Sleep, My Love: The Perils of Being a Hollywood Actress

April 20, 2015 5:57 PM

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I'm guessing if you recognize any of these stories, it is likely to be the last one. It was a movie called Sleep, My Love, made in 1948 by director Douglas Sirk. Sirk, who had come from Germany at the dawn of World War II, was still relatively new to Hollywood, but he would soon become a leading director of female-based melodrama. The movies he directed throughout the 1950s, culminating with Imitation of Life (1959) would eventually come to be recognized as among the most polished and significant films of their generation. Sleep, My Love revealed his career-long interest in put-upon women, though unlike his later movies, it was couched in the language of film noir.

The movie is pretty good. Rather preposterous in places, but still involving. It stars Claudette Colbert as the tormented wife, and she is a little too hysterical for my tastes. It also has Robert Cummings as her ultimate savior, a role the mild-mannered, comically-oriented Cummings was not the best...

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