Saturday, September 14, 2013

The White Cliffs Of Dover

publicity for "The White Cliffs Of Dover"

Release date 05.11.1944

"Yes, John, I see them. My people and your people, only their uniforms are different... how well they march together. They'll help bring peace again..."

While waiting for a transportation of wounded soldiers at a London military hospital during World War II, American-born Red Cross volunteer Lady Susan Ashwood (Irene) worries about her son John, who is fighting overseas. Her thoughts bring her back to the year 1914 when she came to England on vacation with her father (Frank Morgan), a small town newspaper publisher. In opposite to her father who detests everything English, Susan is instantly taken by the country. 

with Frank Morgan

On the last night of her visit, Colonel Forsyth (C. Aubrey Smith), an elderly boardinghouse resident, takes her to a ball where due to a mistaking she meets Sir John Ashwood (Alan Marshal). They spent a wonderful romantic evening together but the next day Susan has to return to America with her father. However, their departure is interrupted by John who persuades Mr. Dunn to allow Susan to visit his mother and family at their country manor.

first encounter - and that's not Bertie's cousin Nancy!

The English country site turns out to be as beautiful as Susan expected it to be but still John's family and their traditions are new and strange to her. Thus, when John proposes she is reluctant to say yes although she loves him. Irritated by remarks of John's mother (Gladys Cooper) and some friends of the family which Susan takes as anti-American and feeling that she doesn't belong and never would fit in, she decides to return to America. But once again John averts her departure and literally sweeps her off her feet.

John and Susan up in the clouds (that's so beautiful staged!)
and here's the result...

The newlyweds blissful honeymoon is interrupted by the outbreak of World War I and John, according to the family tradition an Army officer, is sent off to fight. After three years of separation, they are reunited in France for a couple of days and relish every moment of their stay. 
A year later, Susan, on visit in London, watches with her little son John Ashwood II as American troops march through the streets. Thrilled that the Americans have joined World War I, Susan is hopeful that John will soon return to her and see his son for the very first time.
But this is not to be and John is killed in action just before peace is declared.

Susan in mourning...

As the years pass by, John Junior (Roddy McDowall) grows up to a decent sympathetic boy, and Susan's father fearing another war urges her to bring him to the United States. But John doesn't want to leave his tenants and his country.

with Roddy McDowall

And then comes the day when World War II breaks out and John - according to the family tradition - joins his father's regiment...

Susan and her grown-up son (Peter Lawford)

"I don't think it smacks of propaganda, but if it does, I'm glad. I feel everything possible should be done to cement the friendship between two nations that are most alike and speak the same language." (Hollywood Studio Magazine) was Irene's comment on "The White Cliffs Of Dover."
The Merriam Webster gives the following definition for propaganda: "...doctrines, ideas, arguments, facts or allegations spread by deliberate effort trough any medium of communication in order to further one's cause..."
That's exactly what this film does. The relationship between the two allies, England and the United States, is the golden threat of the picture and "... how well they march together... they'll help to bring peace... a peace that will stick"  is its bottom line. The things in common and the enemy in common will overcome all cultural differences. The film effectively pleads its wartime cause.

"... I see them...how well they march together..."

Many people call "The White Cliffs Of Dover" a tear jerker but it doesn't really work as such for me. It's almost too slick; everything is almost too beautiful, too perfect. In the 70s, James Bawden asked Irene about "The White Cliffs..." and one thing she said - "Everything was lavish, too lavish if you ask me" - exactly expresses my feelings.

our leads dancing through a lavish production...

However, let's contemplate on the lavish aspects of this production; starting with Miss Dunne of course. Though surrounded by an outstanding supporting cast - including such illustrious names as Van Johnson, Gladys Cooper, Roddy McDowall, Dame May Whitty and a very young Elizabeth Taylor - "The White Cliffs Of Dover" is truly an Irene Dunne film concentrating on one woman and her fate in challenging times. The picture gives Irene once again the chance to show the development of her character through decades and how she pulled off the young Susan Dunn is simply astonishing. She and Alan Marshal - btw ten years her junior - are the most handsome couple and their love story is simply beautiful. 

from Susan Dunn arriving in England...
to Lady Susan Ashwood, Red Cross volunteer...

