Review: ‘Dark Waters’

A strong cast that handles itself superbly throughout aided by the capable direction of Andre de Toth, is responsible for whatever entertainment value this picture might have. Obviously, the film set out to be a study in characterizations, destined to make the story [from a Saturday Evening Post serial by Frank and Marian Cockrell] itself secondary to the characters portrayed, thus giving it a lift out of the ordinary. But somewhere along the line this idea was sidetracked.

A strong cast that handles itself superbly throughout aided by the capable direction of Andre de Toth, is responsible for whatever entertainment value this picture might have. Obviously, the film set out to be a study in characterizations, destined to make the story [from a Saturday Evening Post serial by Frank and Marian Cockrell] itself secondary to the characters portrayed, thus giving it a lift out of the ordinary. But somewhere along the line this idea was sidetracked.

Merle Oberon gives one of the best portrayals of her career in the role of a young heiress beset by psychological neuroses due to the loss of her parents when a ship on which they were returning from Batavia to America is sunk, she being one of four survivors.

Thomas Mitchell, as the conniver intent on driving the heiress into an asylum and gaining her riches, has some poor lines to toss away before coming through with a meaty performance. Franchot Tone’s portrayal of a bayou country doctor who falls for Oberon is forthright, but never too weighty.

Dark Waters

Production

United Artists. Director Andre de Toth; Producer Benedict Bogeaus; Screenplay Joan Harrison, Marian Cockrell; Camera Archie J. Stout, John J. Mescall; Editor James Smith; Music Miklos Rozsa; Art Director Charles Odds

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1944. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Merle Oberon Franchot Tone Thomas Mitchell Fay Bainter Rex Ingram John Qualen
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