Only Yesterday Screen 4 articles

Only Yesterday

1933

Only Yesterday Poster
  • Irene Dunne, the first choice, was not available for Only Yesterday¸ and Laemmle hired a Broadway star, Margaret Sullavan, for her first film. She proved an astute choice, bringing a bright personality, with warmth and freshness.

  • Stahl’s skillful direction of actresses is evident in the piercing “Only Yesterday.” He cast the incandescent, husky-voiced Margaret Sullavan in her first film role.

  • John and Mary, on whose brief and passionate love affair this story is built, may be little more than crepe paper dolls, but the love between them is stronger than any diamond. Why, in spite of their vacuousness, does their story hold such sway over a captive audience? This is a melodrama’s not-so-secret ingredient: the ancient stuff of tragedy, introduced in the raw by Sophocles, is spit-shined and gussied up in modern film-craft, but the familiar feeling it elicits is as old as man himself.

  • Mary raises her child with much love, little fuss, and no expectation of Jim’s involvement. The movie’s melodrama arises, rather, from the furious power of love, which Stahl brings to the screen in flourishes of intimate rapture—especially in luminous and tremulous closeups of Sullavan that gain all the more romantic intensity from the overwhelming, turbulent crowd scenes that give rise to them.

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