The Weaker Sex (1948) Movie Review

The Weaker Sex (1948)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Cecil Parker and Ursula Jeans in The Weaker Sex (1948)

Strength of Heart

June 1944 and widow Martha Dacre (Ursula Jeans) is doing what she can to help by opening her home for lodgers, especially those connected to the nearby naval base such as family friend Geoffrey Radcliffe (Cecil Parker). But on top of the lodgers she also has to deal with her two daughters as well as her son who is away with the Navy. When news comes back that the ship her son and son in law was serving on has been damaged during the D-Day landings she starts to feel like she hasn't done enough and should have been more acting with her war effort.

That synopsis for "The Weaker Sex" mostly focuses on Martha Dacre but the truth is that this war drama is more about women in general who were left to deal with life at home. As such alongside the drama surrounding Martha as she tries to keep house for the men who lodge there as well as work at a naval canteen we also see her daughters with one dealing with learning that she is pregnant whilst her husband prepares to head off to sea and the other dealing with young love maybe cut short by the fear of what may happen. It is very much a glimpse at war at home which not so much deals with the rationing side of things but the emotional side, including as in this case Martha questioning whether she should have found work at the naval station rather than keeping home.

And whilst it would be a lie to say "The Weaker Sex" is the most gripping of dramas it succeeds on delivering its message about the strength of the women at home during the War to keep on going. Much of this is down to the sensitive performance of Ursula Jeans who brings out an almost pragmatic nature to Martha who keeps on going even when things may turn out bad for those dearest to her. At the same time there is also Thora Hird as Mrs. Gaye, the cleaner, who brings a nice line of wit to the movie to stop it from being too one level. And in the middle is a dignified performance of Cecil Parker who clearly has feelings for Martha but as I said he is very dignified which makes him caring but often as nervous as a schoolboy around her.

What this all boils down to is that "The Weaker Sex" is a good look at what the women went through during the war with a focus on the emotional impact. But this lacks that some thing extra too make it a classic rather than just a good movie.