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Stanwyck and Niven in the Alps

  • Mar 31, 2013
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Barbara Stanwyck stars as Karen, a famous concert pianist, who is sent to a picturesque Swiss sanitarium for a lengthy stay.  She's suffering from TB and the prognosis isn't good, but her doctor (David Niven) takes a special interest in her case.  Karen tires of endless bed rest, however, and falls for a smooth-talking race car driver (Richard Conte).

This is a wonderful movie, very much a product of its time.  Glamour is everything, as the sanitarium guests dine in gowns and tuxedos while taking long, smoldering drags on their cigarettes.  Stanwyck's wardrobe was designed by Edith Head and she looks gorgeous.  Niven is a dreamy doctor while Conte is a bit off-putting as the driver on the make.

 It's all very pretty and Stanwyck only coughs when the music swells, very Camille-like.  It's obvious that they completely changed the ending, but that's a minor quibble with such a sumptuous, romantic story as this.  Recommended if you like movies the way they used to be.

Stanwyck and Niven in the Alps

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Barbara Stanwyck headlines this romantic tearjerker as a free-spirited concert pianist dying of tuberculosis.

She checks into a posh Alpine sanitarium and there falls in love with her suave and gentle doctor (David Niven). The poor physician has his hands full trying to keep the energetic Stanwyck quiet so her body can rest.

She tries, but when the fellow patient she befriended dies, she becomes afraid of her own death and flees to have a crazy affair with a race car driver.

Together they tear across Europe until she becomes weak and must return to the sanitarium for the tragic conclusion. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi
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