Clash by Night

We found this on TCM as one of the Barbara Stanwyck films during Summer Under the Stars.   As we are fans of both Stanwyck and film noir, this looked like a great find.  The movie is based on a play by Clifford Odets, the cast is really good (Stanwyck, Robert Ryan, Paul Douglas and a very young Marilyn Monroe in her first “above the title” role) and was directed by Fritz Lang — what could possibly go wrong?   The premise: Mae Doyle (Stanwyck) returns home rather ignominiously after a 10 year absence, moves in with her brother Joe and his girlfriend Peggy (Monroe), dates and eventually marries good-hearted fisherman Jerry (Paul Douglas),   Although Mae and Jerry have a baby, she becomes bored and begins a dalliance with Earl (Robert Ryan), a real cad.  Poor Jerry learns of the affair and leaves Mae taking their baby with him.  When Mae learns that she must choose to leave with Earl or stay with Jerry and their baby, she chooses kindness over the cad.  While this should have been terrific, it’s predictable and frankly, only Douglas and Monroe held our interest with their characters.  Sadly, we give this a Not At All.

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