Daisy Kenyon (1947)

Genres - Drama, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Melodrama, Romantic Drama  |   Release Date - Dec 25, 1947 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 100 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - G
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Review by Craig Butler

Fans of Joan Crawford will have a field day with Daisy Kenyon, one of Crawford's "strong woman stuck in a love triangle" melodramas. But Kenyon should also entertain those who aren't always tuned into Crawford in high melodrama mode. One reason for this is that, while Kenyon has more than its share of soap operatics, it also has a fair share of moments that are of genuine dramatic interest. They're not necessarily revelatory or of high dramatic order, but they are fairly realistic and quite palatable. It also helps that the outcome of the film is kept somewhat in doubt until near the end. Also, while Crawford dominates the film with a star performance as big as her shoulder pads, she also has competition from the quieter but nonetheless powerful performances of Dana Andrews and Henry Fonda. Most helpful, however, is the direction of Otto Preminger and the fluid camerawork of Leon Shamroy. Kenyon is not Preminger's best work, by any stretch, but he makes it a much stronger film than it otherwise would have been. The material does not really seem to engage the director on a personal level, but this has an interesting effect. Preminger sometimes uses Shamroy's camera to intrude into the character's lives, as if he's trying to find something beneath the surface that just isn't there. He occasionally lingers just a second too long on a face or a scene, or frames a performer in a manner that is somehow slightly judgmental. All this adds a slight, welcome weight to the film -- not enough to slow it down or get in the way of the pacing (or, God forbid, of Crawford!), but enough to add a subtle sense of discomfort. Kenyon is no great film, but it's quite entertaining.