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I am so glad to see TCM will show one of my favorite films of all time

Home Before Dark at 2:30 PM EST ...I have suggested this film on the movie request

Board..Jean Simmons gives the performance of her career as the wife coming home

from a mental institution . I dont. want to give away the plot , but, please watch this

great film and the scene of the Dinner party should go down in movie history...

watch this one.

 

..

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You are so right about this movie! Simmons give such a poignant and touching performance. I had never seen this movie before and could not tear myself away from watching it. Absolutely riveting. And the scene at the dinner party breaks your heart....I loved at the end when she finally leaves and tells her husband and stepfamily to get out of her house. -- Mary

 

Edited by: moviesrgr8 on Apr 12, 2011 8:15 AM

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That thread was created after this one, Musical Novelty.

 

Hi there Raining Violets. I took your entreaty to check out "HOME BEFORE DARK" as seriously as I would the admonitions to entering King Tut's tomb. I didn't want to be cursed now and beyond the hereafter for missing Jean Simmons' performance in this film. But it was an easy choice since Jean Simmons is one of my favorite actresses. Her dark beauty is remarkable (a la Elizabeth Taylor, Vivien Leigh). Her voice has a velvet texture. Her career took the less traveled road than her looks entitled her. I recorded the movie and have yet to watch it. But I will and get back to this thread.

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> {quote:title=CineMaven wrote:}{quote}

> That thread was created after this one, Musical Novelty.

>

Hey, I don't care either way...I didn't create either of them. I just mentioned it because that one had more posts, and just to be helpful so that anyone interested in the movie wouldn't miss any of the comments on the other thread.

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SPOILED BEFORE DARK

 

* This post contains spoilers * This post contains spoilers *

 

Jean Simmons comes home from a stay at an institution. What a homecoming!!! The state mental asylum seems quieter.

 

Her family is controlling: step-mother, husband and step-sister. They try to manage her...handle her. And her husband (played with David Brian/Brian Aherne vanilla appeal) by stick-in-the-mud Daniel O'Herlihy. (He also reminds me of Curt Jergens. Big, blonde and German...but I know he's Irish).

 

"They'll always talk in this town 'cuz they're narrow and bigoted. Oh Arnold, I wouldn't mind if I didn't feel alone but I do. Because I am alone. I wander around the house. I go for a walk. I wait for Inez to decide to take me shopping. I wait for you to come home. I wait to get well. I wait. Arnold if I'm going to get well I need to begin to live. I can't get well in a vacuum."

 

Jean tries to adjust to life again. From what I've seen of "home and hearth" I say why bother. Daggers of politeness and misunderstan-dings. Stifling atmosphere, everyone "managing" and "handling" her. She's married to a stuffy & controlling, the "knowing-what's-best" attitude college professor...but he's unable to spend the night "alone" with his wife. Polite avoidances. Polite kisses on the cheeks. Not enough. All the little hurts...and she gets it right between the eyes ev'rytime she express her true feelings.

 

Girls, don't be foolish, now. Everyone should hold onto their husband when Rhonda Fleming's on the scene even without her natural titian mane. Rhonda plays Joan, Jean Simmons' step-sister and O'Herlihy's secretary.There's some simmering speculation that Fleming and O?Herlihy have had an affair. It's the bone of contention in Simmons' mental health. O' the unfaithful...in word not deed; in mind not body. Is Jean just merely imagining things? And yet in all...it's really not about the affair.

 

But I'm hearing pretty frank talk for 1958. --Hugh Marlowe-- uhm...Efrem Zimbalist Jr. plays the handsome boarder. (I totally see the resemblance). I was shocked out of my gourd to see him kiss Jean (while she's half asleep in bed in the library) and then admit that he knew she was thinking she was kissing her husband. WoW! I can't recall seeing something like that. He totally took advantage of the situation but I guess unrequited love's gotta do what unrequited love's gotta do. Zimbalist seems like a good solid choice for her. I felt so badly seeing Jean cornered in the snowy woods when she tries to run away. She's looking like some kind of mad Ophelia.

 

Who knows how many housewives were sedated back in the 50's for what was considered crazy thoughts; how many husbands and men in general controlled even a woman's thoughts. Tsk! Tsk!

 

"Alright I'll do what he says. I'll stay in my room. I'll rest I'll eat. I'll be quiet. I won't bother anybody."

