Moonrise (Borzage, 1948)

Moonrise (Frank Borzage, 1948)

The swamp – with its sounds of crickets welcoming dusk, the occasional splash of a small critter, and slow banjo blues in tune to the creak of a rocking chair – and a small town – with cottages engulfed by flourishing gardens, a spotless diner, and a dazzling city fair – is the setting for this engaging drama. One of the locals is a jumpy man, haunted by his father’s past. He’s defensive to a fault, not very bright, but confident and persistent enough in what he wants that he convinces a girl she’s in love with him a day after she is proposed to by another man. A relationship between a homely school teacher with seemingly no flaws and a paranoid over-reactionary with a temper makes little sense viewing from the outside. But, in addition, he has an innocent heart, latching on to anything that is pure and kind. Her attraction to him could be this child-like spirit he sometimes gives off, or she could just have an issue with falling for the wrong man. Regardless, it’s interesting, and combined with Borzage’s attention to cinematic detail (for being all on constructed sets, this is gorgeous), it’s excellent.  9/10

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