In this incredibly charming film set in colonial America, William Holden plays David Harvey, a widower who marries a servant girl named Rachel (Loretta Young), so that his son Davey will have a mother figure, and so that she can keep their cabin clean and tidy, provide meals, etc. It is a marriage of convenience, but when David’s friend Jim (Robert Mitchum) comes to visit and shows an interest in Rachel, David comes to realise what she really means to him.
I only watched this film because it starred two of my favourite actors – William Holden and Robert Mitchum – and what a lucky lucky girl Rachel was to get to choose between the two! However, I was pleasantly surprised, because this is an absolute gem of a movie! The always excellent Holden perfectly captures the sadness that David feels after the loss of his beloved wife, and Young is great as the woman who feels unwanted, save for the chores she does. Mitchum is also wonderful as David’s easy-come easy-go friend. Rounding out the main cast is child actor Gary Gray as little Davey.
The story is gentle and sweet, with some surprising moments of humour, and one of the funniest fight scenes I have ever seen! It held my attention throughout and I really liked all of the characters.
This film doesn’t seem to get many outings on television, but I would urge anyone to try and catch it if they can. It is really rather lovely, and I highly recommend it.
Year of release: 1948
Director: Norman Foster
Producers: Jack J. Gross, Richard H. Berger
Writers: Howard Fast (story ‘Rachel’), Waldo Salt
Main cast: William Holden, Loretta Young, Robert Mitchum, Gary Gray