Because of You (film)

Because of You is a 1952 American film noir drama romance film distributed by Universal International, which was directed by Joseph Pevney and starred Loretta Young and Jeff Chandler. This film was surprising in that it showed a provocative "sexy side" of Ms. Young, quite different from her usual dignified brunette "nice girl" part.[1]

Because of You
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJoseph Pevney
Produced byAlbert J. Cohen
Written byKetti Frings
Story byThelma Robinson
StarringLoretta Young
Jeff Chandler
Music byFrank Skinner
CinematographyRussell Metty
Edited byVirgil W. Vogel
Production
company
Universal Pictures
Distributed byUniversal-International
Release date
  • December 4, 1952 (1952-12-04) (United States)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

In late 1954, Jeff Chandler said this was his favorite among the films he had made.[2]

Plot

A sexy blonde, still a little fresh off the farm, Christine Carroll (Loretta Young) is preparing to marry her handsome boyfriend. She finds out too late that her fiancé Mike (Alex Nicol) is a gangster and, once he slips stolen merchandise into her purse, she becomes his unwitting accessory. Though she goes to jail, she is innocent of the crime.

Through the kindness of prison psychiatrist Dr. Breen (Alexander Scourby), Christine turns her life around in prison, becoming a nurse's aide in the infirmary. Upon her release, Christine gets a job at a respectable hospital, where she falls in love with wounded combat pilot Steve Kimberly (Jeff Chandler), an architect from good family. Will she ever be able to reveal her sordid past without sending the emotionally fragile Steve off the deep end?

When it's clear that Steve has fallen hard, she faces the dilemma of what and when to tell him. Christine's probation officer encourages her to tell him the truth. But his wounded psyche makes her decide to keep her past a secret. They marry and Christine is a downright sexy newlywed on her honeymoon.

Her decision has melodramatic consequences... but not at first. As long as her old boyfriend is locked up in prison, and with her name change, Christine believes she is safe. She and Steve have a happy marriage, and soon announce the birth of a child, though Steve shows he isn’t completely well, a little reluctant at first to share Christine even with a child. But after the new addition, a lovely daughter, he seems more stable and happy.

Christine devotes herself to her husband and daughter. All is wonderful until her old gangster boyfriend Mike, fresh out of prison, shows up one day, holding her daughter and letting her play with his gun. Christine pleads with him to release the child - she has no money but offers him all she has if Mike will just leave.

He is willing to let bygones be bygones as long as she drives him down south of the border into Mexico. He promises if she will do that, he will never bother her again. Trapped, she agrees. But nothing turns out as he promises. After another robbery, there is a high-speed chase and a crash. Mike is killed instantly. Christine and daughter survive the wreck physically, but there are plenty of emotional problems as a result.

An enraged Steve accuses Christine (while still in the hospital recuperating from the wreck) of being a tramp and immediately files for divorce, gaining full custody of the child. He refuses to listen to her side of the story, only taking her prison record, the fact that she was with her old gangster boyfriend and fact that she put his daughter in danger.

Crushed, forbidden from seeing her daughter, she looks to fill the hours. Christine takes a job as an assistant for a magician. One day she meets up with her sister-in-law, Steve's twin, who comes to her aid. Christine is asked to perform with the clown at a children's party. Since this is years later, the child does not know that Christine is her mother. She falls in love with the Magic Lady, who agrees to come to her house for a few days and show her some attention and love. Unexpectedly, Steve comes home and there are fireworks. Christine points out that their daughter has serious problems and needs the care of a mother. She leaves quietly, ready to never see her child again.

But Christine's magic has cast its spell; Steve looks for her and finds her at her parents' farm, taking a splint off of an animal. Steve is no longer the emotionally fragile patient; he has healed. Once he got over his anger at his sister's subterfuge, he searched his soul to realize that he needs her now as an equal partner to share life with and to help his daughter grow up to be a strong young woman.

Cast

Production

In October 1951 Universal bought a story written originally for the screen: Magic Lady by Thelma Robinson and George Haight.[3]

In March 1952 Universal announced the film would star Loretta Young and be based on a script by Ketti Frings, produced by Albert Cohen and directed by Joseph Pevney. The last time Young worked at Universal was in Ladies Courageous (1943).[4] Later that month Jeff Chandler joined the film as Young's co star.[5] It was Chandler's first romantic role.[6]

Filming started on April 15, 1952.[7]

Loretta Young said she found Jeff Chandler very attractive and he told her that he was falling in love with her. She further stated that the relationship never progressed beyond hand-holding outside their love scenes, "but I think until he died, we both felt it. If I'd see him on the street I'd walk the other way because I didn't want to spark anything."[8]

In July the title was changed from Magic City to Because of You.[9]

Music

The title song, "Because of You", was Tony Bennett's first hit recording, reaching #1 in 1951 and becoming one of his many signature songs.

Reception

Critical

The new York Times said "the acting and the direction are as soggy as the script."[10]

Box Office

According to Loretta Young's biographer, "Because of You was a sleeper hit, a film that performs way beyond expectations and was held over a couple of weeks at the Roxy Theatre in New York."[11]

Home media

In 1998, Universal released the film in 1998 on VHS tape. However, the movie has not had an official DVD release in any region. As a result, only bootleg DVD-R copies of the film exist, most of which are video transfers from the official VHS tape.

See also

References

  1. Because of You at TCMDB
  2. FAME ISN'T ENOUGH!: Outspoken Star Would Like to Forsake the Films and Become an Executive Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 26 Dec 1954: e11.
  3. FIDELITY TO FILM 'SCARLET FLAME' New York Times 13 Oct 1951: 23.
  4. U.-I. STARRING ROLE FOR LORETTA YOUNG: Actress Who Will Appear in 'Magic Lady' Had Worked at Universal in 1943 By THOMAS M. PRYORS New York Times 17 Mar 1952: 17.
  5. Looking at Hollywood: Top Role in 'Magic Lady' Film Is Held Open for Jeff Chandler HEDDA HOPPER'S STAFF. Chicago Daily Tribune 25 Mar 1952: a5.
  6. Jeff, the Self-Confident, Sexy Indian, Now Turns Romantic Hopper, Hedda. Los Angeles Times (1923-1995); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]09 Nov 1952: D3.
  7. METRO PURCHASES 'SKY FULL OF MOON' THE NEW YORK TIMES.. 24 Mar 1952: 21
  8. Funk p 290-291
  9. PARAMOUNT PLANS NEW 'VANITY FAIR' New York Times 3 July 1952: 16.
  10. THE SCREEN IN REVIEW: ' Because of You,' With Loretta Young and Jeff Chandler, Bows at the Capitol By BOSLEY CROWTHER. New York Times 4 Dec 1952: 47.
  11. Funk p 291
  • Funk, Edward. Behind the Door: The Real Story of Loretta Young, Bear Manor Media, 2015.
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