Saturday, February 12, 2011

Claudette Colbert in "Private Worlds"

Claudette Colbert received her second Oscar nomination for playing Dr. Jane Everest in Private Worlds.

Private Worlds is certainly an interesting film for the the early era. The straight forward story of misogyny and mental illness in a psychiatric hospital. The amazing thing about the film is that it doesn't feel dated - it really does feel modern handling it's subject material. A female doctor is subjected to sexism when a new supervisor feels a woman shouldn't have anything to do in the medical profession.

Claudette Colbert plays Dr. Jane Everest, a determined, workaholic who is very shocked at the concern her new supervisor has for her. The role is terribly simple, but Colbert was able to add the much needed details and life to the character of Jane. We eventually realize why Jane throws herself into her work so much - she was in love with a man who has died. She's a modern woman in a man's world, and no one understands that. Most even criticize her for not being a housewife and mother.

Colbert is able to overcome the melodrama of her material as well - even though everyone gets to experiment with mental subplots, Claudette Colbert manages to come across as the most believable with her "tough" woman role. It only bogs down at the end when that horrible plot twist comes into play, and it's become obvious why the film is largely forgotten. What was promising soon becomes awful, and Colbert can't really save that. It's the early stuff that she is really terrific in. Successfully overcoming is a hard challenge, especially during this era, but Claudette Colbert was able to do just that.


joe burns said...

Great review!

What are your current Oscar predictions, by the way ?

Sage Slowdive said...

Probably the same as everyone else's predictions :)