Paula (1952)

Genres - Crime, Drama  |   Release Date - May 15, 1952 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 80 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Paula is an implausible soap opera/thriller which suffers from a screenplay which is simply too contrived and manipulative. That said, many viewers will be happy to give themselves over to its manipulations, in order to have some cathartic tears as Loretta Young tears her heart out and does everything she can to overcome her enormous guilt. To those looking for something of a true dramatic nature, though, Paula's "go for the heart" excesses will be more than a bit much to take. A little spark or originality here and there in the screenplay would have helped matters, but there's little of these commodities on display in the film. Fortunately, Paula does have Young, who is very fine company to be in, especially when called upon to suffer. Young knows how to play these scenes for all they're worth, and she does an excellent job throughout. She's aided by the exceptional performance of young Tommy Rettig, whose work rapport with Young helps carry the film over some rough spots. Kent Smith is rather wooden as Young's husband, and Alexander Knox can only do so much with a part that calls for him to stand around and offer a lot of advice. Rudolph Mate's direction is solid; he can't really make the script appear better than it is, but he manages some nifty shots and finds a few surprises along the way to keep things interesting.