My Forbidden Past (1951)

My Forbidden Past 1951

Barbara Beaurevel (Ava Gardner) is the granddaughter of a rather notorious woman who now lives in New Orleans with her uptight, socially-conscious aunt Eula (Lucile Watson) and cousin Paul (Melvyn Douglas), who is romantically attracted to Barbara. Barbara’s notorious grandmother is something Eula tries her hardest to keep secret. Barbara is in love with Mark Lucas (Robert Mitchum), who is about to take a trip to Africa to do some research, and Mark wants Barbara to join him so they can be married on the boat. She desperately wants to join him, but when Paul realizes what she’s doing, he talks her out of it.

Barbara writes a letter to Mark telling him that she’ll wait for him, but Paul makes sure he doesn’t get it and Eula wants her to marry the wealthy Clay Duchesne (Gordon Olvier) instead, but she waits. But since Mark never gets her letter, he marries a woman named Corinne (Janis Carter) instead. Meanwhile, a lawyer has been coming by Eula’s home, looking for Barbara to tell her about an inheritance. Since being honest would mean admitting to being related to Barbara’s grandmother, Eula tries to send him away. But when Barbara finally meets with him, it turns out she’s due to get a million dollar inheritance.

Thanks to her inheritance, Barbara has the money to make herself the belle of New Orleans society and she starts by throwing a large party and inviting all of the most important people in town, including Mark and Corinne. Corinne is a bit of a social climber so she loves the idea of going to a society party and Mark doesn’t want to go at first, but when Paul insults him, he decides to go out of spite. She’s hoping to convince Mark to divorce Corinne, but when she notices an attraction between Corinne and Paul, she comes up with another scheme to get them apart.

My Forbidden Past was a completely and totally mediocre movie. It’s far from being one of the worst movies ever, but despite the good cast, there’s nothing interesting about it, either. It clearly wasn’t meant to be a prestige picture, although the first-rate cast might make you think otherwise, but there are so many other B-movies that are so much more interesting. The story could have potentially been more interesting, but it just didn’t pan out that way. The movie was too rushed for that. I kinda wish I had picked any other movie from today’s lineup to write about; any of them would have had to have been more interesting than this. Although I do love it’s ridiculously salacious sounding tagline of, “She’s the kind of woman that made New Orleans famous!” It makes it sound so much more scandalous than it really is.

One comment

  1. I watched this last night because Maltin’s review called it “silly nonsense”, and that’s pretty much true. I thought Douglas had a lot of fun playing such a nasty scoundrel, but, as you said, it’s too rushed to land any actual points.

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