Saratoga Trunk (1945)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Saratoga Trunk</strong> (1945)

(On Cable TV, February 2019) There are, even today, many reasons to see Saratoga Trunk. The best is probably seeing Ingrid Bergman at her most radiant, and playing opposite Gary Cooper. Otherwise, it can be fun to follow the plot of the story (adapted from a then-best-selling novel) as it moves from New Orleans revenge to Saratoga Springs husband hunting to transcontinental railroad brawling and such. There’s a lot of material crammed in the film’s 135 minutes running time. The production values of the film are high, with plenty of overwrought costume drama. (Flora Robson is a highlight.) It’s clearly from another era—never mind the blackface for one of the performers, how about the radically different social expectations for women? This being said, you can like melodramatic 1940s Hollywood productions without necessarily being entirely convinced by them: there’s a sumptuous nature to some of Saratoga Trunk’s sequences that’s pure Golden Age, and there are few better exemplars than Bergman and Cooper at it.

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