Ann Vickers (1933)
The Fighting Vickers
As a social worker during WWI Ann Vickers (Irene Dunne - Never a Dull Moment) was not short of admirers but succumbs to the charms of Captain Resnick (Bruce Cabot - Big Jake) who over a couple of weeks before shipping out to France sweet talks her till they end up spending the night together. When Resnick turns out to be a love rat Ann's friend and mentor Malvina Wormser (Edna May Oliver - Drums Along the Mohawk) helps Ann to have a quiet abortion and get her career back on track working at a prison and writing a book. But Ann succumbs to another man, not divorced but separated from his wife leading to more turmoil.
"Ann Vickers" is a fascinating social drama based on the novel of Sinclair Lewis although it has to be said a truncated version of his story. That is the first of a few problems with the movie as at just 76 minutes it becomes a series of episodes in Ann's life jumping from one to the next. Even when it focuses on one such as the romance between Ann and Captain Resnick it is done in quite a choppy manner which leaves it lacking the smooth flow you expect.
But despite being choppy "Ann Vickers" is an interesting look at the plight of women during WWI from dealing with love rats to double standards and a lot more. Considering when this was made it certainly has a risky side especially when it comes to the subject of abortion. But at the same time it also has a curious side when it comes to the final scenes which seem to cloud the message which it has been trying to get across.
The thing which Ann Vickers has going for it is Irene Dunne who is brilliant from start to finish be it as the career focussed woman or when she is getting her head turned by a man. It is because Dunne is so good that even though we never get the background to her character we still can connect with her.
What this all boils down to is that "Anne Vickers" is an interesting social drama made at the start of the 1930s but is one with various issues which hold it back from being a great movie which it could have been.
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