Couldn't Do That Today
Movie Lover: Laura Demilio
Pittsburgh, PA US
-- November, 14, 2005
This creaky little film just missed being in really bad taste - with subject matter today's viewers would find uncomfortable and even, dare we say it, more than a little disgusting. The kindly doctor guiltily rescues the barely-teenage daughter of the neglected widow who dies in his office by taking the girl home with him and making her his ward. She should have remained like a daughter to him, with the kindly affection in which he treated her continuing as she finished school. Instead, home from his world lecture tour, seeing the girl just out of boarding school - aged only seventeen - the middle-aged doctor is smitten, and jealously wants to forbid her marriage to the appropriately-aged younger brother of his own mid-life fiance. Imagine the public uproar if that happened today. First of all, the girl was too young to marry anybody, let alone her young boyfriend, but, "in those days. . . . "
Aileen Pringle plays her interesting, pseudo-British-accented character as a reprise of another middle aged lady who also almost completely misses out on her chance for love: the professor/housemother in the 1932 RKO movie The Age of Consent. Luckily, in advising the students and bailing them out of trouble after a tragic accident, her own middle-aged professor boyfriend sees the sense in not letting the chance at romance flee. It makes one wonder if perhaps Pringle was a little typecast in this character?
The movie fascinates with the doings of an early 30's "busy doctor's office" and how rich, important patients and friends obviously came before the poor sick woman who had to wait all day for an appointment. If the actress as the girl ward wasn't quite believable as an artless 14-year-old, the story still moved along, after sliding into some rather predictable trite melodrama before the end.