Besides Mr. Marshal, the whole cast holds his own against our leading lady and the direction of Clarence Brown and the camera work of George Folsley do the rest. In a word, "The White Cliffs Of Dover" is under all aspects a high-level production and Irene justifiably considered it one of her best films. She is spendidly photographed and one wonderful close-up follows the other.

Quite a handsome couple, aren't they?

Nonetheless, this film definiteley didn't make my list of Irene Dunne favorites; I appreciate how utterly well done it is, admire Irene's and the whole cast's performance, loved to see Irene and Gladys Cooper together but as a whole "The White Cliffs of Dover" is never tempting for a re-watch. 
One of my rules for this blog is that I always watch the film again before I write about it - no matter how many times I've already seen it. The session for "The White Cliffs..." took two evenings; in its wartime related effectiveness this picture is rather dated, and, well, rather long. It's no weepie for me, and the whole movie doesn't really touch me beyond the intellectual reflection that I am fortunate to live in a time of peace in Europe.

La Dunne's back of the head and the great Gladys Cooper

Obviously, I am not too fond of Irene's "war films" but as for La Dunne they are simply a must!

Here is the poem by Alice Duer Miller on which "The White Cliffs..." is based. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Guy Named Joe

on the set of  "A Guy Named Joe"

Release date 12.24.1943

"...anybody who's a right chap is a guy named Joe."

Pete Sandridge (Spencer Tracy) is a chance taking American bomber pilot stationed in England during WW II. His skills as a flyer are only matched by his daredevil attitude, much to the chagrin of his girl-friend Dorinda Durston (Irene), herself a cargo flyer. After an especially dangerous mission Colonel 'Nails' Kilpatrick (James Gleason) decides to transfer Pete and his best buddy Al (Ward Bond) to a relatively safe reconnaissance in Scotland. While visiting, Dorinda has the hunch that Pete's "number is up" and tries to persuade him to take a teaching position in the United States. At last Pete agrees but only on condition that she'll take a desk job too. But the next dangerous mission ends with Pete's death.

at last Pete (Spencer Tracy) agrees...

He finds himself in after-life with a new order on his hands. The General (Lionel Barrymore), a long dead pioneering flyer, gives him the assignment to help young Ted Randall (Van Johnson). Subconciously guided by Pete, Ted turns out to be quite an aviator himself, and gains poise both on and off the airfield. At last Ted and his heavenly guardian are transferred to the Pacific where Al and Dorinda enter the picture again.

Ted (Van Johnson) and his heavenly guardian...

Dorinda is still shattered by Pete's death and tries to get over it by throwing herself into her work. Old friend Al urges her go on with her life again and invites her to the officer's club. Dorinda meets Ted and little by little their relationship deepens. She even accepts Ted's proposal which leaves Pete conflicted about his mission.

Pete is not amused...

But he isn't the only one of two minds. Dorinda isn't sure about her feelings for Ted. Is she still in love with Pete? Will she ever be able to really love somebody else? She breaks off the engagement and when she learns that Ted was assigned to a very dangerous mission takes over herself. Guessing the target from her experience as a flyer in this region, she leaves the airbase to destroy the Japanese ammunition dump. But she is not alone. Safely guarded by Pete Dorinda is successful and survives, and before they return to the airbase Pete tells her that he is leaving her heart and setting her free for Ted.

Triangle with love couple in the distance...

I have really mixed feelings about this film; I see what people probably like about it and understand why it was a huge box office hit in 1944 but yet don't like it very much myself.
It's this kind of genre mix. Is this a fantasy, a love story, a war film, an aviator picture? Or is the war the mere setting for the love story?
Considering the historical background and watching "A Guy Named Joe" as part of the war effort the corny music - with the one exception of Irene's in its simplicity very beautiful and touching rendition of "I'll get by" -   and the at times pathetic dialogue are tolerable but not for a mere fantasy. Additionally the fact that neither war films nor movies on aviation are my favorite genres isn't helpful either.

Filming in the pre-computer era... 

The end irritated me completely. If the geneal bottom line of this film is that we have to live with loss - not only in wartimes but of course particularly aiming at a wartime audience - and got to move on and live with the inevetiable parting, isn't it strange that Pete sets Dorinda "free" in the end? Shouldn't it be the other way round? Aren't the living the ones who ought to move on? Do even the poor guardian angels have to fight jealousy and to work on their self-improvement as human beings? And, for heaven's sake, why do they have to improve as human beings when they are already heavenly guardians? I know, I know this film was not meant for that kind of "cerebral tearing apart."
To put it in a nutshell, the story of  "A Guy Named Joe" doesn't really work for me.

