Summer Storm (1944)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Drama  |   Run Time - 105 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Summer Storm is a tiny gem of a movie, one which has been overlooked by audiences and is therefore a pleasant surprise for those looking for an older movie that they haven't seen dozens of times. There are certainly flaws in Storm, starting with a bit of a "split personality" between its Anton Chekhov roots and its interpretation by a Hollywood team, as well as the contribution of director Douglas Sirk, not from Hollywood but from Europe and bringing a third flavor to the mixture. Pacing is a also a bit of a problem, and some viewers might wish that Sirk had made a few things a bit clearer. But these flaws are more than made up for by the literate, intelligent screenplay, which captures a great deal of Chekhov even as it bows to Hollywood conventions and Code strictures. And Sirk's work, while not as all-encompassing as his later 1950's masterpieces, still has the determination and sense of a unique worldview that one finds in his best films. The director also coaxes a truly lovely performance from Linda Darnell, looking stunning and creating an ambitious, selfish portrait that is hard to resist. George Sanders is also in top form, showing the audience a man whose heightened self-awareness is no match for his own moral weakness and cowardice. But best of all is Edward Everett Horton in a totally atypical serious performance that is a true surprise to all who know him merely from his usual bumbling comedic parts. Storm is a tragic, passionate film that deserves to be more widely seen.