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Movie Review: The Enchanted Cottage

Updated on August 10, 2013

The Enchanted Cottage is probably one of the best black and white movies you've never seen. Set in 1942 and released in 1945, the film uses the backdrop of WWII to set the stage for a fairy-tale-like story of two ugly ducklings who find love. Even if you don't like fantasy movies, you'll probably like this one. And if you like romantic movies, this is one you won't want to miss.

The beautiful Dorothy McGuire (Gentleman's Agreement, Claudia) plays Laura Pennington, who's considered homely by just about everyone. It's a testament to McGuire's acting skills (with a little credit thrown in for the make-up man) that she pulls off being so unattractive. And speaking of the make-up man, he worked overtime turning Robert Young's (Father Knows Best, Marcus Welby, M.D.) Oliver Bradford into a character who could have been right at home in an episode of The Twilight Zone.

What makes this film so special is its power to evoke emotion. If you've ever been on the outside of anything, you'll feel a kindred spirit with Laura Pennington as she sits in the war-time canteen while everyone dances but her. The same holds true for Oliver Bradford's struggle with his war injury and resulting disfigurement. Young makes you understand just how frustrated his character must be.

The two unfortunates are joined by Herbert Marshall as blind composer and piano player Major John Hillgrove. It's through his metaphorical eyes that we're given clues on how to view the film, and maybe even life itself. When his character explains how he only truly learned to see after he lost his actual sight, you begin to understand the depth of the story.

The Enchanted Cottage
The Enchanted Cottage

Hillgrove's blindness isn't the only reference to sight in the movie. In fact, the idea that sight is relative is at the heart of the story. Although they retain their physical sight, Oliver and Laura begin to see each other through new eyes, which is a revelation for both of them. This new vision -- created by love -- is then challenged by the outside world. Oliver and Laura almost succumb to other people's vision of them, but in the end, they decide the only view of life that matters to them is their own.

This movie has not been released on DVD, but it's available on VHS from Amazon.com. Also, occasionally American Movie Classics (AMC) plays it, along with an introductory conversation by Robert Osborn and Whoopi Goldberg. Also, if your cable system has On Demand, you might be able to find the movie there. There are also sites where you can watch movies online that occasionally offer it. A surprising number of them even offer free movies!

Please scroll to the bottom of this page to see more information about The Enchanted Cottage from the Internet Movie Database.

Cast

Click the links below to see more information about cast members.

Dorothy McGuire Laura Pennington

Robert Young Oliver Bradford

Herbert Marshall Major John Hillgrove

Mildred Natwick Mrs. Abigail Minnett

Spring Byington Violet Price

Hillary Brooke Beatrice Alexander

Richard Gaines Frederick "Freddy" Price

Alec Englander Danny "Taxi" Stanton

Robert Clarke Marine Corporal

Eden Nicholas Soldier

Click here for more information on The Enchanted Cottage from the Internet Movie Database.

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    • WordPlay profile imageAUTHOR

      Carla Chadwick 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, JHarris! Actually, I think it is available on DVD now.

    • jharris0805 profile image

      jharris0805 

      8 years ago from Hodgenville, KY

      Your blog makes me really want to see this movie. It is very interesting. I just wish the movie would become available on dvd :(

    • WordPlay profile imageAUTHOR

      Carla Chadwick 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Sugarburn. I appreciate your kind words about the review. :-)

      It's nice to meet yet another person who loves this movie!

    • profile image

      Sugarburn 

      8 years ago

      I saw this years and years ago as a child and it was the most beautiful movie I'd ever seen. It touched me very deeply, and I've never forgotten it. I had no idea what it was called and my first vague search tonight brought me to your wonderful review and I love it! Thank you so much.

    • WordPlay profile imageAUTHOR

      Carla Chadwick 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for your comment, Kpb38. I'm glad you want to share this movie with your kids. It would be interesting to see if its message translates well to a new generation or if they would see it as corny.

    • Kpb38 profile image

      Kpb38 

      9 years ago from The Great Northwest

      I HAVE seen this movie! And your review really did it justice. I miss the true romance of older movies. This movie showed love in its best form -- accepting. Thanks for your great review -- it makes me want to share this movie with my kids.

    • profile image

      Rey Marz 

      10 years ago

      What a wonderful movie review! I'm not really a fan of romance films, but I do like a lot of old movies, like Sergeant York and the Big Sleep. And this one sounds interesting! And so very relevant to today's issues. (Plus, thanks for the AMC link; I'm bookmarking that one!)

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