The Shining Hour

Produced by Joseph L Mankiewicz, this is a stylish soap with Crawford as a night-club dancer, of some notoriety but yearning for respectability, who lets herself be persuaded to marry a gentleman farmer from Wisconsin (Douglas). But at the home farm - a stately mansion - she is met with implacable hostility from the groom's matriarchal older sister (Bainter), and similar hostility that turns to desire from his younger brother (Young); only Young's devoted wife (Sullavan) welcomes her unreservedly. Uneasily aware that she is tempted by Young, Crawford begs Douglas to take her away, only to be stymied by Sullavan's willingness to sacrifice herself if her husband can find happiness in his new love. So far, so good, with a sharpish script (Ogden Nash contributed) that makes good use of the casting (Crawford's disillusioned cynicism versus Sullavan's naive romanticism) to make incisive points about the many-splendoured aspects of love. Latterly, alas, the film nosedives into silly melodrama, with Bainter running mad to commit arson, Crawford saving the self-immolating Sullavan, and all the problems coming out Persil-white in the wash. Recognisable, with all faults, as a Borzage film.

Release details

Duration: 80 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Frank Borzage
Screenwriter: Ogden Nash, Jane Murfin
Cast: Joan Crawford
Margaret Sullavan
Robert Young
Melvyn Douglas
Fay Bainter
Allyn Joslyn
Hattie McDaniel
Frank Albertson
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