An absolute glamor free publicity for "A Guy Named Joe"

However, there is a lot on the positive side. Spencer Tracy's and Irene's onetime co-work proved difficult; decades later those problems caused the following remark by Irene: "...Spence was rude, brusque and even made a pass at me. Me!" (interview with James Bawden)
Nonetheless these two pros created an appealing love couple. It's not the Dunne/Grant - Dunne/Boyer chemistry but beautiful enough to watch.

Dorinda and Pete

Anyway, in general there is nothing to complain about. Equipped with the high production standards of a MGM show off production, "A Guy Named Joe" offers all at this studio available virtuosity. Tracy's old buddy Victor Fleming occupied the director's seat, and the supporting cast glitters with names like Esther Williams - in her fourth screen appearance - Lionel Barrymore and Ward Bond as sidekick Al. Van Johnson, in his first major screen role, holds his own against screen veterans Dunne and Tracy, but naturally the duo Dunne-Tracy is way more interesting than the pairing of Irene with Johnson.

Dorinda and Ted

Irene accepted second billing for this production and this reflects partly her status. It's more a Spencer Tracy film with Irene Dunne as leading lady than a downright Irene Dunne film. I didn't count their respective screen time but assume that Tracy would win. Nonetheless is Dorinda an interesting female character who stands her ground in a world of males and obviously is a first class flyer. Pete is a typical Spencer Tracy part - the tough guy with the heart of gold - but it's a rather complex character and Tracy gets the chance to show some sublety.
His performance is more than matched by Irene. Especially outstanding are the scenes when she "subconsciously" listens to Pete and in the last five minutes - reduced to facial expressions - she provides a master piece of screen acting. Typical for La Dunne this difficult scene looks effortless and easy.

This is my 32th review...
and I'm still...
 very impressed by Irene Dunne! 
(Spencer Tracy is quite impressive in this scene,too) 

 How smoothly she floats over the age gap between her and Johnson - he was 18 years her junior - is one of the  other Dunne miracles. I already mentioned her lovely version of "I'll get by" and listening to Irene I know once again why one great regret of mine when it comes to her career is the fact that she didn't film another musical in the fourties.
The upshot: I highly recommend a film that's simply not my cup of tea!

Farewell!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Lady In A Jam

publicity for "Lady In A Jam"

Release date 06.19.1942

"I leave everything to numerology and astrology and things like that. It's much more reliable than thinking for myself."

Mr. Billingsley (Eugene Pallette) turns for psychiatric help to the Palmer Medical Foundation. Not help for him - way off the mark - but for his ward Jane Palmer (Irene). Miss Palmer, the granddaughter of the foundation's founder, not only managed to squander her entire inheritance but also refuses to accept the consequences of her behaviour; instead she drifts through life believing in numerology and "vibrations."
The ungrateful job to try to teach Jane some responsibility goes to handsome psychiatrist Dr. Enright (Patric Knowles). Due to an accidental chance - in the literal sense of the word - Enright gets the job as Jane's chauffeur. He makes no secret of his being a doctor but claims that he is on a detour "because of a woman."

with Patric Knowles

Despite Billingsley's endeavors, Jane's possessions are soon auctioned off. Enright convinces her that she has to confront her past in Arizona. Jane grew up living with her grandmother Cactus Kate (Queenie Vassar) in direct vicinity to the gold mine Last Hope where Jane's grandfather once excavated the family fortune. The only fond memory Jane has of her life in the desert is the one of her childhood sweetheart Stanley (Ralph Bellamy). However, Enright is certain that this would be the right place for Jane to learn to do things for her and others. Together they leave for Cactus Kate's shabby shack.

arriving in Arizona...

Jane hoped that her grandmother would give her some money to prosecute Billingsley - she is convinced that he embezzled her fortune - but Cactus Kate refuses and suggests trying the old mine to Jane.
Mainly to please Enright, Jane starts digging. Meanwhile she has developed a crush for her doctor and hopes showing some self-sufficiency and pulling all female tricks would make him "vibrate." Both enterprises are not successful; Last Hope is plain and simple exploited and Enright objects to "vibrating with Jane" because of ethical reasons. She is still his patient and additionally quite a handful. 

trying to make Enright "vibrate"...

