Saturday, January 14, 2012

Tonight's Movie: West Point Widow (1941)

WEST POINT WIDOW is one of my favorite kinds of movies, 63 minutes of "B" movie bliss. I enjoyed it from start to finish.

Nancy Hull (Anne Shirley) is a nurse whose coworkers at the hospital find her rather standoffish. She's unwilling to trade shifts and doesn't go on dates. Intern Dr. Jimmy Krueger (Richard Carlson) stumbles into the reason Nancy keeps to a schedule and doesn't socialize: she has a baby girl named Jennifer.

Jennifer was the result of Nancy's very brief marriage to "Rhody" Graves (Richard Denning); at the suggestion (insistence?) of Rhody's wealthy mother (Janet Beecher), the marriage had been annulled so that he could attend West Point. Cadets, it seems, could not be married. Rhody and Nancy had pledged to reunite upon his graduation, when Nancy plans to surprise him for the first time with his daughter. In the meantime, Nancy and Rhody have not corresponded or spoken since the annulment.

Dr. Krueger falls head over heels for both Nancy and Jennifer, even teaching Baby Jennifer to call him "Daddy." Nancy, Jimmy, and Jennifer would seem to form a perfect little family. But Nancy remains confident that Rhody hasn't forgotten her and loyally plans to reunite with him on his graduation day.

I found this movie very entertaining, without a single wasted moment. I'm  a fan of Richard Carlson, and he's quite adorable in this as the would-be husband and father who must overcome competition with a man Nancy hasn't seen in years. Shirley is also good; her character is at times overly naive and also a bit brittle, yet that is balanced with warmth and devotion.

WEST POINT WIDOW isn't anything more or less than it aspires to be, a briskly told "B" movie. It may not have the world's greatest script or most believable story, but for the viewer who's looking for an interesting, engaging film, with appealing lead actors, WEST POINT WIDOW provides very enjoyable entertainment.

The cast is filled out by a number of familiar faces, some of whom appear for just a single scene, including Cecil Kellaway, Frances Gifford, Lillian Randolph, Charles Coleman, Gladys Blake, Archie Twitchell, Maude Eburne, and Catherine Craig.

This film was directed by Robert Siodmak, who next directed Carlson in the delightful "B" noir FLY-BY-NIGHT (1942). Siodmak later directed Grade "A" film noir and suspense titles including PHANTOM LADY (1944), CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY (1944), THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE (1945), THE KILLERS (1946), CRY OF THE CITY (1948), and CRISS CROSS (1949).

My great thanks to my friend Mel for making it possible for me to see this Paramount film at long last.


Blogger Gemini730 said...

Thank You for your review of "West Point Widow". I wish this film was available on DVD.I`m a huge Richard Carlson fan. Another early Carlson film which I would very much like to see is "Highways By Night".

9:31 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

They are both good! I agree, I wish they were both on DVD.

Best wishes,

6:51 PM  

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