|8:15 p.m.||The Enchanted Cottage|
John Cromwell (U.S., 1945)
An embittered war veteran with a mangled face, Oliver (Robert Young), retreats to a secluded cottage where he can nurse his wounds and his anger at the world; there he meets another “ugly” outcast—his homely housemaid, Laura (Dorothy McGuire). Over time, these two “monsters” come to love each other, and as they do, become blind to their respective physical deformities, each seeing the other through the filter of a truer, deeper, if more subjective perception. In a rapturous, shared voice-over, Oliver and Laura describe for their (fittingly) blind friend Herbert Marshall their mutual metamorphosis from disfigurement to beauty since their wedding day. The inner vision so radiantly co-voiced cannot be foiled by an image that is ultimately denounced by this film as a meaningless, objectifying surface. That the hunky Young and lovely McGuire are proffered throughout as human blemishes in the Quasimodo vein just adds to the delicious layering of paradox that fuels this uncanny, little-known masterpiece.
• Written by DeWitt Bodeen, Herman J. Mankiewicz, based on the play by Sir Arthur Pinero. Photographed by Ted Tetzlaff. With Dorothy McGuire, Robert Young, Herbert Marshall, Mildred Natwick. (92 mins, B&W, 35mm, From Warner Bros.)