Saturday, February 4, 2012

Mrs. Winterbourne - 1996

I remember when this movie came out I'd heard it was a remake of a 1950 movie called "No Man Of Her Own".  I searched for it on video, but it was no where to be found.  I like to see an original when a remake comes out, but it didn't happen until today.  I was scanning the instant queue on Netflix and there it was, Barbara Stanwyck in all her black and white glory. 

It is a simple story.  A girl in trouble and you know what kind of trouble I mean.  The kind no "good girl" gets into.  She is desperate and ends up on a train.  Her destination is unknown and she doesn't even have money to eat.  Then a kindly young couple befriend her.  The wife spills her story of love and even lets the wretched girl try on her engraved wedding ring. 

BIG MISTAKE!  That is bad luck by the way.  You know why?  It causes deadly train wrecks!

Next thing she know she is waking up in a hospital, her illegitimate child has been born and she has nowhere to go.   Days of drugs and recovery follow.   Just when she is trying to skip out on the hospital bill, she is captured by the new family.

The original is very film noir.  There is voiceover and we hear Barbara Stanwyck's bad thoughts.  The 1996 version is full on romantic comedy. 

It has a good cast of characters. 

Ricki Lake is Connie.  She is a little white trash, but has good intentions. 

Shirley MacLaine is Grace, the mother-in-law who accepts her without questions.

There is Paco, the Cuban butler.  He suspects Connie's fraud, but sees how happy his mistress is and doesn't blow her cover.

Then there is Brendan Fraser. 

He plays twins, Hugh and Bill.  Hugh is the unfortunate guy who dies along with his expectant wife in the train wreck.  Bill is the brother that stayed behind to take care of the family business. 

Brendan Fraser gave my true love John Cusack a run for his money for a couple of years, and this movie played a part in that.  But Brendan never held the boom box over his head or kicked glass out of the way on the side walk.  He may be cute and a good actor but John never did this.

But "Mrs. Winterbourne" is a sweet romantic comedy.  A little far fetched.  There is a murder that gets wrapped up ever so neatly.  No one gets in trouble for stolen identities and they all live happily ever after.

In "No Man Of Her Own" there is a nice little wrap up too.  But they do a lot more bad things.  Barbara plans to actually murder the jerk who knocked her up and kicked her to the curb.  She chooses to lie to the family and reads old letters to help.  She even gets her new man to dispose of a body. 

Both are good movies.   Just depends on your mood, pure comedy or film noir. 

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