Monday, June 7, 2010

Olivia Wins Her FIRST Oscar

We felt we had a real treat this week - Olivia de Havilland's 1946 Oscar-winning performance in To Each His Own, wherein our heroine plays an unwed mother. The movie is just wonderful - a chick flick, a melodrama - you bet, but what a performance!  Olivia gets to play Jody Norris, a young woman from a small town, during multiple stages of her life. We first see her as a somewhat hardened, middle-aged woman; but thanks to flashbacks, we get to see her as a young, optimistic girl. Jody meets a young flyer (John Lund as Captain Cosgrove), falls in love, spends a night with him, exchanges multiple love letters, only to learn a few months later that he was killed in battle.  Now pregnant, she decided to have her baby AND raise him. Her plan is simple. She will leave her child on the doorstep of the town's most fertile woman, knowing that the family will be unable to take him in. Then, Jody will come to the rescue and offer to adopt the child.  However, Jody's former suitor (Philip Terry) and his wife (Mary Anderson) have just lost their newborn child.  The town generously offers the "orphan" to them.

De Havilland  is a gem in this picture; she manages to easily demonstrate all the stages of Jody's life - from young innocent, to hardnosed businesswoman to bitter middle age.  No one else in the cast even comes close.  John Lund is really only window dressing - an object of love, first as the lover, then as the son. It is not his fault, because everything rotates around De Havilland.  Perhaps the only performance that even comes close is that of Victoria Horne as Jody's friend Daisy Gingras in the scene where Daisy relates the story of her youth, and of the grandmother who removed her from the home of her alcoholic mother. 

For some reason, this movie is NOT available on DVD (WHY????), but it is run occasionally on TCM. Do watch the schedule and try to catch it; we're sure you will enjoy it.  Here's a wonderful scene, where Jody learns she has lost her child:


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