Judge Jesse Ataide now knows what Sean Connery was doing before he became Bond, James Bond. He was playing Lana Turner's boy toy!
"It's crazy, isn't it? You spend your whole life looking for love in all the proper places, among all the proper people. And then there's a war and you find what you're looking for…swimming around in the ocean! "—Sara Scott (Lana Turner)
With apologies to any Lana Turner groupies out there, the main draw to Another Time, Another Place is, no doubt, the appearance of young Scottish stud Sean Connery. Four years before he would burst to international attention and become one's of cinema's greatest heartthrobs as James Bond in such classics as Dr. No and From Russia With Love, he played second fiddle to Lana Turner in the role as the expendable young man. Just goes to show that everyone's got to start somewhere.
Facts of the Case
The highly melodramatic story that makes up Another Time, Another Place goes a little something like this: while covering the same dramatic events in London during WWII, war correspondents Sara Scott (Turner) and Mark Trevor (Connery) fall in love. But just before Sara is about to break the news of her relationship to her boss and fiancée (Barry Sullivan, Queen Bee) back in New York, Mark has a shocking confession—he has a wife and child back home who are waiting for him to return when the war ends.
By a surprising series of events that nobody foresees, Sara is brought into contact with Mark's devoted young wife (Glynis Johns, Mary Poppins) and son (Martin Stephens, The Innocents), which leads to an uneasy friendship that ends with an inevitable confrontation, with all the histrionics one would expect between two women in love with the same man.
What's interesting about Another Time, Another Place is that it's at its weakest during the first 35 minutes, when Connery's character plays a central role. It's not that his famous voice lacks that cocky edge that would make him an icon, or that he's rather stiff in a one-note role—it's just that he functions merely as a plot contrivance meant to get the story to its more interesting later parts. Turner and Connery spend the first third of the film caught in each other's arms, hurtling embarrassingly florid musings on life and love at each other. To make matters worse there's very little chemistry between the two actors, for even though she was still attractive and the epitome of Hollywood glamour at the age of 37, Turner had already moved on to motherly roles by this point in her career. As a result, the love scenes in Another Time, Another Place lack any real passion or fire: they're just two attractive actors going through the motions of expected Hollywood clichés.
Turner fares much better with Johns, the underrated British actress best known as suffragette crusader Winifred Banks in Mary Poppins, but most loved as a light comedienne in a number of British comedies from the 1950s. But here she shines as the plain, hard-working wife who was left behind to protect her son from the bomb raids of London, and she promptly steals the film from both Turner and Connery. She has a warmth and vulnerability that stands in stark contrast to Turner and Connery's movie star posing, pushing the rather contrived story into rather unexpected emotional territory that the film only benefits from. It's a shame that Johns never became a bigger star—but Another Time, Another Place proves that she always managed to make a vivid impression on audiences, even when relegated to supporting roles.
It's startling how wonderful Another Time, Another Place looks—Paramount has really done an outstanding job in presenting this basically unknown little film. Aside from some occasional scratches and other minor image defects, the black and white photography is positively luminous.
Unfortunately, the same can't be said of the film's flat two-channel mono (augmented with English subtitles), and there are no extras to speak of—not even a theatrical trailer. Not that the film deserved anything particular special as a bonus, but it has gotten to the point now where the lack of a trailer or two in new DVD releases is rather jarring.
Another Time, Another Place catches Sean Connery right before superstardom and Lana Turner between her performances in two of her greatest films, the underappreciated Peyton Place and Douglas Sirk's remake of Imitation of Life. But the real reason to watch this film is to catch a glimpse of Glynis Johns—a star who should have been.
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