So Long at the Fair (1950)

Genres - Drama, Mystery  |   Release Date - May 31, 1950 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - UK  |  
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Like the earlier The Lady Vanishes and the later Bunny Lake Is Missing, So Long at the Fair centers around a person who has disappeared and the efforts of a woman to convince the rest of the world that the person really existed. It's a wonderfully effective gimmick, thrusting (in Fair's case) Vicky Barton into a world in which her sanity is questioned and in which a strange form of psychological torment is enacted upon her. Fair doesn't take full advantage of this, and the screenplay as a whole is a trifle lacking; it's certainly serviceable and gets the job done, but it lacks those little leaps of imagination that could set it apart. The direction, by Anthony Darnborough and Terence Fisher, is better -- and quite good in places -- but it also could use a little more spark. Fortunately, Jean Simmons and Dirk Bogarde are on hand to take up the slack in that department, and they do a very fine job. Simmons grabs hold of all the opportunities that her role presents and runs with them; she's vulnerable, determined, exasperated, suspicious, maddened, tormented, and a complete joy. Bogarde has a bit less to work with, as is usually the case with this kind of role, but he does so much with what he's given that one would never notice any lack in the writing. The supporting actors are uniformly fine, with Cathleen Nesbitt deserving of special mention. If it has its flaws, So Long at the Fair is nonetheless greatly enjoyable.