Britannia Mews (Negulesco, 1949)

Britannia Mews (Jean Negulesco, 1949)

I had such good luck with Deep Valley that I decided I had to see another Negulesco immediately. My second experience with the man did not meet the lofty expectations the first created. While not a bad film (in fact, quite good in some areas), it’s entirely too flawed to be great. The biggest issue I had with it is the use of Dana Andrews to play two different characters. I absolutely hate it when this is done without symbolic reasoning, and it’s really bad here because Andrews isn’t any good in his first role.

Now here’s a conundrum. I see the protagonist as greatly flawed – a person who makes a lot of mistakes and doesn’t even know it (and never has a moment of revelation either). But I’m not entirely sure she’s intended to be viewed this way. The tone of the ending is happy and tidy making it seem like she was an innocent and good-hearted woman finally getting what she deserved when a darker tone alluding to her hurtful ignorance could have made this film a subtle psychological masterpiece. But, hey, bonus points for at least setting it up subtly and strongly, as well as the fantastic set designs and overall atmosphere.  7/10


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