In Our Time (1944): Sherman’s Agit-Prop, Starring Ida Lupino and Paul Henreid

Set in the days leading up to World War II, In Our Time is an agit-prop movie directed by Vincent Sherman, and starring Ida Lupino and Paul Henreid.

Grade: C+ (** out of *****)

In Our Time
In Our Time FilmPoster.jpeg

In March 1939, English antiques dealer Mrs. Bromley (Mary Boland) and her assistant Jennifer “Jenny” Whittredge (Ida Lupino) travel through Poland to make purchases. In Warsaw, Jenny meets Count Stefan Orwid (Paul Henreid) and, after a whirlwind courtship, he asks her to marry him.

However, Stefan’s aristocratic family is less than welcoming, particularly his sister Janina (Nancy Coleman) and his wealthy diplomat uncle Count Pawel Orwid (Victor Francen). His mother Zofyia (Alla Nazimova) wants to keep peace in the family, and only his other uncle, ineffectual Leopold Baruta (Michael Chekhov), welcomes her.

After the wedding, Jenny encourages Stefan to break his family’s dependence on Count Pawel’s financial aid by persuading his peasant tenants to adopt more modern and efficient farming. They then invite the workers to a celebration in his mansion. Count Pawel makes a surprise visit to express his disapproval of Jenny’s democratic ideas. However, they are interrupted by the bombing of nearby Warsaw, despite the Count’s attempts to placate Nazi Germany.

Stefan joins his cavalry regiment, leaving Jenny behind. Months later, a wounded Stefan returns to the estate; his regiment was wiped out after charging German tanks. He gathers the peasants and asks them to burn the crop, and they agree.

Count Pawel takes the family out of the country to Romania, but Stefan, Jenny, and Leopold remain behind to fight.

Cast
Ida Lupino as Jennifer Whittredge
Paul Henreid as Count Stefan Orwid
Nancy Coleman as Janina Orwid
Mary Boland as Mrs. Bromley
Victor Francen as Count Pawel Orwid
Alla Nazimova as Zofia Orwid (as Nazimova)
Michael Chekhov as Uncle Leopold Baruta
Cyd Charisse as Ballerina

Credits:

Directed by Vincent Sherman
Produced by Jerry Wald
Screenplay by Elias St. Joseph and Howard Koch
Music by Franz Waxman
Cinematography Carl E. Guthrie
Edited by Rudi Fehr

Production and distribution: Warner Bros.

Release date: February 19, 1944

Running time: 110 minutes

Note:

TCM showed the movie on August 28, 2020 as part of tribute to Paul Henreid.