Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Man I Love (1947)

Superb romantic musical melodrama, directed by Raoul Walsh for Warner Bros. at the peak of his career. Ida Lupino stars as a New York nightclub singer who travels to Long Beach to spend the holidays with her family but finds that they are all embroiled in their own personal dramas. She gets involved with an unscrupulous nightclub owner (Robert Alda) while falling in love with a tormented but brilliant pianist (Bruce Bennett), haunted by painful memories of his ex-wife.

THE MAN I LOVE is the work of a director who had developed his technique to a point where there is not a shot, not a single moment, out of place. It is an incredibly atmospheric piece, enhanced by the artifice of its studio-bound sets, rear projection and stylized dialogue that combine to create something really special -- a fantasy that is simultaneously grounded in realism. The mood is heightened by the evocative score, which features velvety, haunting arrangements of several pop standards (including the title song). It is a supreme example of the stylish entertainment that the Hollywood studio system, at the height of its powers, was capable of producing.

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