The Country Girl Movie Review

Musical dramas are rarities, but this theatrical melodrama succeeds better than perhaps it ought to, thanks to its three stellar stars.

Bing Crosby plays Frank Elgin, a washed-up actor who's since bottomed out as a severe alcoholic. His wife (Grace Kelly) spends day and night caring for him, and she's gone to seed because of it. Along comes Bernie Dodd (William Holden), a director who's willing to give Frank a shot at a comeback if he sobers up for the big show... but there are obstacles in the way and skeletons galore in the closets.

The film (based on an actual play itself) is named for Kelly's character, who refers to herself as a simple country girl but who clearly contains far more wisdom and street smarts than she's willing to let on. Kelly won a Best Actress Oscar for her work here, and while the performance is understated, it's an interesting departure for Kelly to take up such an unglamourous role and make it her own. Crosby's songs here understandably lack the glee of his better known roles or his Road to films with Bob Hope. If you enjoy Crosby as a crooner instead of a showman, this is your movie.

George Seaton's (Miracle on 34th Street) direction is typical for the era, but the story's darkness is far from it. Will the new show -- an Oklahoma! style play that stands in stark contrast to the rest of the film -- be a hit despite the troubles? Seaton shrewdly keeps it a secret all the way to the end.


The Country Girl Rating

" Good "

Rating: NR, 1954


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