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Random Harvest


Dothery
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Okay. This is my very favorite movie, which I can watch again and again, and not just for the soap opera aspect of the plot. It's a beautiful movie. The sets are perfect, the costumes as well. Susan Peters was such a delight as a young girl. For those of you who don't know her, she was shot in a hunting accident and paralyzed. She worked for a while longer, in wheelchair movies, but then eventually died, I believe of liver failure. At any rate, in RH she was young, beautiful and wonderfully talented.

 

Class was what this picture was all about. Ronald Colman and Greer Garson, perfectly matched. Some pictures you want to see again just to be with those people. Sometimes it's to be in their houses and enjoy the ambiance. In this movie it was all of those things.

 

I used to live in England, and I miss it and like being there again in movies like this. There are actually villages like the one where they lived, as fairytale as they seem in films. Friday Street is one (it's a town). The Terrace of Parliament is really there, and my neighbors were thrilled to be invited by their MP to have tea with him there. All wonderful sights and memories.

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It's one of my favorites, too. Watching the end of it today, I had two thoughts: home come the key to the cottege worked, after all those years? And wasn't anyone living there? Also that blossom-laden branch was as it had been years earlier! But these are points I bring up out of familiarity and affection for one of the greatest of films.

 

 

 

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Those things occurred to me as well, but I could rationalize them with my memories of England. You didn't need to rent your house to keep it available, since most houses were all paid off (at least at the time the movie was set), and you could leave it as it was without having to get income from it, except to pay the taxes. Also, it might have been rented in the meantime. In either case, the key could still work. Probably a "daily" would have come in to keep the place in order, which was my first thought when he opened the door. What kind of shape is it in?

 

The tree ... well, it was only a few years, and trees can remain in their shape for a long time. I can't remember exactly how long it was, but I did make a couple of calculations ... the girl graduated from college, which would have put her at about 22, and when he arrived home from Liverpool he had lost three years, and she was 15 then. He'd been married to Greer for three years after the girl broke off their engagement. So ten years, approximately, that he'd been away from the cottge and the tree. (I'm not much good at math, but that's the best I can do. If you can think of another formula, let's hear it.) We had apple trees in our yard which had been there for many years but weren't very different than when they first began bearing.

 

Sooooo ... anyway I can suspend disbelief for Ronald Colman any time. Great picture.

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I agree with you Dothery. This is one special movie. I can really get lost, in a pleasant way, in the mood, the surroundings, the time, the manners of this movie. But another special part of it consists of the music by Herbert Stothart, which really helps to keep me in the movie. The soundtrack is available by the way via Screen Archives Entertainment. The CD also includes the music from THE YEARLING, also by Stothart. It's one of my favorite discs.

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Totally agree with you. Btw, I had a friend in London who was the son of Greer Garson's first husband (Edward Snelson).

 

Every bit part in the movie is perfectly played. I tried to look up the church organist who plays hymns for Colman and Peters. Although so many uncredited cast members have been added to IMDB, that actor doesn't seem to be listed. Like the rest, he was wonderful.

 

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"If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

 

Usually if a thread is about a movie I dislike, I just stay away from it.

The only reason I'm commenting on this one is, I feel *Random Harvest* is vastly over-rated. If it were a less famous film, and if it didn't seem to have so many adoring fans, I'd leave it alone. It's only when I feel something is over-rated, or I can't understand why everyone else seems to really like something, and I don't , that I go where angels fear to tread.

 

I do agree that there are many charming elements to the film, including the lovely scenery ( like the cottage) - although I also think a lot of it looks "set-like" , you can easily tell it's not location. Not that it matters, I suppose.

Also the actors are very likeable, especially Greer.

 

Here's where I have a problem with *Random Harvest* : the waste, the incredible, deplorable waste, of all those years they could have been together and happy. I know Greer wants "Smithie" to remember her and love her for her own sake, that it wouldn't be the same if she just told him about those happy years ( year?) they had together. But it's very frustrating for me to watch this part of the story. She doesn't even tell him after they're married - I mean, he's already married her, even if it was for practical reasons, why wouldn't she take him to their cottage to jog his memory before she does?

 

What a waste. And I feel it's just done to twist the audience's heart-strings.

Another film like this, that makes me frustrated and annoyed with the main characters, and that I know is also set up the way it is to wring maximum emotion out of the viewers, is *Love Affair* nad its remake, *An Affair to Remember*. And it too - the latter-named, anyway - is way more popular than I think it deserves.

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Miss W., she wants to tell him. The psychiatrist -- played so well by the great Philip Dorn -- tells her she must not, it could be dangerous. But I agree with you about An Affair to Remember.

 

How do you feel about Baby Jane ? At the end of that film, Jane says to Blanche, when she finds out the truth, "we could have been friends..." So many situations in films could have been happy, if only...

 

 

 

 

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