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SUSAN HAYWARD AND DANA ANDREWS STIR 'MY FOOLISH HEART'

Title: MY FOOLISH HEART Year: 1949 Rating: ***
J.D. Salinger's short story "Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut" was adapted, to his chagrin, and with Dana Andrews discussing the titular rabbit getting into and out of trouble, it's contrived, cinematic symbolism for Susan Hayward, flashing back and forth from pre-War to post-War... a glib lush unhappily married to Kent Smith (hanging with her best friend and dealing with an introverted daughter) in the present while reminiscing about the nostalgic affair with Andrews...

The best scenes occur before the before the war; that is, when Dana's dapper, handsome stranger meets our insecure college girl at a dance, defends her against a bullying deb, takes her home for a drink, and later gets her thrown out of college for kissing in the dorm elevator. And just as their romance gets interesting, the next scene Dana's wearing a baggy military uniform, about to fly overseas but before that, to meet her parents...

Robert Keith, Dana Andrews and Susan Hayward
In this, Robert Keith plays her perfect father and his would-be perfect father-in-law (two years later he'd be Dana's laidback dad in I WANT YOU); he's the most memorable of an otherwise talented cast in an uneven yet semi-entertaining, time-filling tale of two doomed relationships thrust upon the same put-upon ingenue...

And it's directed by RKO Pictures horror/thriller producer Val Lewton's student Mark Robson — as the previous Andrews/Hayward collaboration is the box office hit Western CANYON PASSAGE, with another Lewton vet at the helm, Jacques Tourneur (who'd direct Dana in two more films); and Tourneur (most likely) would have done a far better, darker, deeper job here. Either way, MY FOOLISH HEART is the reason Salinger's CATCHER IN THE RYE never made it on the screen. Which might just be a blessing in disguise.
Robert Keith, Dana Andrews and Susan Hayward in MY FOOLISH HEART
Robert Keith, Dana Andrews in MY FOOLISH HEART
Dana Andrews and Susan Hayward in MY FOOLISH HEART
Robert Keith, Susan Hayward in MY FOOLISH HEART
Dana Andrews in MY FOOLISH HEART
Dana Andrews and Susan Hayward in MY FOOLISH HEART
Dana Andrews and Susan Hayward in MY FOOLISH HEART
Dana Andrews and Susan Hayward in MY FOOLISH HEART
Dana Andrews and Susan Hayward in MY FOOLISH HEART
Dana Andrews and Susan Hayward in MY FOOLISH HEART
Dana Andrews and Susan Hayward in MY FOOLISH HEART
Dana Andrews and Susan Hayward in MY FOOLISH HEART
Dana Andrews and Susan Hayward in MY FOOLISH HEART
Dana Andrews and Susan Hayward in MY FOOLISH HEART
Dana Andrews and Susan Hayward in MY FOOLISH HEART
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