Reputedly 'discovered' by Paul Eluard in a suitably aleatory fashion by following a woman into the Paris cinema at which it was playing, this adaptation of George du Maurier's novel was hailed by André Breton and other Surrealists as the cinematic embodiment of their magnificent obsession with l'amour fou - the love that transcends all known obstacles. In fact it is a gentler and more romantic channelling of the libidinal surges of L'Age d'Or. A young architect, played with understated intensity by Cooper, meets in adult life his lost childhood love, and is subsequently falsely imprisoned for the murder of her husband. Undeterred by physical separation, the couple continue to meet in their own world, preserved in their youth, until the lasting reunion of death. The film's boldness and continuing appeal lie in its unhesitating and exultant acceptance of the primacy of love, and in its seamless transitions between the worlds of reality and dream.
Cast and crew
Waldemar Young, Vincent Lawrence
John Halliday Dickie Moore Ida Lupino Ann Harding Virginia Weidler Gary Cooper Douglas Dumbrille