The Canterville Ghost | MGM | Jules Dassin | 1944

The irresistible prospect of Charles Laughton doing Oscar Wilde, bulldozed and pasteurized into…WWII propaganda? MGM, at its worst, was pestilential, a plague of sugar-stuffed locusts on the most promising material. Peter Lawford’s screech-voice opens the picture before passing the baton to Laughton’s blubbery sub-Ray Bolger antics. Robert Young’s trademarked personality-lessness wants to foil against but instead just droopily overlays the rest of his army cornballs to castrate and fabulize the very idea of military combat/heroism/existence so that it becomes the stuff of cozy fireside yuk-yuks.  Margaret O’Brien is the majestically infantilized proxy for the solipsistic audience who wants to believe in this no man’s fantasy land.  Who was the genius who came up with “Oscar Wilde–but for kids!….and with Nazis?”  Thanks be to God I quickly washed the taste out with Night and Fog in Japan!


One comment

  1. tomsutpen · July 11, 2016

    What was it about Edward Dmytryk that he was able to coax out of Robert Young (in ‘Crossfire’) a personality-full performance? It should have done for him what ‘Murder, My Sweet’ did for Dick Powell. But, alas, it did not.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s