 

Don't believe what you see. Don't believe what you know. What's that old joke of the wife catching her husband in an infidelity...

 

"Are you going to believe what you see or you going to believe what I tell you."

 

The thing is we don't physically see O'Herlihy and Rhonda playing footsie. Jean's whole raison d?etre is to be "alone" with her husband. But he makes no move towards her. So now unfulfilled she develops bitter edge to her tongue and conversation. (And I?m lovin' it!!) I personally think she's getting her sea legs back. When she sees Rhonda doing jigsaw puzzle she tells her:

 

"We used to have jigsaw puzzles in the hospital. I could never do them. I used to sit and stare at them by the hour. I could never figure out which piece went where. I used to think: "what a shame it was that you couldn?t have been there instead of me." You'd have made a much better patient than I."

 

( < Spit Take! > )

 

Jean's rebelling against being handled...managed. She's slowly gaining her power back. (I keep thinking her power is in being a brunette instead of the blonde that she plays in this). There's a sort of power when one is silent...and punishing. O'Herlihy always throws in little digs about her to others...making "apologies" of course. He's really letting her have it in the hotel room when he comes back from meeting his Harvard friends. But Jean doesn't take it to heart. I think that scene in the hotel room can be pretty relatable to many people in relationships.

 

In this scene she also asks for money (for shopping...after all, what else do women do). HER own money. Another bone of contention for many women of the 50's was being beholden to their husbands for money. There's power in holding the purse strings. (Remember boxy Bennett in "THE RECKLESS MOMENT"?) And he uses the fact that she wants her own money, to totally fly off the handle and ready to chuck their whole relationship. (Coward!)

 

Why doesn't he divorce her...or be honest with her and say he?s no longer in love with her.

 

Did anyone notice some of this film?s score is TOTALLY from "NOW, VOYAGER." Plus some other music foretells different instances.

 

She's got another guy who loves her...a banker. And that's interesting b'cu he definitely makes strong passes at her, but they didn't turn him into a scurvy lecherous guy. (Watch this movie...you'll see). But she's starting to spook her banker/ex-boyfriend...and me. She's kind of acting wacky. He's the second guy who loves her who suggests she see a psychiatrist. She's goes to see a hair stylist...and does a makeover of herself a la Madeleine in "Vertigo." The hairstylist tells her that she?s making a mistake in her fashion choices, but she?s using her newfound courage of independence in the very wrongest of ways. Ooooooh, she's riding for a fall. Unless she's doing this on purpose. (Yes, I caught that that she introduces herself as "Joan").

 

I was hoping this all was an act; that she was trying to make her husband confess. This monologue is so heartbreaking. Jean Simmons lays her emotions bare...nothing over-the-top:

 

O'Herlihy: "Charlotte, let me get Joan. Let me get her here to help us through tonite and tomorrow. She calms you."

 

Simmons: "Oh yes. Get Joan. You can't stand being here without her can you? Bring her and put her between you and me, Arnold, where she belongs. I have more courage than you. I can stand here and let you tell me I?m grotesque, yet you can't face me and what I might say to you. Because you?re guilty. Because you hate me and because you love Joan. Yes, I know it. Look at me. Is it possible you don?t know it? I know it. Joan knows it. Jake Diamond knows it. Kathy Bergman knows it. It's not just crazy me who knows it!! If you don?t know it then you?re the one who?s crazy. You can?t bear to have me say her name, can you? Kiss me your Joan lover. Kiss your crazy wife Merry Christmas!!!"!

 

I believe she alternates from heartbreaking to desperation to strength and to release. (Jean's transitions are very smooth...Smoother than the music). Finally... the release she?s been needing to feel for months when he wouldn?t touch her:

 

Simmons: "Tell me in so many words that you do not love me so I can save myself. Arnold, I beg you...I cling to hope and it is making me sick.?

 

He's the type of rat **** that wants to kick and shove you around and then asks why can?t we be friends. I love Jean's "Scottie Ferguson" turn when she gets Fleming to try on the gold lame gown. I must admit, Rhonda looks like a voluptuous goddess as she comes down the stairs. Jean stands in the background watching O?Herlihy?s reaction. << ( HA!!! ) >>

 

Zimbalist makes a very interesting comment:

 

"I don't think I have to tell you what I think of him...your husband. You know he killed the last chance I had at the college. Not that I would have stayed. It was interesting to watch him reverse himself as soon as he learned it wasn't to his advantage to have me around."

