Story deals with the selfishness of mother love, but works out a new twist, dealing with the problem of a mother who stands in the way of her son’s happiness with sympathetic treatment toward the woman.
Opening passages deal with the mother and her fatherless boy working an Arkansas farm. Restricted settings convey the idea of the narrow lives the people of the story are leading. Picture is full of similarly subtle touches.
Central character of Hannah Jessop is a compelling portrait willful, domineering and rooted in the land her pioneering forebears won from the wilderness. She’s determined to hold her son to the farm and when the boy in rebellion determines to marry the girl of his choice, she gives him up to the World War draft board.
When he’s killed in action and the girl, daughter of a neighboring ne’er-do-well, has a child, the old woman remains as unyielding and grim in her grief. A decade after, on a pilgrimage to the dead boy’s grave in France, she sees the error of her ways.
Henrietta Crosman plays the Hannah character under wraps, leaving the impression of a reserve of power and vitality. Norman Foster gives to the son the earnest playing that has made him a standard in this type of role, while Marian Nixon deals with the deserted sweetheart well, a quiet, restrained treatment that fits beautifully into the story structure.