Metro has accomplished a highly successful translation to the screen of Sinclair Lewis’ bookstore boff [adapted by Donald Ogden Stewart and Sonya Levien]. Lana Turner is the surprise of the picture via her top performance thespically. In a role that allows her the gamut from tomboy to the pangs of childbirth and from being another man’s woman to remorseful wife, she seldom fails to acquit herself creditably. Spencer Tracy, as a matter of fact, is made to look wooden by comparison.
What fault the picture has is its overlong running time. Director George Sidney is unable to hold the pace for two hours and the film lags in the midsection.
This is a love story all the way. Essentially, it’s the tenderness of an older man – 41, not too old, of course – for a young girl. Tracy, respected small-town judge, pays tender court to Turner, who’s strictly out of his class socially as well as chronologically, until he wins her. She adapts herself to local society and the new life until she thinks she can stand it no more and then is off with the husband’s best-friend, Zachary Scott. Scott, of course, doesn’t want her when he can have her.
Tracy’s meeting and early courting of the gal is difficult to accept, but once that’s passed, the only misgiving is that the yarn telegraphs its punches so far ahead.