 

What a well-written script. Everyone sounded so adult. Perhaps I should feel sorry for the husband; he's a total conformist...cares what people think...protects his position.

 

NAH!!!

 

Wow!!! That was a great camera shot following Jean as she slams her bedroom door and comes down the winding staircase and walks through the house and over to the maid?s room. Nice. And when Rhonda and O'Herlihy come home...Jean Simmons is loaded for bear:

 

"Joan, before I was committed you told me there was nothing between you and Arnold; that my suspicions were delusions. When I came home you told me again how wrong I'd been...You knew the day must come when Arnold would have to admit to himself that he loved you. All you had to do was wait. And if it cost me my sanity and the truth tortured me and made me doubt myself, did you care?"

 

As I said earlier, much of the score was shockingly directly lifted from Bette Davis' "NOW VOYAGER." It worked, but I was shocked when I started humming the music of a movie I had never seen.

 

The movie's a bit about mental health, but it's more about a woman doubting herself, becoming self-reliant. About knowing one's own mind. Knowing is always better than NOT knowing. No matter how much it hurts.

 

Here is a woman who needs answers. Here is a woman who gets answers. Ladies...get answers. Jean Simmons is a marvel giving a very contemporary and brave performance. Thanxx for the recommendation, Violet. YOU'RE the pal.

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Oooh! That was fantastic, Maven! I thought I put this thread on watch, but I didn't.... I'm so glad I came back to read this!

 

My favorite part was right at the end, when Jean, all spent, quietly tells Rhonda Fleming that she used to love her, look up to her, but that's all changed. I thought THAT disillusionment was actually more interesting than the husband-wife break up.

 

Edited by: JackFavell on Apr 14, 2011 4:35 PM

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My dearest CineMaven - your eyes are like a cobra's eyes to see all you saw

in this great film..Thanks to your brilliant mind this film will now have a chance

as a true classic..and yes, that was the score from Now, Voyager,,,

now as to that kiss between Efrem baby and Jean I almost stood up and cried

it was soooo sensual and should be a tribute to the brilliant director..

I am glad I finally have this on tape....

Home Before Dark always reminds me of the story of Cinderella only this time

the stepsister is the beautiful one..when Arnold first meets Charlotte he is

taken with the fact she calls everyone "Ducky" and her love of life...what

happens is he marries a Joan facsimilie and when he meets the real thing

he resents Charlotte and then he realises what she did and leaves poor Charlotte

wondering what she did wrong...I love the scene with the hairdresser when he asks her "whats the matter doesn't your husband love you? ....

 

..

 

..

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> {quote:title=RainingViolets101 wrote:}{quote}

> I am so glad to see TCM will show one of my favorite films of all time

> Home Before Dark at 2:30 PM EST ...I have suggested this film on the movie request

> Board..Jean Simmons gives the performance of her career as the wife coming home

> from a mental institution . I dont. want to give away the plot , but, please watch this

> great film and the scene of the Dinner party should go down in movie history...

> watch this one.

>

> ..

 

For anyone who missed it, it will again air on Tuesday, June 28, 2011, at 8 p.m. EST. So we will get to hear what Robert Osborne has to say about it during that airing. I saw bits of it during the last airing and it looked really good, so I am looking forward to seeing the complete movie in June.

 

I first saw Jean Simmons in The Thorn Birds when I was a kid. She seemed to me to be a very underrated actress, somewhat like her character of Fiona Cleary in The Thorn Birds, who seemed to have lived a life of suffering in silence, not getting proper recognition for all she had done...

 

Robbie

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"My dearest CineMaven - your eyes are like a cobra's eyes to see all you saw in this great film..Thanks to your brilliant mind this film will now have a chance as a true classic..."

 

Oh my. Oh my my my!!! You made me roar and feel humble. First off, that you reference "The Letter" thrills me to no end!!! As to my brilliant mind...I'm not that power, milady.

 

More later folks...I am moving to a new apartment today.

 

Oh...and the reference that was made in another thread to Barbara Parkins sounding like Joan Hackett shows how deep the love of movies goes.

