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by Becky Tan

Harry Pulham (Robert Young) is a successful businessman in Boston, and married to Kay (Ruth Hussey). His Harvard graduating class will celebrate its 25th anniversary and Harry has been asked to put together short summaries of the lives of his classmates, as well as his own. Suddenly memories of the past become vivid: his work at an advertising agency in New York City, Greenwich Village, World War I, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prohibition, the first League of Nations and his return to Boston after the death of his father. By chance he runs into Marvin Myles (Hedy Lamarr), with whom he had had an affair while in NYC. Naturally, she has retained her glamour, and is as modern and unrestrained as she was during their relationship. He begins to doubt his present lifestyle. Perhaps he made the wrong decision. Is this perhaps an opportunity to reverse the situation and accept a beckoning future?

King Vidor made this film in 1941, based on a book by John P. Marquand. It showed at the Berlinale in the Retrospective Section, which featured 33 Vidor films, from 1918-1959. Carlo Chatrian, cultural director of the Berlinale, personally introduced the film to the audience. Why was Vidor new to me?. Both of us Americans, he was born 47 years before me, but he was still making films, when I was a teenager. This one film was so amazing in photography, plot development, and acting. Introducing King Vidor’s films to an appreciative audience was one of the best decisions that Chatrian made during his takeover this year.