Monday, May 27, 2013

Decoration Day

George Cukor's The Marrying Kind -- one of the dearest American movies of the 1950s -- loves public space. The married couple, played by Judy Holliday and Aldo Ray, are almost never alone. They met in Central Park, adore their kids, have company over non-stop, and basically let friends and relatives run their lives. The husband and wife are just fine with that. In New York City 1952, others are not mere externals to be sniffed at. Beside its beautiful ending, its most memorable scene (set on Decoration Day) is one of the most peaceful -- and then terrifying -- in 50s cinema, Cukor signaling the upcoming horror by the panicked running of others.

And it breaks the marriage in two.