Edward, My Son (1949)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Family Drama, Melodrama  |   Release Date - Mar 1, 1949 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 112 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom , United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Edward, My Son is a peculiar but powerful examination of selfishness and obsession. While the movie sometimes betrays its stage origins, and while it may come across as structurally a little too pat for modern audiences, it nonetheless is a compelling experience that packs a sizeable emotional punch. Spencer Tracy plays against type as Arnold Boult. While there are several moments when Tracy displays the unique affable charm with which moviegoers are familiar, the charm doesn't ring true; it's a fa├žade to disguise the ruthless machinations Boult is forever putting in place. Unfortunately, Tracy doesn't seem totally comfortable with the unpleasant aspects of his character. He pulls it off, but the effort shows and he's never as convincing as an actor of an innately darker character would be. This negates a bit of the film's impact, but does not damage it fatally. As his wife, Deborah Kerr gives a stunning, shattering performance. Her progression from loving wife to miserable, embittered alcoholic is wrenching, painful and totally believable. Mervyn Johns is touching and affecting as Tracy's business partner, and Ian Hunter is solid as Tracy's friend with unexpressed feelings for Kerr. George Cukor's direction is generally spot on, although the device of Tracy directly addressing the camera does not always come off. Though it has its flaws, overall Edward, My Son is gripping, memorable and affecting.