FERNANDO’s CORNER: Posted on August 16th, 2015
RUTH ROMAN, PATRICIA NEAL and ELEANOR PARKER
Quite by chance some months ago I bought a Blu Ray released by the -for me unknown company- Olive Films of the WB 1950 film “Three Secrets” directed by Robert Wise. I think that somewhere, someone I trust praised the film, so I searched through Amazon and found this B Ray release which has no extras. I saw the film and the quality of the print is so great, that I’ll definitely buy more Olive Films releases.
The movie is a drama that begins with a plane accident in which three of its four occupants ( including the pilot ) die, except for the small 6 year old kid of the couple who was traveling. The child lies apparently still alive on the top of a very difficult to reach mountain. Then the audience learns that the kid was adopted and there are three possible biological mothers; enter three superb actresses and performances in one film: Eleanor Parker, Patricia Neal and Ruth Roman. Parker plays the more conventional role of a married middle class wife who’s never told her husband that she had an illegitimate child before she knew him. Conventional it is, but Parker plays the mother believably, with subtlety.
Pat Neal on the other hand plays an independent journalist who is on the top of her profession and gave up the child due to mixed reasons, but mainly because she was divorced when the child was born and the baby would have been an obstacle in her career. She’s pure storm and energy when she’s onscreen. She is simply dazzling.
And last but not least, the lovely and magnetic Ruth Roman as a doomed ballerina who had to give up her kid, because it was born when she was in jail. I’d never seen Roman play such a complex role and she’s great. She’s so dif-ferent from the rather wishy-washy character she played in Hitch-cock’s “Strangers on a Train” that I’d definitely would like to see her in more roles like this one. Looking at her side by side with Ms. Parker she looks like her sister; a darker haired version of her. The film is really one the best women’s dramas I have seen lately ( for the first time ) and to watch such a fine print of the film was sheer happiness for me. Wise’s direction is deft and the film never falters, keeping one’s interest until the very end.
( PATRICIA NEAL, TCM Star of the Day – August 16th 2015 )
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