Monday, July 25, 2011

Mourning Becomes Electra (1947) "Rivals In Ruthelessness Even To Murder!"

Mourning Becomes Electra (1947)  RKO Studios
Directed By: Dudley Nichols
Starring: Rosalind Russell, Michael Redgrave, Raymond Massey & Kirk Douglas

  • Film was based on the original stage play written in 1931 by Eugene O'Neill.
  • Film originally ran just a few minutes under 3 hours and RKO Studios decided due to poor box office to cut it to 105 mins though it has been recently restored to it's 173 mins.
  • Nominated for 2 Academy Awards (1948) including Best Acto for Michael Regrave & Best Actress for Rosalind Russell who was a major favorite for her wodnerful portrayel of Lavinia though lost to Loretta Young.
  • Rosalind Russell won the Golden Globe in 1948 for Best Actress.

Set during the Civil War, in New England the very wealthy and respected family The Manons are thought of with great admiration. Ezra (Massey) and Christine (Latina Paxinou) are the parents in this family with two daughters, Lavinia (Russell) and Orin (Redgrave). Behind closed doors this seemingly perfect family has a lot of hidden and dark issues that are coming more visible to others. Both children since birth have been arranged to marry another highly respected family's children: Peter (Douglas) and Hazel Niles (Nancy Coleman).

The large issue is between Ezra and Christine whose love seems to have faded and has been brought to focus in other borderline romantic feelings for their children. Ezra has a lot of affaction for his daughter Lavinia and so does Christine for her son, Orin. Ezra tries to love his wife though has no idea that in return she has true hatred for him. Ezra and his son Orin are called into fight and are away to battle the great Civil War. During this time Lavinia falls in love with a ship's captain, Adam Brant (Leo Genn)  though finds out he is having an affair with her own mother. Lavinia now sees red and hates both Adam and her own mother.

Upon return of the ended war both father and son arrive home. As soon as Orin is home Lavinia tells him of the affair and then further tells him the correct actions to take.  Orin does not agree with this action and decides to follow-up with his own path. Both siblings are not happy with the situation at hand but are willing to deal with it in different manners one possibly death. A very well acted and thoroughly enjoyable film.

1 comment:

  1. Kirk Douglas isn't one of my favorites, but I do love this film. So moody and New Englandy. The set of the house is wonderful, an overpowering Greek temple. Another of O'Neil's works I liked is Desire Under the Elms. It's even darker.