 

:x < (( Sigh!! )) >> :x

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Maven, you ARE the true film maven. I wasn't able to see HOME BEFORE DARK in its entirety but relished every insightful line of your review. I'm basically a naif when it comes to male/female relationhips -- you are wise and all-knowing and I wish I had your life smarts. (heck, I think Robert Armstrong and Helen Mack make a cute romantic couple, that's how immature I am)

 

A new apartment? How exciting! If you want to decorate Provencal-style, I've got a great YouTube video with all sorts of Southern French bric-a-brac.

 

Forget the Parkins/Hackett confusion; what's worse is that I couldn't even distinguish Richard Boone's voice AND face from someone like David Huddleston. Is there any hope for me?

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Voranis - I first saw Jean Simmons in The Thorn Birds when I was a kid. She seemed to me to be a very underrated actress, somewhat like her character of Fiona Cleary in The Thorn Birds, who seemed to have lived a life of suffering in silence, not getting proper recognition for all she had done...

 

Hmph! Art imitating life? Gosh, I forgot about Jean's appearance in "The Thornbirds". I'm afraid I don't remember it, so consumed by the main romance I was. Thanx for the heads up on the June 28th screening of "Home Before Dark."

 

Raining Violet - I love the scene with the hairdresser when he asks her "whats the matter doesn't your husband love you?"

 

Yeeeeikes! I remember that scene. I was soooo uncomfortable during it. I kept thinking she was doing this fashion faux pas purposely to get her husband to confess. Hairdressers and bartenders really do know what's best for us, don't they.

 

Jack Favell - My favorite part was right at the end, when Jean, all spent, quietly tells Rhonda Fleming that she used to love her, look up to her, but that's all changed. I thought THAT disillusioment was actually more interesting than the husband-wife break up.

 

There are none so blind as those that cannot see. And I mean me. You always point out the most interesting subtext that ofttimes goes over my head. Part of why it went over my head is that the two didn't seem all that close; they never showed them being real chummy in a relationship.

 

I felt for Jean fighting for her sanity...her happiness...her SELF. She fought for her thoughts and feelings. Fought not to have to walk on eggs in her own house. That might have been the plight of many a woman back then. A good lobotomy to keep 'em in line.

 

Bronxgirl - Maven, you ARE the true film maven. I wasn't able to see HOME BEFORE DARK in its entirety but relished every insightful line of your review.

 

Thanxx. Relish? I like mustard. And you'll have a chance to see the whole thing on the 28th.

 

you are wise and all-knowing and I wish I had your life smarts. (heck, I think Robert Armstrong and Helen Mack make a cute romantic couple, that's how immature I am).

 

I know a l'il sumthin' sumthin' about things...but everything I learned came from the movies. (Pssst! You are on the wrong track if you think they're a cute couple. Now for me, a cute couple is Jeffrey Lynn and Priscilla Lane or Evelyn Ankers and Richard Carlson. Or Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman. No wait...that' something else again).

 

A new apartment? How exciting! If you want to decorate Provencal-style, I've got a great YouTube video with all sorts of Southern French bric-a-brac.

 

Provencal? Girl, I'm going right back into my storage unit and take out the furniture that I had in my last apartment. It's not a bric or a brac.

 

Forget the Parkins/Hackett confusion; what's worse is that I couldn't even distinguish Richard Boone's voice AND face from someone like David Huddleston. Is there any hope for me?

 

I loved the Parkins/Hackett comparison (not confusion). As for Richard Boone...hey. I saw "INGLORIOUS BASTERDS" and totally didn't recognize that the balding fat man wasn't Brendan Gleeson...but was Rod Taylor. I don't think I even picked up his distinct voice. But there is hope for you. Stick with me kid! ;-)

 

Now speaking of Senta Berger...oh, weren't we?

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Yay, can't wait for June 28th! But Dan scares me...

 

Oh yes, I love Evelyn Ankers and Richard Carlson in HOLD THAT GHOST. Super-cute. "Dear, you called me 'darling'!" "Darling, you called me 'dear'!"

 

I've never seen INGLORIOUS BASTARDS, but at least I don't feel all alone now in not being able to identify Richard Boone in THE KREMLIN LETTER, ha!

 

Can you keep pets in your new apartment? Get a puddy-tat.

 

I have anoles that come and stay with me, stick to my iiving room walls for days, with their sweet little oven-mitt hands, then die and plop on the carpet.

