rating: I’ve loved the play Our Town ever since I was lucky enough to catch a professional performance of it in 1990 or ’91. It’s a beautifully-written, and thought-provoking classic, so I was primed to enjoy the 1940 film. Unfortunately, the movie version fell into the public domain a long time ago, so many versions (including this one, I imagine) were made from recordings-of-recordings. The resulting film quality is incredibly dark and scratchy, the audio is atrocious, and overall movie experience is poor. Oh, and William Holden is WAY too old to play a teenager, and I’m still in shock over the “Really?” moment. 6.5/10 stars.

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