All My Sons: Arthur Miller Play on Big Screen with Edward G. Robinson and Burt Lancaster

Based on Arthur Miller’s famous play, All My Sons is a semi-effective dramatic transfer to the big screen with an all-star cast.

Edward G. Robinson is well cast as Joe Keller, a manufacturer of parts for World War II airplanes who lives a good life in a small town. But his idyll is shattered by the arrival of Kate Keller (Mady Christians), the fiancée of the manufacturer’s oldest son, who is missing in action.

The younger son, Chris (played by Burt Lancaster, who may be miscast), falls in love with the girl, but her own brother is against the relationship. He holds that as a manufacturer, the father delivered defective parts to the forces.

Chris begins an investigation, which includes a visit to jail, where his father’s former partner is incarcerated. To his dismay, he discovers the awful truth, that his father’s corrupt actions were responsible for both the partner’s imprisonment and the deaths of many pilots.

Scripted by Chester Erskine, the moralistic tale ends with a bitter and tragic confrontation between father and son. Under Irving Reis’ heavy-handed helming, this is a too literal, explicitly message movie about personal duty and political responsibility.

“All My Sons” benefits from Robinson’s intense performance, but ultimately it still feels like a play.

Unlike screen versions of Tennessee Williams’ plays, for some reason, those movies based on Miller’s works, are not very effective, though the script that he wrote for John Huston’s “The Misfits,” starring Marilyn Monroe, resulted in a good film.