Sunday, 2 November 2014

Love Story (1944)

Stewart Granger & Margaret Lockwood

There is something quite ridiculous in the basic premise of this film: a popular and successful concert pianist (Margaret Lockwood) ...
Margaret Lockwood
... is rejected for military service due to her weak heart (cue superfluous photo of Lockwood in her underwear):
Discovering that she has little time to live, she takes a holiday where she meets a carefree young man (played by Stewart Granger). But why isn’t he in uniform? Why is he happy for everyone to believe he is avoiding military service and doing nothing for the war effort? Why does he surrender the chance of romance with Lockwood?

Of course, he is hiding the truth: he is a disabled RAF pilot ...
Stewart Granger
... who was invalided out of service since he is going blind. So the soon to be blind man is romancing the dying woman, and neither of them is prepared to admit the truth.

Despite this ridiculously unlikely scenario, it’s an entertaining little film. Both Granger and Lockwood are typically attractive, comedian Tom Walls (who had been a massive star during the 1930s) ...
Tom Walls
... appears as the voice of reason and Patricia Roc does her best as Granger’s long-time admirer.
Patricia Roc
If anything, Roc is the weak link. She looks good – especially in her overalls and hammer and sickle headscarf ...
Patricia Roc
... and her acting is adequate when playing the lighter elements of the role, but she really struggles when called upon to inject some anger into her role. ‘Patricia Roc’ and ‘menacing’ just aren’t words that go together.

Whilst the basic story could have been played out without any need for the wartime story, there are elements in which the period feeling really shine through. There is a lengthy sequence of a piano recital that reflects British society’s enjoyment of high culture during World War 2. This helps to lift the film above some other wartime romances.

It is also worth mentioning Granger’s outfits (I won’t call them costumes since I suspect he was wearing his own clothes). The more one watches Stewart Granger in films from the 1940s, the more it becomes clear that he was at the forefront of male fashion. Whilst other actor might have been more famous as style icons, Granger was always well dressed and always appeared to be wearing clothes that were ahead of fashion. He favours two button jackets with a low button stance, something that became increasing popular in the 1950s. Yet Granger favours this style much earlier.


He also wears jackets with a flapped breast pocket, a feature seldom seen in the mid 1940s. Another common feature of his clothing is his preference for spread collars and ties with a 'Windsor Knot':
He even wears a strange short jacket that might be an item of work wear:

This is the same jacket Granger wore in The Lamp Still Burns (1943):
Stewart Granger in The Lamp Still Burns
I also rather like this casual outfit:
And this outfit looks like he was preparing himself for his later role in King Solomon's Mines:
Stewart Granger
Here's who else to look out for:
George Merritt

Walter Hudd

Merle Tottenham (as bus conductor) and Johnnie Schofield (smoking pipe)

Bryan Herbert & Roy Emmerton

1 comment:

  1. Just visiting from The Fedora Lounge and want to let you know how much I'm enjoying your blog. I am an American and I had a grandmother and aunt that lived on a road named Webster Gardens, just steps away from Ealing Studios. I visited them many times, including a three month stay, and have walked by that building often. I wish I knew then what I know now about those wonderful films!