Frustrated, Jane tells her grandmother that she will give up on the mine and on Enright and just settle down with her. The prospect of living with this nitwit is so shocking for Cactus Kate that she salts the mine hoping to get rid of Jane. Maybe a little gold could pique Enright's interest in her granddaughter. Well, Enright is the first one to get that this gold rush was self-induced but can't leave now because Jane supposedly back into money certainly will turn to her old ways soon... and is she really "healed"? Allegedly, she has still spells and odd dreams; furthermore she starts babbling about a marriage with Stanley. Obliged to his Hippocratic oath not only, Enright stays, and Jane starts to parade the green-eyed monster...

Is she really sane??

Sounds a little bit confused, right? Well, that's exactly the main problem with this film. It has its moments but never really gets going; instead of a brisk stroll "Lady In A Jam" is a rather arduous path. The team under the direction of Gregory LaCava worked with an unfinished script, which was common for a LaCava project but he was repeatedly ill during production - probably one explanation for this patchy and bumby plot. As much as I liked how LaCava took advantage of Irene's image in "Unfinished Business," just throwing Irene into a mud hole - not very ladylike, indeed - simply isn't enough. This time LaCava's working method of constant rewrites and improvisation did not work.
Universal's publicity department made quite a brouhaha about the filming in the Arizona desert and especially those "mud scenes" but even that didn't help "Lady In A Jam" at the box office.

With LaCava (at the left) preparing for the "mud scene".
The mud was a mixture of dirt, water and oil... poor Irene!

This was the only time in her career that Irene stayed on location (for about 5 weeks.) "High, Wide and Handsome" was also filmed on location but Irene traveled daily back and forth. At last, sitting in the desert alternately exposed to heat and cold and waiting for LaCava's inspiration to come, took its toll. Irene lost her temper and had a sort of nervous breakdown. This is a real, real Irene Dunne rarity - sets of Irene Dunne films were known for their pleasant atmosphere.

on set passing away some time...

Considering the fact, that Irene said "I believed in my roles, I lived them..." this fit of temper is at least fitting for Jane Palmer. She is a real pain in the neck - with some Dunne charm of course - but still a pain in the neck. Irene gives a clever performance in this rather stupid film: efficiently using the Dunne tool - her voice - she speaks faster than normally with a very defenite accentuation but frequently trails off in between or mutters under her breath. One can really hear how Jane's brain is moving - and it's not on a steady course!
Nifty dressed in Bernard Newman creations - one of Irene's favorite designers around that time - she manages to convince us that a nagger can be a strain but nonetheless worthwhile.

publicity with Patric Knowles

Co-star Patric Knowles leaves a rather pale impression; nowhere near Irene's league, he's a handsome guy but an actor I watch and forget. I always imagine someone like Brian Aherne or Robert Young or someone else of their ilk in this role. Some chemistry between our leads, some more elaboration on the love story would have done "Lady In A Jam" good but, alas, was not to be.
Poor Ralph Bellamy, whom I appreciate very much, has the most ungrateful role. I can't think of a single reason why Stanley isn't portrayed more attractively; especially with someone like Bellamy for this character. Do you remember his wonderful performance in "The Awful Truth" where he played another "country egg" as Irene's love interest? But Stanley is simply ridiculous and not even allowed to be good at things this cliché of a cowboy ought to be good at - to lasso cattle, for instance. I assume that the scene on the farm was meant to be funny but my risible muscle denied any action. Anyhow, I can't say that this particular muscle was very active; really challenged was only my staying power.

Ralph Bellamy singing the appropriate piece of music for this film - a lamento...

"Lady In A Jam" is one of those "could have been" films: could have been funny, could have been great. The initial idea is not bad and the one aspect about this film I really like is that Irene played for once not a completely likeable character. But unfortunately those promising beginnings are not consequently developed and the result is mere patchwork.
The only silver lining of this film and the only thinkable reason to watch it is... I'm sure you know the name.
Once again, we've come full circle.

Please, don't shoot the reviewer!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Detour (not really) - The Music in "Unfinished Business"

"I Love Thee.."

How the music in "Unfinished Business" is handled deserves some extra annotations which would have gone beyond the scope of a normal review.

