(1950)4Craig ButlerThe Mudlark is one of those films that one happens upon, having never really heard of it, and comes away surprised that it is not much better known. Utterly charming, The Mudlark is a small historical drama that doesn't care that its plot is all supposition when not outright fiction. A "what if" story of the best sort, it is blessed with a tender and whimsical Nunnally Johnson screenplay that is winsome and winning without ever becoming cloying. Director Jean Negulesco is in fine form as well, keeping the simple story moving along at a clip that is relaxed, but never boring. As Victoria, Irene Dunne is physically almost unrecognizable. It's no surprise that she can convey the warmth and underlying sadness for which the role calls, but she's equally effective when in full regal mode. Even better are little Andrew Ray, whose enchanting performance in the title role could not be better, and the delectable Alec Guinness, who seems to know this particular Disraeli inside and out. Add in some beautiful scenery and simply stunning costumes and you've got a lovely, touching drama that almost all are bound to enjoy.