Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Marrying Kind (1952)

While watching The Marrying Kind  a few weeks ago on TCM, I was reminded of The Crowd (1928), that great silent movie which looked at the life and love of an "ordinary" couple, portrayed charmingly and heartbreakingly by James Murray and Eleanor Murray. The later film treads similar ground: it follows a working class married couple, Aldo Ray and Judy Holliday, over the years, from their marriage day to their impending separation, and all the dissapointments, tragedies, and reconciliations in-between.

It's framed by Ray's and Holliday's impending divorce proceedings, overseen by a patient woman judge (a woman in a position of authority treated with respect in an old movie? Color me delightfully surprised). Of course, this being Hollywood, there's a tentative reunion at the end and the divorce is called off. An outcome which I didn't find satisfactory, partially because Ray's character is such an irredeemably proud hothead, and partially because the movie is more successful at showing the desolation of the couple's relationship than offering any sort of persuadable hope of its fixability.

Despite what I've said, The Marrying Kind is still a worthwhile, well-acted, and sharply written (by real married couple Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon), and worth seeing, especially if you want a break from cinematic marriages consisting of nothing but sunshine, lollipops, and banter.

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