Monday, May 27, 2013

Deep Valley (1947)


In Dee Valley Ida Lupino plays a young girl named Libby Saul. Libby lives out in the middle of nowhere in a valley no one wants to buy. Her mother claims to be sick and stays upstairs so she will not have to speak to her husband. Libby’s father stays downstairs and works the farm. She has a stammer and her parents are always criticizing her asking why she cannot talk like a normal person. Libby did not always stammer. When she was younger she saw her father hit her mother. Her father and mother have not been in the same room together for seven years.
            To get away from her parents and the farm Libby likes to go out into the woods where it is quiet. She goes down to the edge of a cliff by the water and watches the construction work that is going on. Some of the men working the site comment that Libby has been following and watching them for the last four miles.  Some of the men working on the site are criminals. Libby likes one of the criminals a guy named Barry (Dane Clark).
            Some nights during the week her father has an officer named Barker come over for dinner. Libby’s mother pushes her to be sociable with the officer. She finds out that the criminal she likes is being put back in jail for another five years instead of two because he hit an officer on the work site. Barker likes Libby. He asks her out but she becomes afraid and runs away into another room. Her father yells at her, she talks back, and he hits her. Her mother calls for her. Libby has had enough. Before she goes upstairs to her mother she puts her raincoat on to leave. Libby tells her mother that she is leaving for good.
            That night there is a torrential downpour. The work site turns into a gigantic mudslide. Several of the officers and prisoners have been killed. Since Barry had struck an officer he was put into a small shack while he waited to be brought back to the jail. The next morning Barry cannot be found. The police begin an intensive search for him.
            Libby finds a house in the woods that no one is occupying. She takes a swim in the lake. Barry, on the run from the law, has also found the house. He can see Libby swimming. They are a little wary of each other. Barry thinks Libby will run away and tell the police where he is. She reassures him that she is running away from home she will not tell on him. Barry tells Libby he was sent to prison after he had gotten into a brawl with someone. He does not know if the person is alive or dead. They talk about running away together somewhere where no one will find them. They talk about getting jobs and building their lives together. Barry says if they are to start a new life together he needs new clothes he is still in his prison clothes. Libby agrees to go back home to find some food and to grab a pair of her father’s clothes for him.
            Unfortunately Libby does not get to Barry right away. When she gets home that night she finds her mother has come downstairs and has cooked dinner for her and the father. Libby learns from her father that Barker has put together a posse to go looking for Barry.
            The posse finds Barry in the house in the woods. Fortunately he is able to escape and he makes his way to Libby’s house. Libby keeps Barry on the second floor of the barn where no one will see him. They plan to get away just as soon as everything settles down.
            Of course things do not go as planned for poor Libby and Barry.

            The story of Deep Valley is quite boring the acting by Ida Lupino and Dane Clark make up for it. They were both excellent. I have yet to see Lupino act poorly in a film. She was thirty years old at the time she made this film and Libby was supposed to be twenty-two. Lupino looked like she could have been twenty-two she looked fantastic. She was completely believable in the role. Dane Clark was very good. I do not believe I have ever seen him in a film before, I would not mind seeing him again. Deep Valley is a film I only suggest seeing for the acting by the entire cast because the story is weak. It is worth seeing at least once.