A Movie A Day: Quint on DAISY KENYON (1947) Anything logical makes me want to fight for some reason.
Published at: Sept. 30, 2008, 6:14 a.m. CST by quint
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day.
[For those now joining us, A Movie A Day is my attempt at filling in gaps in my film knowledge. My DVD collection is thousands strong, many of them films I haven’t seen yet, but picked up as I scoured used DVD stores. Each day I’ll pull a previously unseen film from my collection or from my DVR and discuss it here. Each movie will have some sort of connection to the one before it, be it cast or crew member.]
Today we follow both Henry Fonda and Dana Andrews back 18 years from yesterday’s AMAD Battle of the Bulge to today’s DAISY KENYON. Andrews and Fonda play two points of a love triangle, the third point being Joan Crawford as the title character.
I don’t know what I expected when I started this movie… maybe a more Noiry movie since it’s under the “Fox Noir” banner. There’s no real crime here and you’d be hard pressed to put Joan Crawford’s character in a classic femme fatale mold. The only thing noir about this film at all is the great black and white photography by Leon Shamroy (THE KING AND I, PLANET OF THE APES).
Hell, even the description on the back of the DVD calls it a melodrama and boy it sure is. I don’t know if I was just tired or in the wrong mood, but I found this flick to be Dull (with a capital D).
The performances weren’t bad, but there’s nobody to like in this movie and nobody mean or shitty enough to like hating.
Basically Dana Andrews is an easy going married man having a continuing affair with Crawford because his wife Lucille (Ruth Warrick) is pretty much a bitch who hits their kids whom he adores and they, in turn, adore him. He’s not willing to leave his family life, despite the love he feels for Crawford and that opens the door for serviceman Henry Fonda.
Fonda’s the opposite of Andrews. His love for Kenyon is not hidden behind a politician’s smile, it comes with no strings attached. He’s willing to marry her, to give his life to her, after only days of knowing her, which is incredibly appealing to the lady.
Of course they get married and when Andrews’ happy life goes into the shitter he turns, as he always has, to Daisy. But this time she can’t take him in, shelter him from his storm, and he ends up swirling down the vortex.
All three are really good in the film, but Fonda’s too one note and too easy to let things happen as they happen when Andrews pushes hard to win Daisy back. Andrews makes some really bad decisions that feel selfish even when they’re not just because he seems to throw everything good in his life away for nothing, including his little girls.
Crawford makes out the best of the three as she’s genuinely torn between her love of two men. This love is different for each person. For Andrews it’s a raw love, the love of something she knows she can never get fully. For Fonda her love is less passionate, but more real.
Final Thoughts: It’s a story we’ve seen before and this telling won’t set your pants on fire, despite some nice cinematography, some solid direction by Otto Preminger. I wasn’t impressed with this one, sadly.