Last week we discussed pictures made at Universal-International in the 1940s and whether any of them can be considered “Classics.”  Sometimes a film which ISN’T a “classic” serves another purpose.

Hello, everybody.  Joe Morella and Frank Segers, your classic movie guys, here with more discussion on the studio where Joe once worked — Universal.

In 1948, rather ambitiously, the studio bought two hit Broadway dramas and put them on film. Though neither movie ranks in cinema history as a must-see gem, both are worthy of at least a look, if only because of the performances.

All My Sons was Arthur Miller’s first hit on Broadway, but through the years it has been overshadowed by his master work, Death of a Salesman.  However, the film version of All My Sons is a powerful piece.  Edward G. Robinson stars as Joe Keller, a war profiteer, whose son, played by Burt Lancaster, unravels the dirty secrets of his father’s business with devastating results.  (That’s Burt and Louisa Horton as his girl, with Robinson and Mady Christians as his parents pictured above)

Another Part of the Forest is Lillian Hellman’s prequel to The Little Foxes.  It had been a hit on stage and introduced Patricia Neal to the public.  But in the movie version Universal gave her part (the young Regina Hubbard) to established star Ann Blyth. (Regina had been portrayed in 1941’s The Little Foxes by Bette Davis.  Her scheming brothers by Carl Benton Reid as Oscar and Charles Dingle as Ben)

In Another Part of the Forest Regina’s brothers were played by Edmond O’Brien as Ben and Dan Duryea as Oscar.  (Duryea had played Carl Benton Reid’s son in both the stage and film versions of Foxes. He is pictured below with Reid and Dingle from the 1941 film.)

Forest also starred Frederic March and (real life wife) Florence Eldridge as parents of the Hubbard brood. That’s them below in a shot with O’Brien and Blyth.  Although the story stands on it’s own it’s fun to see the two plays-to-films back to back.

Thus we see with these two films the true value of Motion Pictures.  They can capture for all time stories and performances which might otherwise be lost.  They can also bring to broad audiences around the globe plays which they might never have the opportunity to see.

If you missed the play, see the movie.  But be aware that the movie for any number of reasons might not be as good as the original stage presentation. 


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