Monday, September 10, 2007

Until They Sail (1957)

Four Stars - and I don't usually like dramas.

Four sisters: Anne, Barbara, Delia and Evelyn (pronounced Eve-lyn) - are left alone in the world with their parents dead and their brother and Barbara's husband gone off to war. Each one copes differently: pragmatic Barbara puts up a map to track the soldiers' movements, prim Anne makes a pot of tea, little Evelyn day-dreams about her young boyfriend going off to war like the men, but flirtatious Delia matter-of-factly marries the town slob and then, desperately bored, runs off to meet more men as soon as her husband is finally drafted. She might as well be called Scarlett Delia O'Hara - I'm sure she is the descendant of the New Zealand Branch of that same family.

Anne considers Delia's actions indecent, but Barbara is less judgmental, even going so far as to visit a bar with Delia and her soldier beau. The beau insists on introducing the prim and proper sister Barbara to his mopey recently-divorced Major played by a young and very pretty Paul Newman. You can see how the guy became an institution, he has the same lips that Michelangelo carved onto David.

These newly arrived soldiers that Delia befriends are Americans and they are ruder and raunchier than the nice young men who went off to war. Anne's so incensed with them that she writes a letter to the paper. In answer to her letter a very well-bred American officer stops by to apologize. Decent Anne becomes a little more human under his influence, but then he, too has to leave.

The youngest daughter, played by Sandra Dee, is of course innocently fascinated with the Americans - just as she is genuinely touched by all the losses the sisters experience.

First their brother, Kit, then Barbara's husband, Mark are killed. The worthless slob that Delia married just ends up a prisoner of war, but that doesn't stop Delia from taking up with the American soldiers.

Barbara seems to hold up the best to all of this loss, but she is lonely. Ultimately, the whole movie is about what people will do to combat lonliness - but it's remarkably un-sad. There are sad moments, of course - it would make a good movie to cry to if you were feeling lonely and sorry for yourself - but it's plenty entertaining and really what pulls you through is knowing that Barbara, who seems to be the most reasonable, is the most desperately lonely, from the beginning. She is the lonliest the longest and in the end, she and the Mopey Major make for an interesting, and ultimately satisfying ending.

The Mopey Major Makes His Move

I love a sad movie with a Happy Ending :)
Will watch again, maybe right now!

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