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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Apartment For Peggy (1948)



Reviews and Comments

This light, funny film about life and death has a certain charm. Had it been differently cast, it may well have failed, because the movie relies heavily on its charm, for that is what makes it all work.

The story is about a man who decides to commit suicide, because he feels his life has reached a natural endpoint, and it would be irresponsible for him to continue to consume food and air and be unable to contribute -- as it did when he was younger -- to human society.

The man is played by Edmund Gwenn, an actor with quantities of charisma so unbounded, he was a natural for the part of Santa Claus in Miracle On 34th Street. Had he been anyone else, his character's suicidal tendencies would have cast too much of an unappealing shadow for the part to work.

Jeanne Crain plays the young woman who moves into his attic with her new husband, and she becomes his inspiration, ultimately giving him a reason to live. Had Crain not been cast and turned in such a rejuvenating performance, it would likely be too hard to believe that such a person could trigger such a change.

But it all works out just fine. Brightening the movie's darker themes is a healthy sprinkling of humor and levity which blends in nicely to form an appetizing whole. A bit melodramatic in places -- the relationship between Crain's character and her husband wasn't as interesting as her relationship with Gwenn's, but this is only a marginal distraction.