 

Edited by: Bronxgirl48 on Apr 16, 2011 5:10 AM

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As for our girl Jean Simmons she didn't look beautiful until she went back to

her original black hair color...although she looked gorgeous when Efrem kissed

her... that close-up should go down in cinema history as the kiss-of-the-century..

Now as to your new apartment I see it in Chinese Modern meets Art Deco..

and in the bedroom rich chocolate brown velvet and gold satin...now as to your

family pet I suggest a parakeet...I keep my Billy Boy's door open at all times'

(and he loves to sit on my shoulder when I do the dishes)..

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Haven't had enough of me yet Bronixe - Oh yes, I love Evelyn Ankers and Richard Carlson in HOLD THAT GHOST. Super-cute. "Dear, you called me 'darling'!" "Darling, you called me 'dear'!"

 

Awww man, you've no idea the smile you put on my face reading that quote.

< (( Sigh! )) > You sure you're not coming to the Film Fest? :-(

 

Can you keep pets in your new apartment? Get a puddy-tat.

 

Sadly no. The lease says no pets. And I do mean sadly...my foster daughter is a one-hundred pound Rottweiler named Abby who I luv to pieces! :-(

 

I have anoles that come and stay with me, stick to my iiving room walls for days, with their sweet little oven-mitt hands, then die and plop on the carpet.

 

Yeeeeeikes! I mean, oooh, that sounds lovely. Alas and alack I am not the greatest housekeeper so I'd be loathe to clean up anole carcasses.

 

Senta Berger? Was she a Bond girl?

 

Nawwwww. But she was a beautiful-looking 1960's actress in a bunch of stuff ("Major Dundee") being one of ?em.

 

 

*****

 

G'Morning Violets - As for our girl Jean Simmons she didn't look beautiful until she went back to her original black hair color...

 

I hear ya. I was so distracted by her being a blonde and during her brunette flashback I was saying "Yay!"

 

...although she looked gorgeous when Efrem kissed her... that close-up should go down in cinema history as the kiss-of-the-century.

 

That kiss was so deep and romantic. << (( SIGH! )) >> Would you say it'd rival Elizabeth and Monty's kiss in "A PLACE IN THE SUN"?? I recorded the movie...let me go back in and look at it again.

 

Now as to your new apartment I see it in Chinese Modern meets Art Deco..and in the bedroom rich chocolate brown velvet and gold satin...

 

Hmmmm, sounds...interesting My style is a little plainer. Black leather. I'm an unfancy girl. D'ya s'pose Doris Day still has her pillow talkin' interior design business?

 

now as to your family pet I suggest a parakeet...I keep my Billy Boy's door open at all times' (and he loves to sit on my shoulder when I do the dishes).

 

If you told me a parakeet could WASH the dishes, I'd be gettin' me some boids. See...I'm not a great housekeeper. I'm a film buff. Those two are mutually exclusive! (I call myself Phoebe!!!))

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Anoles on the wall reminded me of this (you only have to watch the first minute or so to see the interior decor):

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NzCg-oKVBk

 

>Now for me, a cute couple is Jeffrey Lynn and Priscilla Lane

 

Just to bring it full circle - did you know Jeffrey Lynn is in *BUtterfield 8?* When I looked the movie up on IMDB last time, I couldn't believe it!

 

Bronxie - I want that Provencal video! I need french brrrrrric a brrrrrac.

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Yes I remember seeing Jeffrey Lynn in "BUtterfield 8" on the railroad ride with Laurence Harvey. And I know his voice anywhere.

 

French and Saunders are a couple of pissers. The decor looks beautiful. Those colors look very familiar too. I know someone with that same color scheme.

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Umm, that's a bit too much bric a brac for my tastes...

 

 

This is more my speed - I like the interiors shown at the very end very much:

 

 

 

But I wouldn't turn this one down, in spite of the yucky "pool-tastic" advertising phrases used to describe it:

 

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That "touch" of Provence video seems more like a blow, lol. Very suffocating for my tastes. I think the room is supposed to be a decorating showcase to give homeowners an idea of what they might want to add for their own place, so that's why I uploaded it in case Maven might find something for her new apartment. I like the two you picked.

 

I'm into a mix of classic and modern charm, combining clean lines with Old World curvature, and 1940's-'50's retro Riviera chic:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPd3oYHC0f8

 

I'd be home before dark for all of these.

 

Edited by: Bronxgirl48 on Apr 22, 2011 4:10 AM

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