Starring: Fredric March, Olivia de Havilland, Donald Woods, Anita Louise, Edmund Gwenn, Claude Rains, Gale Sondergaard
Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Summary: An orphan runs off to a life of adventure, then returns to France in search of the girl he left behind
Other Nominations: Supporting Actress (Sondergaard)*, Score*, Art Direction, Cinematography*, Film Editing*, Assistant Director
-Claude Rains and Gale Sondergaard are easily the best part of the movie, where they play over-the-top Disney-villain type characters and they clearly are having way more fun than anyone else in this movie. They bring much needed life to a film so lacking in it
-I wouldn’t call March especially good in the lead (and he doesn’t even show up until 40 minutes in), but the few times he really gets something to sink his teeth into, he shows his acting ability
-The entire middle of the film is a complete mess. A lot of vital exposition and character development in the movie is simply told to us through title cards, when we desperately need to see the events they are describing. The biggest offender is that the title character abruptly shifts from totally sympathetic good-guy to the most evil profession in human history with no deliberation about what he is doing and we don’t see any of the transition between the two points. The only transition we get for the character going from such opposite extremes is a title card saying “and now he is a dark and evil person” and we pick up from there. That’s some of the worst storytelling I’ve ever seen. Additionally, there’s another character who shows up and does nothing, has one more scene of nothing, and then suddenly we find out she was apparently evil the whole time? At 140 minutes, it was the longest movie Warner Brothers had made up to that point, and yet a lot of it still feels rushed.
-Really dull and depressing throughout the whole movie, where Adverse sees a lot of…adversity…and I still don’t think the payoff in the end was very satisfying
-This movie has the lowest Rotten Tomatoes rating of any Best Picture nominee ever at 13%. It’s not good, but I would rate a handful of them lower.
Very dull, dour romantic melodrama punctuated by a couple of minor bright spots but otherwise is a waste of 2 hours and 20 minutes.