Underneath this Veronica Lake–Alan Ladd thriller (1946) lies Raymond Chandler‘s only original screenplay—a suitably hard-nosed affair about a war vet whose homecoming coincides with the murder of his unfaithful wife. Though it has the Chandler flavor and occasionally captures the feel of his sunbaked Los Angeles, the film falters under the uncertain, visually uninventive direction of George Marshall—wildly miscast here, when any vaguely sympathetic hack from Stuart Heisler to Frank Tuttle would have been just fine. With William Bendix and Howard da Silva.
George Stevens graduated from grade B comedies to prestige productions with this 1935 adaptation of Booth Tarkington‘s novel. Katharine Hepburn, in one of her most sympathetic and properly scaled performances, stars as a small-town girl struggling to escape her middle-class background; it’s Hepburn’s accomplishment, and Stevens’s, to show us the heart beneath this faintly unappealing character while stopping short of pushing her into sweetness. Stevens’s talent for stepping away from the plotline and creating intimate, casual, and naturalistic moments is given plenty of opportunity here, as it would not be in his later superproductions. With Fred MacMurray, Evelyn Venable, Frank Albertson, Fred Stone, and Ann Shoemaker. 99 min.