Saratoga Trunk (1945)

Genres - Drama, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Melodrama, Romantic Drama  |   Release Date - Nov 21, 1945 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 135 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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A big box-office hit at the time of its release, Saratoga Trunk is a well-mounted and enjoyable but essentially empty film that is saved by the star power of its two leads. That star power is at top wattage, with both Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman in peak physical form and generating the requisite sparks that this story needs to be more-or-less credible. Cooper is very good, easygoing yet nobody's fool, but it's not a part that is especially challenging. Bergman is perhaps more impressive because it is a change-of-pace character for her, a real gold digger who, even if she does end up displaying a good heart, is avaricious and vengeful. She pulls it all off without ever losing audience sympathy. The supporting cast is fine, with especially good work from a delicious Florence Bates. Sam Wood's direction is fine, but it's unable to overcome the hollowness of the script or its more melodramatic tendencies. Wood also allows the film to go on too long, ultimately negating some of its effectiveness. Still, if Saratoga is not a great film, it's a fine showcase for some good old Hollywood acting.