Released in 1943, Twentieth Century-Fox’s Claudia told the story of a young wife (Dorothy McGuire) struggling to adapt to country life with her husband (Robert Young). Desperate to move back into the city to be closer to her mother, Claudia found her life becoming even more complicated upon learning that she was going to become a mother herself.
Three years later, a sequel followed. Claudia and David picks up the couple’s story a few years after the events of the first film. Claudia’s mother has passed away, and their son is about four years old. Living in rural Connecticut with her architect husband, Claudia deals with the ups and downs of being a wife and mother, from childhood illnesses to martial jealousies.
Claudia and David was directed by Walter Lang.
I had never seen the original Claudia prior to watching Claudia and David. In fact, when Hulu suggested the film to me, I didn’t even realize that it was a sequel! I decided to give it a watch anyway, hoping that it would work well as a stand-alone film.
Perhaps Claudia and David does work best when paired with its predecessor. While there are a few positive aspects to the film, it isn’t entirely successful in engaging the viewer’s attention or emotions.
There are a few interesting scenes and plot points. Early on, a “seance” is held — one of the film’s more atmospheric scenes. Later, Claudia has a confrontation with the ailing wife of one of her male friends, which has a higher sense of drama than the rest of the film. And, there’s a tragic shift of mood near the end of the film after an accident occurs.
Unfortunately, aside from these few scenes, Claudia and David just didn’t grab me. I desperately wanted to like the film as I’m a fan of many of its players. Our two stars, Dorothy McGuire and Robert Young, even appeared together in one of my favorite sentimental dramas, The Enchanted Cottage (1945). Young in particular is a very charismatic actor, and he’s become an underrated favorite of mine over the past year or so.
Competent performances are given by all, but the film suffers due to its script. Slowly paced and lacking any clever twists or dialogue, the actors can only do so much to inject life into this story. A whole five minutes or so in the opening are dedicated to an extended, unfunny “joke” about how Claudia is a bad driver (because she’s a woman, the film implies). There is no central conflict, but instead several minor conflicts, none of which the viewer is given much reason to care about.
Despite its likable cast, Claudia and David is a film that just drags on, made particularly tedious by the petty jealousy between its two namesake characters. Things improve slightly with that final plot twist, but I’d still say this is one to skip. The score: 1/5