All My Sons (1948) – full review!

All My Sons (1948) – full review!

Producer Chester Erskine wrote the screenplay for this Arthur Miller play about a son that discovers his financially successful father isn’t all that he seems to be; Irving Reis directed. Burt Lancaster plays the son Chris Keller Edward G. Robinson plays his factory owner father Joe (“if you want to know ask Joe”). Mady Christians plays Joe’s wife Kate Louisa Horton plays Chris’s fiancée Ann Deever who had been Chris’s brother Larry’s fiancée but Larry was killed in World War II even though his mother is in denial about this fact.

This compelling drama doesn’t really begin until Ann’s brother George (Howard Duff) comes to town with accusations that his father Herbert is taking the rap for Joe’s malfeasance during the war when defective cylinders were knowingly shipped from the Keller factory to be used in the war effort. The cylinders were then installed in airplanes thirty-one of which crashed killing their crews. Though Joe was exonerated Herbert was convicted and sentenced to a prison term. Joe assumes that everyone in his community has accepted him back into their graces but some know better with regards to who was responsible for the tragedies. Joe’s neighbors include a doctor (Lloyd Gough) and his nurse wife (Arlene Francis) as well as a stockbroker (Harry aka Henry Morgan) his wife (Elisabeth Fraser) and their three kids.

Though hot-headed George is initially calmed down and soothed by Kate Ann and the others including Joe who helps the young man remember how forgetful his father had always been the past incident rises back to the surface and things won’t stay how they have always been. George drives a wedge between Ann and Chris who decides that he must find out what really happen so he visits Herbert (Frank Conroy) in prison. With the truth he returns to confront his father but it isn’t until Ann provides him with a letter from Larry which reveals yet another startling tragedy that Joe takes responsibility for his past actions in a climactic way.

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