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Kings Row (1942)

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Release Date: Jan 1, 1942 Wide

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74

liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 1,006

My Rating

Movie Info

A seemingly quiet Midwestern town is the hiding place for a number of sordid secrets in this melodrama based on Henry Bellamann's best-selling novel. Parris Mitchell (Scotty Beckett) is a young boy growing up in the town of King's Row, where he becomes close friends with Cassandra (Mary Thomas), a quiet girl who isn't popular with the other children. Parris is also friends with Louise (Joan Duvalle), a rich girl who looks down on others; Drake (Douglas Croft), a good-natured but self-centered

Unrated,

Drama, Romance, Mystery & Suspense, Classics

Casey Robinson

Aug 15, 2006

Warner Home Video

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All Critics (18) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (13) | Rotten (0) | DVD (4)

The film that made the future President Reagan a movie star.

February 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Sam Wood's Oscar-nominated small-town tale is one of the darkest melodramas Hollywood made in the 1940s, full of neurotic personalities and perverse secrets.

December 19, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

...while episodic and sentimental and filled with all kinds of unlikely turns of events, there is no denying the characters are endearing and the ending uplifting.

August 6, 2006 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

A wonderful guilty pleasure potboiler enchanced by a magnificent Korngold score and fine acting from Ronald Reagan in the performance of his career. Only lead Robert Cummings is weak as Paris Mitchell; just imagine James Cagney in the role!

January 28, 2005
Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)

Classic soap opera, maybe all time best; certainly Reagan's best

October 23, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

Unpleasant soap opera, but well made.

June 16, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

The film is dark, incredibly so for a mainstream movie before World War II.

February 28, 2002 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies
Goatdog's Movies

Kings Row (1942) combines a turn-of-the-century setting with a small-town melodrama uncovering evil and depravity.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Tim Dirks' The Greatest Films
Tim Dirks' The Greatest Films

Audience Reviews for Kings Row

Based on a dark, soapy bestselling novel, this is definitely one of Ronald Reagan's best performances, if not THE best. Like "Peyton Place", the original novel focused on the dark secrets underlying an outwardly nice, moral, family-oriented town. Unfortunately, unlike "Peyton Place," the subject matter had to be way watered down to get past the censors at the time this was made, leaving one of the key storylines - a doctor's incestuous relationship with his daughter - so vague that the first time I saw this film prior to reading the book, I didn't understand what was going on with that subplot. The other weird thing about this movie is that Kings Row manages to have not one, but TWO messed-up doctors: one's the aforementioned incest committer (played by Claude Rains) and the other (played by Charles Coburn) is a sadist who enjoys amputating limbs and wreaking vengeance on patients he doesn't like. Reagan plays "Drake", a dashing rich party-boy who falls victim to the sadistic doc but then manages to have a decent life thanks to the tender mercies of his childhood friend "Randy" (Ann Sheridan), the girl literally from the wrong side of the tracks. I thought Reagan and Sheridan pretty much carried the film, with the other main part, their friend "Parris" (Robert Cummings) finishing a very distant third. As someone else noted, the amputation theme was timely due to WWII even though this book is set in an earlier era. A decent soap opera for its time, but not quite as good as the book due to all the controversial (for then) issues that had to be presented very obliquely or left out entirely.. 5 Stars
January 13, 2013
bbcfloridabound
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

Good film could have been great with better male leads, the female stars are excellent though.
March 18, 2008
jjnxn
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

Reagan's leap to stardom through this? Well its okay. It's a bit too much like a soap opera but we have passable acting with neurotic folks throughout.
November 15, 2013
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

    1. Drake McHugh: Where's the rest of me?
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
View all quotes (1)

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