The War Against Mrs. Hadley (1942)

Genres - Drama, War  |   Sub-Genres - Propaganda Film, War Drama  |   Release Date - Sep 13, 1943 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 86 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Modern audiences will undoubtedly be surprised to learn that The War Against Mrs. Hadley was honored with an Oscar nomination for George Oppenheimer's screenplay. Hadley is not bad, but the screenplay is nothing to write home about; clearly, the Academy was honoring the film for what it had to say about the topical issue of the war effort at home, rather than because of its true dramatic merit. Oppenheimer's scenario is certainly structured well, albeit a bit baldly and obviously, and he does provide some snatches of dialogue that impress. Here and there, one can even find some very effective and/or surprising bits of characterization. But there's also plenty of soap boxing and some changes of heart that simply don't ring true as presented herein. Harold S. Bucquet's direction is adequate, but a helmer with more personality would have given Hadley a bit more distinction. Fortunately, Hadley has a cast that helps to make up for many of its other flaws. Fay Bainter does extremely well with the title role, keeping the character from becoming annoying and revealing her pettiness and selfishness without losing audience sympathy. $Edward Arnold is in very good form, and Sara Allgood does wonders with some fairly unpromising lines. Richard Ney and Jean Rogers are only fair, but a young Van Johnson and a swell Spring Byington more than make up for them.