On Borrowed Time Reviews
A big thumbs up to "On Borrowed Time". Though the film was made nearly 3/4 of a century ago, it held up. From the very beginning, the appearance on screen of a "Foreword", so lost today but so expected of a generation raised on books and classic literature, immediately alerts the viewer that something of significance is about to follow. Where else might one ever hope to see the word like "perchance" on screen except in a great old film?
The sudden appearance of Mr. Brink, ably played by Cedric Hardwicke, surrounded by shadowy trees and shot in such a way as to frame these early shots in darkness, was yet sprinkled with a dark humor, most notably the coughing young Samaritan who stopped to help but was not being signaled "quite yet".
The introduction of Demetria played by Eily Maylon, seemed at first tragic and sympathetic. But "Aunt Demi's" true nature was soon revealed when at the news of the sudden death of her sister her sorrow seemed mostly driven by the loss of a promised trip to California.
I was right about one thing prior to seeing the film, Lionel Barrymore's well-placed, well-delivered lines. Even here though I was wrong about there being a few. His performance was stellar throughout. He delivered a Julian Northrup, aka Gramps, who could easily have come off as a cliché or caricature in the hands of a lesser actor. Barrymore made him real. Barrymore's Gramps was curmudgeonly, funny, serious, rude, sensitive, aloof and caring, often all within a single scene.
Add to the overall solid acting a storyline that carried us easily along the way, and even threw in a bit of a twist. It was completely obvious to me that young Marcia Giler would end up with Pud and that she, her beau and young Pud would inherit the place and live happily ever after enjoying that hammock Gramps mentioned.
Instead (Spoiler Alert) -- almost all of the good folks die! What kind of a happy ending is that? I'll tell you, it's a great one.
Part of me wants to scour the internet and find someone's production of Paul Osborn's original screenplay on stage just as it was written. Yet still, a bigger part of me says if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
"On Borrowed Time" was indeed 99 minutes very well spent.
Of course now that I think about it, it does seem a bit morbid that the only solution to the problem of this film, who will take care of little Pud was resolved by Mr. Brink taking both their lives so they can be together forever since Julian seriously didn't want his grandson being raised into a pussy by his aunt.