FERNANDO’s CORNER – Posted July 5th, 2015
I am currently reading Victoria Wilson’s mammoth Barbara Stanwyck Bio “Steel True”
( mixed feelings… ) and I was in the chapter where “SO BIG!” (1932) is analyzed and
I just had to see it…So I did.
Barbara Stanwyck NEVER disappoints, even in material that is not worthy of her, which is not the case. The plot is based upon an Edna Ferber’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, the director is the very talented William Wellman and the studio is Warner Brothers. Barbara Stanwyck is a pro of the kind that doesn’t exist anymore. What a talent! Such glow and inner beauty. She projected everything with those bewitching eyes and without opening her mouth. She’s completely endearing and charming as the larger-than-life, devoted Selina Peake (De Jong). Her performance is of such caliber, strength and restraint. A true artist. She plays the only daughter of a gambler whom she adored and who grows to be this (subdued) force of nature with a determination and focus others lack.
George Brent has a small role as the grown-up boy of whom she becomes a mentor and he’s very good ( as good as in Wellman’s “The Purchase Price” – 1932 another little gem with Ms. Stanwyck ). Hardie Albright is fine as Selina’s grown-up son “So Big” ( played by Dickie Moore as a boy ), and Bette Davis is a free spirit ( not unlike Selina ) for whom “So Big” falls for. Lots of familiar names in a marvelous cast: Alan Hale, Anne Shirley, Blanche Friderici, Dorothy Peterson, Noel Francis, Rita La Roy, Elizabeth Patterson, Robert Warwick.A wonderful story, beautifully acted and realistically filmed by master Wellman. A new discovery.
( H O M E )