OUR TOWN (1940) B/W 90m dir: Sam Wood
w/Frank Craven, William Holden, Martha Scott, Fay Bainter, Beulah Bondi, Thomas Mitchell, Guy Kibbee, Stuart Erwin, Philip Wood, Doro Merande
From The Movie Guide: "Sam Wood directed this version of Thornton Wilder's Pulitzer Prize-winning play about the multiple relationships among the folks in a small New England town. The 'our town' genre --- studies of the relationships that mold a community --- became a welcome staple of the movies. Wilder must be given credit for establishing such an important form.
"Our Town is brought to the screen with wonderful characterizations by an inspired cast. Small-town America is typified by Craven, the down-home narrator who profiles the lives of citizens of Grover's Corners. Scott is the idealistic but hard-working daughter of the local newspaper editor, and Holden is the son of the local physician who falls in love with Scott, goes through a difficult courtship, and finally wins her hand in marriage. Life in this quaint small town is shown in three periods --- 1901, 1904, and 1913 --- with the attention basically focused upon two families, those of Holden and Scott. The result is a moving portrait of small-town America before WWII.
"Remaining faithful to Wilder's script, director Wood skillfully conveys the laughter, love, and pain in the lives of Wilder's heartwarming characters. And the techniques Wood employs to tell their stories are marvelous to behold: a dazzling series of dissolves, evocative lighting, and montages that effectively capture the flavor of the periods depicted. Scott, appearing in her first film, is splendid, as is Holden. Mitchell as the physician, Kibbee as the editor, and their wives, played by Bainter and Bondi, all provide sturdy supporting performances. Wood's outstanding direction is enhanced by a stirring score by [Aaron] Copland and lovely sets by [William Cameron] Menzies, who is a genius at capturing any locale."
OUR TOWN was nominated for five Oscars: Best Picture, Actress (Scott), Score (Copland), Art Direction (Lewis J. Rachmil), and Sound (Thomas Moulton).