Kings Row (1942)

kings

Starring: Robert Cummings, Ronald Reagan, Ann Sheridan, Betty Field, Charles Coburn, Claude Rains, Judith Anderson, Maria Ouspenskaya, Nancy Colman

Director: Sam Wood

Summary: Small town scandals inspire an idealistic young man to take up psychiatry

Other Nominations: Director, B&W Cinematography

Positives

-Really great score, mostly based around rearrangements of its grand and influential theme song. The theme to Kings Row likely was an inspiration for John Williams, as both the Star Wars and Superman themes have some strong similarities (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V47enEvsafQ).

-Reagan is actually really good in this and is by far the best of the three leads, especially considering his part is easily the most challenging. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t capitalize on it due to being drafted for WWII-he might have been cast as Rick Blaine in Casablanca if he hadn’t. Obviously, everything ended up well in the end for him however.

-This is an extremely dark and lurid melodrama for the code era that I honestly don’t know how they got away with even when they scrubbed out the incest, mercy killing, and the loose sex from the original novel. Beyond that though, it is a good story about the dark underbelly of small-town life and how corrupt people can maintain power through fear of retribution there.

Negatives

-Almost all the movies’ problems come down to Cummings who sucks and the character he plays being really uninteresting. Most everybody else is good or has something going on with their character that makes them compelling, but he’s basically a dead fish that drags the movie down with him.

Overall

This is an entertaining and surprisingly grim film for its era and is worth a watch

Rating: B

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