For Reel

Those Endearing Young Charms (1945)
May 30, 2015, 9:37 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Lewis Allen
2.5 Stars
Those Endearing Young CharmsAs Those Endearing Young Charms begins, Helen Brandt (Laraine Day) is being courted by the boyish, over-eager Jerry (Bill Williams), who seems like a thoroughly respectable kid but has little romantic or sexual charm–he might as well be played by Mickey Rooney. It’s no surprise, then, that an Air Force cad played by Robert Young is able to quickly divert Day’s gaze from Jerry to himself. Young was never particularly good at playing characters that were anything but genuine–even when playing a heel (such as a Nazi party member in The Moral Storm), he played them rather directly. But the ever-reliable Day is right for the doe-eyed, sympathetic lover whose naïveté comes from her optimism rather than simple foolishness–can one be blamed for falling prey to a liar? Lewis Allen, who directed the terrific ghost story The Uninvited the previous year, lends uninspired direction in this case, but at least he has the sense to shoot the expressive Day in lingering close-ups. Ann Harding returned to the studio that made her a star to play Day’s mother and brings her talent for understatement to a role that neither Allen nor the writers (Edward & Jerome Chodorov) know what to do with.

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