So Well Remembered (1947)
Directed by Edward Dmytryk (Crossfire (1947)) with a screenplay by John Paxton (also Crossfire (1947)) that was based on the James Hilton novel (Mrs. Miniver (1942)) this drama provides Martha Scott with an opportunity to play a less than endearing character opposite John Mills who plays a rather idealistic liberal in an English mill town from after World War I through the end of World War II. The cast also includes Trevor Howard and Richard Carlson among others. Hilton is also the film’s narrator.
Scott plays Olivia Channing daughter of John (Frederick Leister) who’d been jailed for the scandalous way he’d exploited the workers at his mill and the apple didn’t fall very fall from the tree. After serving his time the blind Mr. Channing now lives with his daughter on the hilltop above the impoverished town of his ruin Mills plays George Boswell who’d grown up in the poverty and slums of said town but then finds himself a newspaper editor-councilman defending Olivia whom he’d yet to meet before the library board that had resigned itself to punishing the daughter for the sins of her father. Even though his chief concern is throughout the story the living conditions and housing of the poor George falls in love with Olivia whom he marries though their marriage is relatively brief an unhappy one exacerbated by the death of their young son from diphtheria. Olivia’s father was killed in an automobile accident during a rain storm shortly after George had proposed to her but before she’d accepted. Also injured in the crash was George’s best friend Dr. Richard Whiteside (Howard) who took to drinking after the incident.
During the Boswell’s short-lived marriage George briefly ran for Parliament encouraged by an ambitious Olivia and backed by a Channing-like industrialist named Trevor Mangin (Reginald Tate). But shortly before the election George learned that the report he’d been given by Mangin which said that the town’s slums were not nearly as squalid as the report Whiteside had given him (e.g. which had accurately predicted the diphtheria epidemic) was false so he’d resigned. This combined with the death of their child because Olivia had been too embarrassed to have him immunized at the public clinic effectively ended their marriage. During the epidemic Whiteside took on the responsibility of raising a newborn which he’d delivered shortly before its mother had also died. Together George without Olivia nor their child and childless-wifeless Whiteside the two men doted on and raised Julie Morgan (Patricia Roc) to 20 years of age. Mills’s own daughter Juliet appears uncredited as Young Julie in one short scene. Whiteside’s drinking subsides to a somewhat more manageable degree.
By the time World War II is underway councilman Boswell who’d become alderman Boswell is now Mayor Boswell who literally runs into Charles Winslow (Richard Carlson who with beard and mustache had played his own father earlier in the film). Winslow is a military officer who’s the son of Olivia and her second husband now deceased. Initially Winslow assumes the worst about George; he’d evidently been raised to believe that his mother’s ex-husband was the evil one instead of vice versa. When he learns otherwise Winslow and George become ‘friends’ and the latter even approves of the former’s budding relationship with Julie. But then Winslow must go off to serve in the war. Meanwhile Olivia had reopened the town’s Channing factory again exhibiting the same lack of care for the well-being of its workers as her father had. When Mayor George goes to speak with her about it she shows her true colors – she has no regard for the health of the workers whom she feels should be grateful for her actions. Both then learn of young Winslow’s injuries in battle; his face has been horribly scared (his mother does the rest).
But Julie still loves Winslow and finds work at his rehabilitation hospital. When Olivia finds out and learns of their relationship she manages to have him released into her care at their estate on the hill above the town. However George is able to intervene especially after he hears a revelation from Whiteside that Olivia had intentionally failed to prevent her own father’s death because he had been on his way to warn George about the troubling shortcomings in his own daughter. Julie and Winslow are able to marry against his mother’s wishes. Olivia learns of it during a final confrontation with George which occurs while cheers horns and other sounds of celebration are heard in the background – World War II has ended.