Movie Diary 6/11/2018

The Root of All Evil (Brock Williams, 1947). Spoiler alert: it’s money. Impoverished but happy farmer’s daughter Phyllis Calvert (spirited performance) looks forward to marrying her wealthy beau, but his greedy father nixes the marriage. The jilted lover vows to take revenge, which she does in Mildred Pierce fashion, by opening up a shop and driving her enemies out of business. Then she meets oil speculator Michael Rennie, who supplies another way to make money. I was enjoying Calvert’s rise to power and ruthless domination of her enemies, but then the movie has to remind us that the homely virtues of the soil, and the smug corncrib wisdom of farmhand John McCallum (from It Never Rains on Sunday), are probably nobler after all. A Gainsborough Picture.

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