Favorites List --- King's Row
Ann and I watched King’s Row last week, and it’s still a wonderful show. There’s dark stuff here that no other picture ever touched. They had to remove the novel’s depiction of incest between the characters of Dr. Tower and his daughter and substituted inherited insanity in order to mollify Code restrictions. If King’s Row were remade today, they’d no doubt be obliged to remove any notions about inherited insanity, but the incest would be front and center. Still a Code in force, but now it’s an unwritten one. Warner’s new DVD is the usual splendid job from them, and there are shorts and cartoons that are alone worth the price of the disc. Once again, I had to concede that Claude Rains is the greatest actor who ever lived, and this time I found myself appreciating Robert Cummings for the fine performance he gives. I understand Tyrone Power was coveted for this role, but of course, Fox wouldn’t loan him, and maybe that’s a better thing in the long run, for Ty’s kind of glamour might have overpowered the rest of the ensemble and upset the balance among the cast of young players. You have to feel sorry for Ronald Reagan, Ann Sheridan, and Nancy Coleman. They’d never have parts this good again. Reagan used to run his 16mm print of King’s Row over and over again at home. Jane Wyman really got sick of it. Maybe that’s why she split. When I met Reagan back in 1975, I mentioned the title just because I knew it would make him pause and talk a little longer. It did. A lot of people will tell you they grew up in a real Peyton Place. Not me. I grew up in a real King’s Row. Check out this great movie --- maybe you did too.