The Story of Three Loves (1953)

Genres - Drama, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Drama  |   Release Date - Mar 26, 1953 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 122 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Anthology films are always risky, but The Story of Three Loves works a little better than many other such omnibuses. One of the issues with an anthology is ordering; rarely are the individual pieces equally strong, so figuring out the proper order can be complicated. Loves moves from weakest to strongest, which is probably the best way (as long as the initial offering is not so weak as to prompt immediate viewer disinterest). The first segment is a bit clich├ęd and obvious, but James Mason's dramatic skills and Moira Shearer's beauty and incredible balletic skills overcome this flaw. The middle section benefits from director Vincente Minnelli's eye for color and composition, and it has a whimsical tone to it that is engaging on its own and even moreso after the "downer" tone of the first piece. The "boy to man transformation" motif has certainly been done many times, but it has a definite appeal. And the cast is strong, with Ethel Barrymore especially a delight in a role that she could easily have walked through. The final piece is the best, not because the screenplay itself is the strongest but because so much of it is told through exciting visual shots involving the trapeze act that is the center of the story. These sections are thrilling and dramatically effective and give a real feeling of life to the film. Kirk Douglas is right at home here, and surprisingly so is Anna Maria Pier Angelli. Loves is not a great film, but it's an enjoyable diversion.