Ten North Fred erick is a fairly interesting study of a man who is the victim of his own virtues. But because of the psychological intricacies involved, the screen telling of the John O'Hara novel sacrifices detail and explanation at some loss to audience satisfaction.

Ten North Fred erick is a fairly interesting study of a man who is the victim of his own virtues. But because of the psychological intricacies involved, the screen telling of the John O’Hara novel sacrifices detail and explanation at some loss to audience satisfaction.

The politics section has been so telescoped as to be puzzling. The question of whether the protagonist actually entertains the dream of the presidency or jollies his wife on the point is never clear. And it is crucial to conviction. Joe Chapin (Gary Cooper) is a regional lawyer, rich but not apparently otherwise distinguished. Most of all he is a gentleman and from this fact flows his troubles.

The vaguest part of the screen version is the home town attitude toward the hero although at his 50th birthday party he is twitted by a philanderer with being a dull and slow fellow. Nonetheless the story gets on and after his series of disillusionments, including his beloved daughter’s forced marriage, subsequent miscarriage, annullment and leaving home, the lawyer moves to his bitter-sweet romance in New York with a younger woman.

Told in flashback, the story opens at the 1945 funeral of the lawyer and shows the hypocrites gathered afterwards in his home. The greatest hypocrite of all is the widow, played with iceberg selfishness by Geraldine Fitzgerald.

By the time the story is played out the thesis makes sense – Joe Chapin has indeed been hopelessly handicapped in life by being a gentleman. It is convincing in the end and in Cooper’s performance, and it is also sad.

Ten North Frederick

Production

20th Century-Fox. Director Philip Dunne; Producer Charles Brackett; Screenplay Philip Dunne; Camera Joe MacDonald; Editor David Bretherton; Music Leigh Harline; Art Director Lyle R. Wheeler, Addison Hehr

Crew

(B&W) Widescreen. Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1958. Running time: 102 MIN.

With

Gary Cooper Diane Varsi Geraldine Fitzgerald Tom Tully Suzy Parker Stuart Whitman
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