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That Wonderful Urge

29 Jul

That Wonderful Urge – Directed by Robert B. Sinclair. Romantic Comedy. An heiress double-crosses a feisty reporter who has double-crossed her. 82 minutes Black and white. 1948.

**

The abuse and misuse of Tyrone Power by Fox is perfectly demonstrated by this 1948 remake of Love Is News which Power had made ten years before, in 1937. But World War II has intervened, which Power served in honorably as a marine private, and it left its mark on him. He was delightful at 23 in insouciant light comedy with Loretta Young, where he is full of mischief and imagination and fun. They really clicked as a comedy team. Here at 34 a weight hangs on Power. And it’s partly the weight of Gene Tierney who simply had no business playing light comedy at all. She didn’t have the instrument for it. She chews her lines with her overbite. She had also played with Power in Son Of Fury ten years before, and they were lovely together, but there they were a romantic duo not a comic duo. This version of the story, which is essentially It Happened One Night, made-in-Japan, is poorly produced. You never believe a thing you’re seeing, not a single location, not a single background, not a single room, and not a single word, except for those Power speaks, for, as an actor, he is never wrong, he is always believable, he is always natural. Anyhow, the part of a reporter on the make is ridiculous for him at 34. Of course, Gene Tierney is older too, a handsome woman in her way, but here, ridiculously costumed by her husband Oleg Cassini. You can see her beauty did not fade over the years, but it also did not ripen; she never grew as an actress; she was always grand, condescending, and haughty. She always deigned. It was her default position as an actor, and one which ill-suited  the society dames she was most frequently called upon to play, for society folks do not turn their noses up. And that’s what she’s cast as here, as she is in The Razor’s Edge, where the ill-suitablility of  her with Power is of the nature of the story. Power wanted to be the thing he already was: a fine actor. He was never at a loss for a chance to prove it and always did prove it, but sometimes he was more at a loss than others. As here.

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