Friday, 15 November 2013

OUR VERY OWN (1950) WEB SITE


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Production Credits

    • Director - David Miller
    • Set Designer - Julia Heron
    • Art Director - Richard Day
    • Cinematographer - Lee Garmes
    • Sound/Sound Designer - Fred Lau
    • Editor - Sherman Todd
    • Costume Designer - Mary Wills
    • Makeup - Blague Stephanoff

    Cats Credits

    • Ann Blyth - Gail Macaulay
    • Farley Granger - Chuck
    • Joan Evans - Joan
    • Jane Wyatt - Lois Macaulay
    • Natalie Wood - Penny Macaulay
    • Gus Schilling - Frank
    • Phyllis Kirk - Zaza
    • Martin Milner - Bert
    • Ray Teal - Mr. Lynch
    • Harold Lloyd, Jr. - Boy

    Awards

    Nominated
    Oscar
    Best Sound, Recording
    Gordon Sawyer 

    "Our Very Own" (1950) is one of those films appreciated today for entirely different reasons than at the time of its release. If there ever was actually a stigma to adoption it is long forgotten, so the angst and overwrought melodrama associated with the film's central revelation seems way too extreme. On the other hand you would have expected people in 1950 to be shocked at the idea of a high school senior running around with a boyfriend who looks to be about 30, not to mention the sparks between this guy and the girl's 16 year old little sister. 

    But most 21st century viewers will enjoy the film for its time capsule look at life in 1949 Middle America. Particularly entertaining is a relatively long opening sequence about the delivery and installation of the family's first television set. Younger viewers should note that most American households did not acquire one of these devices until the mid-1950's, so a 1950 audience would have found the sequence almost as novel and interesting as we find it today. 

    This opening sequence includes a great routine between nine year old Penny (Natalie Wood) and Frank (Gus Schilling) the TV repairman. Precocious Natalie manages to hijack the film at this early stage and leave the viewer wishing she had more screen time. It is so entertaining (and so 1950) that the rather routine events making up the remainder of the film are a considerable letdown.

    The Macaulay family has three sisters, 18-year-old Gail (Ann Blyth), 16-year-old Joan (Joan Evans), and nine year old Penny (Wood). The three actresses look enough alike to be actual sisters but it turns out their parents have an ugly secret; Gail was adopted as an infant. Gail is writing a speech for her upcoming high school graduation and thinking about college when she is not busy keeping Joan from flirting with her steady boyfriend (an aging television installer) named Chuck (Farley Granger). Joan is followed around by a depressed looking Martin Milner; the king of the "numerical" television series ("Route 66" and "Adam 12"). On Gail's eighteenth birthday, Joan accidentally discovers her parent's great adoption secret. During an argument with Gail she blurts out this new information and Gail goes into state of shock and anguish for the remainder of the film. It turns out that Gail's biological father was killed in an accident before she was born, but her mother is alive. A meeting is arranged but it goes bad. 

    This is the film's other great scene as the two Anns (Ann Dvorack plays the biological mother) play off each other quite well. Although there is a certain socioeconomic prejudice showcased, it is nonetheless staged extremely well and is quite original. Dvorack must nervously pretend before her husband and their guests that Gail is the daughter of an old friend. 

    Subsequent to this mother-daughter meeting comes another rather simplistic development as the father of Gail's best friend decides to skip his daughter's graduation ceremony. Thus does Gail come to appreciate the true meaning of "family".

    Overall "Our Very Own" is full of solid performances but Blyth is clearly the star. She was not an actress with much emotional range and tended to specialize in women who were morose when they were not being serious. She handles the scenes of Gail's shock and depression quite well but doesn't really convey the happy pre-revelation Gail. In fact, I don't recall Blyth ever playing convincingly happy in any of her films-not even in a Snow White's Evil Queen sort of way.


     CRITICA EN EL PERIODICO "LA VANGUARDIA" (14-2-1951)
    .Podrán reprocharsele muchos defectos al cine americano, podrá decirse de él que peca de comercializado y vacuo de cándido y superficial, pero nadie dejará de reconocer que en esta hora dada a los más amargos neorrealismos, cinematográficos, es precisamente el cine americano que todavía huye de ellos, fluye para contarnos de vez en vez como ahora en "Vida de mi Vida" una historia sencilla tenue y conmovida, en la que vibran con la resonancia de viejas melodías olvidadas, los temas constantes del amor entre padres e hijos, del amor con que la vida llama en las puertas floridas de la adolescencia y de la visión del mundo que esta misma adolescencia tiene cuando ante si se abre el tremendo interrogante de un problema que esta película plantea y resuelve de la manera mas noble y ejemplar. En cierta forma "Vida de mi Vida" se apoya en motivos excesivamente convencionales y acaso también se componga toda ella sobre cálculos un poco elementales, cuyos resultados puede obtener cualquiera, esto es cierto, pero vale la pena señalar también que los valores de la película se originan precisamente en aquellas caractericticas, gracias a las cuales, el drama no se sale nunca de los limites reales de una emoción tibia y dulce que se apodere poco a poco de la sensibilidad del espectador, hasta rendirse a las alegrías de la joven "Gail", quien solo llega a saber lo bueno ha sido Dios con ella, cuando ha sufrido la prueba de encontrar a su madre que nunca lo había sido para ella. Diríase a juzgar por lo que antecede, que hay en el asunto un cierto regusto de novedad rosa, más quien lo considere así, no dejará de reconocer asimismo, que "Vida de mi Vida" sabe muy bien como eludir la fácil tentación del sentimentalismo al alcance de todos los bolsillos espirituales, para componer su gracia cordial humana en torno a la luz y la frescura de un modo de vida en este caso el de una familia media norteamericana descrita con autentica ternura y simpática tanto en lo que se refiere a los pormenores de la existencia hogareña como el perfil de los personajes, la buenísima Ann Byth ya encajaba en una excelente norma interpretativa, pasando por todos y cada uno de los interpretes del reparto, en el que sobresalen la creación tan breve como soberbia de Ann Dvorak, en la figura de más profundidad dramática de la cinta. Todas las virtudes sensibles y de suavidad que distingue a "Vida de mi Vida" son producto pues de la inteligencia con que se ha desarrollado un tema, que tal vez en su forma original tuvo mayor vigor patético, aunque, no mejores propósitos emocionales. De cualquier forma y aparte los méritos aludidos destaca la realización, púdica fina legitamente realista de David Miller, y el sentido dominante poético que se ha infundido a buen numero de secuencias a las que sirve de soporte lírico de un melódico "left-motiv" tema musical. .H. SÁENZ. GUERRERO










     
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