OUR TOWN (1940) 

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William Holden
Martha Scott
Fay Bainter
Beulah Bondi
Thomas Mitchell
Guy Kibbee
Stuart Erwin
Frank Craven
Doro Merande

Sam Wood



Time: 90 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Drama

Academy Award nominations for Best Actress (Scott), Art Direction, Score, Sound and Best Picture.

BOTTOM LINE: OUR TOWN may be a terribly old-fashioned film, but the story is still an enduring and powerful look at the simple joys and tragedies of everyday life. The trials and tribulations of a young couple, Emily (Scott) and George (Holden), unfold from the first blush of love through marriage and the beginnings of a family with honesty, humor and some trepidation. Though the story takes place in the beginning of the 20th century in a small, rural community, their thoughts and fears are ones we can all relate to because they encompass the rites of passage every human being faces. Since the era is uncomplicated, the truth of what they're feeling shines through every gesture and line of dialogue. As desperate as they are to grow up, once they reach adulthood the enormity of those life decisions are almost more than they can bear and they wish, like all of us, to be able to stay young and carefree.

Since OUR TOWN is a slice of life, as time moves on, our young couple experiences sorrow and pain as loved ones pass on and the rosy glasses of youth are replaced with the practical vision of maturity. A difficult childbirth for Emily gives her a new appreciation for the fragility of life. Her dream/journey(?) into the afterlife is a touching tribute to humanity while showcasing how little we appreciate the quiet, everyday moments of our time on Earth. Scott's performance in this sequence is heartbreaking as Emily tries to reconcile the fact that her life may be over. It's a perfectly measured performance filled with fear, regret, joy and sorrow. Though clearly a film about appreciating life, OUR TOWN never hits you over the head with its' message because it doesn't have to. Life speaks for itself. A lovely, poignant, entertaining tale that will make you happy you're still alive to enjoy it.

"I never felt so alone in my life. Why can't I stay for a while just as I am? I don't want to get married."

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