The Clock, 1945

March 22nd, 1945 a perfect, gentle, graceful romance, full of hope and lots of love, premiered. Starring, the dashing Robert Walker as Corporal Joe Allen and the ever lovely Judy Garland as Alice Mayberry; along with the amazing, raspy-voiced James Gleason, as Al the milk-delivery man. Produced by Arthur Freed, directed by Vincente Minnelli and Fred Zinnemann (uncredited), with cinematography by George J. Folsey; Paul and Pauline Gallico were responsible for the story, with Robert Nathan and Joseph Schrank writing the screenplay.

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What I find attractive for repeat viewings is the delicacy with which Minnelli handles the scenes that Judy Garland is the focus of. He lovingly caresses her in each established shot, lingering over what may seem to some as insignificant, yet, revealing a deeper emotional texture to the film that otherwise would be lost. I am reminded of how Ingmar Bergman utilized similar framing for his leading ladies (often his current love interest) in most of his films, but especially with actresses Harriet Andersson and Bibi Andersson in his early films. All in all, the Clock is about love, and Minnelli and Zinnemann show their love of New York City, and attempt to demonstrate what adoration looks like in the eyes of the two lead characters. The Clock succeeds, and on several levels, evoking passion for the city we love, stimulating our zeal for true romance, provoking us to put forth the effort to rekindle our relationship with the one we love.

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Bits of trivia: The Clock along with Judgment at Nuremberg and A Child Is Waiting, are the only films that Judy Garland did not sing in. James Gleason’s (Al Henry) real-life wife Lucile Webster-Gleason portrayed the part of Mrs. Henry (the wife of milkman Al Henry). In the opening scene, Robert Walker gets his cigarette lit light by a fellow commuter played by producer Arthur Freed.

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