Marjorie Morningstar (1958)

“Health is everything. The rest is mud.” – Uncle Samson

Number of Times Seen – 1 (23 Jun 2020)

Brief Synopsis – A girl brought up in a sheltered family wants to live her life her own way and become an actress despite her parents wanting her to settle down with a nice doctor or lawyer.

My Take on it – This is a film that I came across by accident and was quite impressed by what they have to offer here even if parts of it are far too stereotypical and in some instances even insulting (as a Jew) by the way things are presented.

The premise works quite well despite this due to the way that they story is set up.

The film has a great cast led by a very young Natalie Wood as a young woman torn by her faith and her ambitions.

Gene Kelly plays the lead male role and it’s always fun watching him sing and dance but something is lacking in the chemistry between the two of them and that probably has much to do with the vast age difference (26 years) between them even if their characters are only slightly more than a decade apart.

Ed Wynn is great in a supporting role and adds so much to the story yet his character doesn’t have a more substantial part in things.

The premise has a great timeless aspect to it especially when they deal with personal aspirations  versus parental expectations and even after more than 60 years it still remains a relevant issue.

Despite the lack of real chemistry between the leads, this film is still able to show an intense relationship between characters even during a time when the censors didn’t allow much to be expanded on in a visual way.

Instead they end up feature it all in a very subtle way that works in showing us things in a more realistic way.

Bottom Line – Very interesting premise that works quite well even if parts feel stereotypical and in some ways insulting.  The cast is great and Wood really shines here in the lead role.  Her chemistry with Kelly is a bit problematic because the blatant age differences between them if a bit odd. Wynn adds so much to the film and its too bad his character doesn’t have a more substantial part. The story is quite timeless in the way that it deals with personal aspirations versus expectations of ones parents. They do a great job showing an intense relationship like the one that these characters have yet due to the morality codes of the time, they do it all in a subtle way.  Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Paul Newman was initially offered the role of Noel Airman that eventually went to Gene Kelly. Danny Kaye was also offered the Airman role, but turned it down as being “too Jewish.” (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy (7/10)


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