Dodsworth (1936)

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By Scott Ross

This William Wyler-directed romantic drama is one of the most adult movies ever made in Hollywood. A successful, middle-aged automobile magnate (Walter Huston) decides to chuck it all and enjoy the remainder of his life. He takes his pampered, willful wife (Ruth Chatterton) to Europe, where she alienates him and takes a callow young lover (David Niven), driving Dodsworth into the arms of an understanding woman (Mary Astor).

It sounds like melodrama, yet its touch is astonishingly light and its emotions honestly earned; the final scene is, in terms of emotional satisfaction, among the loveliest ever filmed.

Sidney Howard adapted his own play, from the splendid Sinclair Lewis novel.

Text copyright 2013 by Scott Ross

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