From This Day Forward (1946)
The Honeymoon Period
Having been discharged from the Air Force following the war Billy Cummings (Mark Stevens) finds himself at the employment office with a bunch of forms to fill in. They cause him to reminisce to before the war and his early days of marriage to Susan (Joan Fontaine - Suspicion) and the ups and downs that they faced from Bill losing his job to being arrested on an act of indecency.
I really want to tell you how much I love "From This Day Forward" partly because it stars one of my favourite actresses, the divine Joan Fontaine. But in truth I can't, it is a solid movie but one which is intentionally ordinary, a slice of life drama about a young couple before the war. There is nothing really wrong with it, maybe Joan Fontaine is a bit too perfect as a young wife dealing with various traumas but it is ultimately very ordinary.
I say ordinary because it is very much a slice of life, a look at a young couple in love and full of hope having to deal with how tough life can be. We watch how shortly after they marry Bill loses his job and they are forced to survive on Susan's low income and we also watch how he has a scrape with the law when he takes a job drawing, drawings which breach the indecency laws. But there isn't a huge amount of drama despite it being nicely put together especially in the early scenes where we witness the young couple visit her harassed sister and brother-in-law and believe they won't end up like them.
Now when it comes to the acting Mark Stevens is first rate as Bill and takes us brilliantly on his journey of ups and downs as he has to deal with being a proud man who can't support his life. This may not sound it but by being very ordinary Stevens delivers the right performance, a believable one for what tries to be a real drama. Then there is Joan Fontaine as Susan and whilst Fontaine is absolutely lovely she is a little too lovely to be believable as a wife dealing with all sorts of problems. It is a shame as Fontaine's smile lights up the movie but in a strange way it shouldn't because it makes it feel false.
What this all boils down to is that in a way "From This Day Forward" is interesting as a portrait of life, a look at the struggles of a young couple just before America entered the war. But it also makes it surprisingly dull as there is very little drama and sadly whilst it is hard not to love Joan Fontaine her radiance ends up wrong for this sort of movie.
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