The Great Sinner (1949)

  • This movie has an amazing cast. I’m going to be pissed if this is bad.
  • Gregory Peck playing a writer? Astounding!
  • Could the opening scene be any more melodramatic? Good God.
  • So…this is a flashback movie with a first-person narrative voiceover. Normally those make me roll my eyes, but since it’s Gregory Peck’s tale, I’ll give it a shot.
  • Oh, geez. Fedja (Peck) just abandoned the train to chase after a woman (Ava Gardner) who has barely said 3 sentences to him, who doesn’t do anything except play solitaire for hours & hours on end. Dumb.
  • Frank Morgan at the gambling table (after he has vacated the train Gregory put him on) is absolutely heartbreaking. Phenomenally acted by Mr. Oz.
  • There are some gorgeous close-up head shots of just Peck & just Gardner in this. Both of them are complete studs.
  • “You are irritatingly beautiful – and everything I reject.” — Gregory, to Ava.

Ha! What an outstanding line.

  • I hate to say it, but I don’t buy Walter Huston in the role of Ava’s father (General Ostrovsky). There’s something about the character that doesn’t quite seem real.
  • I love how the music that plays while Gregory is walking from Pitard’s funeral to the casino tells you exactly what he’s doing, even before he does it. That’s a lovely touch.
  • This is too fucking hard to watch. I have an immense urge to reach through the television screen & physically drag GP away from the gambling table.
  • What a goddamn fool. TAKE THE GODDAMN MONEY AND RUN, GREGORY!!! Jesus!
  • Ditch him, Pauline – he ain’t worth shit.
  • The dynamic between GP & Melvyn (Douglas, who plays Armand, the casino owner) in the “GP Tries to Win Back Everything Scene” at the poker table is outstanding. Because the two of them are of such a high caliber, and you know that, power-wise, the two of them can go toe-to-toe with each other – the fact that you can feel how defeated & much less powerful GP’s character is in that scene compared to Melvyn’s is pretty damn impressive. Kudos, Mr. Peck. You really are incredible.
  • The grandmother (Ethel Barrymore) coming & purposefully (?) losing all of her money is a nice plot addition.
  • Also, Ethel looks so much like her brother in that card-playing scene. She & LB are like two peas in a pod!
  • (Did the grandmother just die? I can’t really tell. More clarity please, filmmakers.)
  • Gregory is such a scoundrel in this. (It’s really nice work. But I guess that’s expected.)
  • Oh, Christ. This movie ends just as melodramatically as it began. The choir of voices & the exaggeratedly grand camera angles of GP in the cathedral? Too. Goddamn. Much.
  • I won’t lie, y’all – this one was a struggle to get through. I won’t be watching it again; though it was a fantastic performance by GP, the rest was way too over the top & hard to sit through. Ava Gardner was certainly gorgeous in this – but to be fair, there really wasn’t much substance to her role. There was potential, there for awhile – but as the movie moved along, her character’s grit kind of faded away into the background.
  • Oh well.

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