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WITHOUT LOVE: Blu-ray (MGM, 1945) Warner Archive

If anything, director, Harold S. Bucquet’s last movie, Without Love (1945) proves that a winning team isn’t enough to sustain a movie. Indeed, on their third outing together, Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn – by now, notoriously involved (Tracy was married) – struck a decidedly soft note in this failed oddity from playwright Philip Barry.  Bucquet died of cancer the following year, age 54, leaving his swan song a somewhat off-kilter reboot of Barry’s Broadway dud, also to have starred Hepburn, and, at least in the movie version, to provide some wonderful bits of business for comedians, Lucille Ball and Keenan Wynn. Otherwise, this one basically followed the plot of the stage show and, true to Barry’s literary finesse, did a lot more ‘telling’ than ‘showing’ which, proved to be both the show and the film’s Achilles’ Heel. Movies need to…well…move, and at almost every juncture, Without Love is instead contented to remain in place, indulging in long scenes of exposition, philosophica…

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