Irene and her character Nancy have something in common - their wish for an opera career. 
On-screen, Irene was two-times presented as an opera singer, at first in "The Great Lover"(1931) and the second time in "Stingaree" (1934). Especially interesting for the choice of music in "Unfinished Business" is the "Great Lover." I can't imagine that the selected repertory was a coincidence because it's a "Dunne qoute." Irene gets to sing "I Love Thee" a song by Edvard Grieg in the opening sequence of "Unfinished Business" which is paralled by a rehearsal with baritone Jean Paurel (Adolphe Menjou) in "The Great Lover." Here Irene performed - fitting to the scenery - a way more operatic rendition of the Grieg and sung it higher. 

"Voi, che sapete..."

In the audition scene of "Unfinished Business" - obviously on a real stage and with opera in mind - Irene is presented with "Voi, che sapete" Cherubino's aria from Mozart's "Le Nozze di Figaro." This aria is beautiful but not really catchy and a typical piece of music for beginners - not exactly a good choice to show your voice at an audition. Over and above she is contrasted by a coloratura soprano who starts - out of all thinkable options -  with a remarkable interpretation of the "Shadow Song" from Meyerbeer's "Dinorah." Coloratura soprano was the fach Irene studied at the Chicago College of Music, and, well, her choice for the college's annual contest was the "Shadow Song." Irene remembered this event in 1985 like this: "I was one of the three competiting medalists and sang 'The Shadow Song' from 'Dinorah.' When I hear it performed today, I can't believe I sang it because it's so coloratura."
With those brilliant coloraturas in the background, Nancy gets the following advice by her agent - "Don't be discouraged. There are a lot of places for your type of voice..." Finding those "places" was precisely what Irene Dunne did in real life.

a lot of places....

However, the next scene shows Nancy only as a singing telephone operator  which is almost a little bit fresh but very funny. This humor works because Irene could really sing - for the public in this era she was a long established singer -  and could have done better than this anytime. Thanks to the fan magazines the public knew something about the background of their stars and as for Irene a couple of years rumors about an alleged season at the MET were around. 
Those correlations between on- and off-screen are a steady, striking element in Old Hollywood films, and one reason why I love the movies of this era so very much. 
"Unfinished Business" is a wonderful example for this method of work - Old Hollywood at its best!

And here is the music!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Unfinished Business

Irene as Nancy Andrews Duncan

Release date 09.12.1941

"You see, Tommy, you just won't understand that in the lifes of all women there's some unfinished business. Don't ask me why. Is that clear?"
"No!"

After marrying off the sister she raised, Nancy (Irene) decides that's her turn now and that she won't stick to the plans her family made for her. It's about time for some adventure in the big city. Hoping for a singing career, Nancy leaves her hometown Massina, Ohio, for New York. On the train she meets wealthy playboy Steve Duncan (Preston Foster). Steve has a nice little 50-bucks-bet running with his buddy - who will pick up the more beautiful girl on the train - and Nancy just comes in handy. Despite Steve's obvious line she soon surrenders to his kisses ... 

No Little Red Riding Hood but Redhead and the Wolf
(wolf at work)

Well, the next morning Steve hopes that he would get away without having to talk to her but gets trapped.
S: "I'll give you a call..."
N: "You won't forget?"
S: "What do you think?"
N: "I love you!"

The end of the affair...

The next weeks bring two revelations for our small town girl: Steve won't call, and her voice isn't trained enough for an opera career. The only job Nancy lands is as singing telephone operator at a nightclub. An accidental meeting with Steve and his fiancĂ©e at the club ends with tears for Nancy. Not knowing why she is so upset, Steve's brother, Tom (Robert Montgomery) tries to comfort her. Tom is a boozer, a good-for-nothing fellow feeling overshadowed by his older brother but nonetheless a nice guy. At the night of Steve's wedding Tom and Nancy get terribly drunk and not so terribly married with Tom still not knowing about the train fling between his brother and his bride.

Tommie and Nancy on their way to marriage...

 Get this down!

The main occupation of the young couple during the next time is frequenting nightclubs and showing socially not accepted behaviour but one evening they strand at the domiciliary grand piano with Nancy fulfilling Tom's request for "When You and I Were Young, Maggie." Tommy has it bad; despite their original intentions he has fallen in love with his wife. Nancy - though not totally over her feelings for Steve - isn't immune to his confession and starts to show some wifely qualities.

