For Reel

Three Hearts for Julia (1943)
September 8, 2014, 2:30 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Richard Thorpe
2.5 Stars
Three Hearts for JuliaAlthough the cast and premise of Three Hearts for Julia is bound to excite fans of the remarriage comedy, it is much more likely to be of interest for those interested in the domestic and gender politics of 1940s America than anyone looking for a screwball trifle. Simply put: it’s not particularly witty or humorous at any turn, despite the considerable talents of Ann Sothern (miscast as a rather plain snob) and Melvyn Douglas as her soon-to-be ex-husband. Director Richard Thorpe bafflingly invests a considerable amount of screen time on orchestral performances and seems at odds with what he wants the tone to be–Douglas spends an awful lot of time sulking for a determined romantic lead in an airy comedy. Despite its failings, however, the film is interesting in the way that it addresses marriage during World War II in that it depicts the anxiety that soldiers might have had of their wives becoming independent and eager to leave their marriages. The men in the movie do all they can to control women in rebuttal–whether that be by Douglas literally kidnapping his wife until she loves him again, or by a refugee conductor (Felix Bressart) trying to create order out of his rambunctious all-female orchestra.

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