Fascinating as a social document, but also as vehicle for sudden-star Edmund Gwenn, who'd
lately scored as Santa, and so hauls bulk of Peggy narrative. She's
Jeanne Crain and point of sale for thepic despite Gwenn in
center spot. Crain had become unexpected Queen Of The Lot, to even Zanuck's
astonishment; he'd not built before an ingénue who'd rise so high as this.
There were limits to her as an actress, as Joe Mankiewicz loudly said when
Crain was forced on hisLetter To Three WivesandPeople Will Talk. The Peggy
part was tough to make likeable, she being a chatterbox and frank manipulator.
A drag to glamour was the character being pregnant for a first two-thirds, but
that might actually have helped, being as how many of Peggy's female audience
was similarly so during a postwar baby boom.
The film takes seriously issues of young
couples' housing, practical aspect of education vs. jobs that pay right now
(should ex-G.I. BillHolden attend college or sell used cars?). There
is also consideration of husbands "outgrowing" wives now that college
beckons, a touchy topic mirroring real-life patron concern. There isgeneration gap acknowledged between
Gwenn/teaching colleagues and back-from-combat youth to whom they owe America's
freedom, a debt of gratitude that kept a lid on serious conflict before
mid-50's focus on juve delinquency and breakdown of old/younger ties. College
exteriors were shot in snow, a happy aspect of locationing at the University OfNevada
in Reno. Writer/director
George Seaton had teamed with William Perlberg toward assembly of thoughtful
pics that were also reliable boxoffice, the team second only to Mankiewicz for
blending prestige and popular.