KINGS ROW (1941) B/W 127m. dir: Sam Wood

w/Ann Sheridan, Robert Cummings, Ronald Reagan, Betty Field, Charles Coburn, Claude Rains, Judith Anderson, Nancy Coleman, Kaaren Verne, Maria Ouspenskaya

From The Movie Guide: "'Where's the rest of me?' Too bad Ronnie never found the answer. Containing what is easily the future President's finest performance, KINGS ROW was a startling film for its day, portraying a small town not with the poignancy and little joys of Thornton Wilder's Our Town, but rather in grim, often tragic tones.

"The film begins with its main characters as children. Playful Drake, tomboyish Randy and uppity Louise are among the friends of the sensitive Parris. He, meanwhile, befriends the strange, lonely Cassandra, but her psychiatrist father, Dr. Tower (Claude Rains) soon removes her from school to be tutored at home. We advance in time to the grown Parris (Cummings), now a brilliant medical student who studies with Dr. Tower and still sees the increasingly quirky Cassandra (Field) occasionally. The Feisty Randy [Sheridan] loves both Parris and the rakish Drake (Reagan), but Louise (Coleman)remains sheltered by her strict parents. ...

"KINGS ROW remains one of director Wood's finest films, but one wonders how much he relied on his ace support. [Screenwriter Casey] Robinson did a fine job of adapting [Henry] Bellamann's rich novel, even if he cut out a death from cancer, deleted a mercy killing, and toned down the novel's homosexual angle. [Erich Wolfgang] Korngold's rich score is haunting and the detailed sets by [William Cameron] Menzies quite stunning. [James Wong] Howe's gorgeous cinematography, meanwhile, maintains in deep focus many layers of drama, as befits this brooding tapestry. An uneven film in spots, but one of the most memorable melodramas of its day, compelling and unusual for early WWII."