The Duncans - this time sober and happy

All of this could end as a strangely started "nice boy meets nice girl" story if Tommy wouldn't have the idea to invite some family and friends for dinner. Nancy trying to find a sort of closure for her "unfinished business" kisses brother Steve which observed by Tommy's former girlfriend arouses a lot of attention at the party. The unfinished business is still unfinished, and perhaps it never will be finalized ...

Not such a good idea...

"Unfinished Business" is an underestimated little gem - an intelligent, very "adult" movie which switches between different genres. It's not a real comedy but witty and funny in between, and it's too funny and witty to be called a drama. The person who makes this hybrid of a film mainly work is Irene Dunne. Her Nancy is quite a character - naive, a person with an agenda of her own, not exactly flawless, with pathetic moments but in the final analysis blessed with an amiable down-to-earth quality. Nice stuff for an actress who was not only the mistress of the melodrama but also the queen of the comedy timing. Miss Dunne gets the chance to show a lot of facets - including her singing voice - and as you ought to know by now, La Dunne was no diamond in the rough; she knew how to glitter exquisitely.

Fitting background for Li'l Diamond
(publicity from 1941)

The film doesn't beat around the bush - small town girl was seduced in the train. Listening to Irene's "I love you..." the next morning you simply know that this night was not merely about holding hands (btw after the "wedding night" in "Penny Serenade" the second sexual encounter in a train in a row.Of course we don't get to see anything but the stopping down to the moving wheels of the train symbolizes the "forces at work") The plot is unusual for a film of this era because small town girl is not punished for her one night stand; she doesn't get pregnant, doesn't die, doesn't lose her rich husband but she moves on and even gets to terms with the nice guy in the end. Every time when you have the feeling that you are on the steady course of a Hollywood story, "Unfinished Business" steers in an unexpected direction. Or was stupid me the only one thinking that we were heading in the direction of a glamorous career as nightclub singer when Nancy-Irene was invited to audition? Instead she gets to "rehearse" a jingle and stupid me almost died laughing. Of course this hilarious scene only works because Irene Dunne really could sing. "Unfinished Business" boldly takes advantage of Irene's off- and on-screen image; plays around with it and spoofs it which is a lot of fun for folks with some Dunne knowledge.   

La Diva rehearsing a jingle - one of those great LaCava frames
(and look out for what Irene does in the background during this scene... )

But let's talk about the source for some unfinished business in Nancy's life,  the males.
Preston Foster is okay for me - no less, no more. I don't find him overwhelming attractive but that mirrors nicely how desperate Irene's character is for some, any kind of romance in her life. "Steve" is a rather ungrateful part with not much to do except being quite unsympathetic - a not overly interesting "wolf."
Robert Montgomery is another league but I had to acquire a taste for his acting. Considering the fact that he worked frequently with all my favorite MGM gals I just didn't get around the guy and finally developed a real liking for him. Nowadays his presence is a convincing reason to watch a film. "Tom" is a sort of typical Bob Montgomery role - he was always good at portraying frivolousness with an option for seriousness - and he creates a complex character who manages to finish some issues of his own. He and his co-star have some wonderful scenes together which show how impressive underacting can be. Kindly enough, Robert Mongomery has a very competent valet at his side embodied by character actor Eugene Pallette who gives a great performance as "butler Elmer."

La Dunne with Eugene Pallette - this was the last time that Irene smoked on-screen.
(Elmer and me don't like that hat!)

"Unfinished Business" is based on an original story by director Gregory LaCava. He not only leaves room for his story and his actors but manages remarkable staging. Especially the scenes which change between privateness and public - in the restaurant with the silver wedding anniversary in the background, the party at the Duncan's or the nightclub scenery for instance - are very well done. To figure on the player's personality was a typical LaCava method of work which explains the Dunne tailored tidbits. As for Robert Montgomery, they had to start filming earlier because of his commitment to active service in the U.S. Navy; and once again art imitates life! If those tidbits are the "LaCava touch", I certainly appreciate this approach.

Cheers! Almost done! 
(and Mr. Montgomery really deserved another pic...)

An intelligent, unusual story, great actors, remarkable directing, an in all her facets glittering Irene and music - that's the Dunne formula which makes me happy!

Cheerio!