This week in Film — SUMMERLAND and Olivia de Havilland

Wartime on the white cliffs of Dover and one of the greats takes her final bow. But first, new to Video On Demand this weekend, Summerland:

Written and directed by Jessica Swale, Summerland has a touch of wonder with a tinge of loss. It’s a breezy affair, runs a little over 90 minutes but feels nothing like it. That’s all due to Arterton, an actress who seems right at home in period films. Bond is good too but displays limitations when the story asks too much of him. Frankly, it’s surprising Swale doesn’t ask more of him, but one of the movie’s tricks is how it sidesteps ancillary scenes for flashbacks with Alice’s romantic relationship with Vera (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). Once those threads intertwine, it becomes apparent how enjoyable Summerland truly is.

Boulder Weekly Vol. 27, No. 50, “Keep calm and carry cake.”

Coincidentally, there’s more than a touch of Olivia de Havilland in Gemma Arterton’s performance in Summerland. And if that movie is your cup of tea, then make sure to check out To Each His Own, another war melodrama about a mother and a son. To say more would spoil the fun.

The script, penned by Charles Brackett and Jacques Théry, is as twisty as a noir-soaked murder mystery, and de Havilland navigates every curve and contour with grace, command, and heartbreaking poise. It’s spectacular, but somehow it’s been forgotten. A pity; movies this good deserve a legacy.

Home viewing: Olivia de Havilland