Cynthia

Cynthia (MGM, Robert Z. Leonard) is another sentimental drama, though with a teen melodrama plot tailored for Elizabeth Taylor. There's a strong political economy reading to be done of Taylor's star image, how her "maturity" was as dependent on free agency as it was on her growing up. When she was under MGM's control, the studio never allowed her more than meek sweetness.

What is unusual (maybe - I can't say for sure) is the darkness of the parent's relationship. Sentimental dramas had a way of diffusing familial conflict, of containing it with a gloss of quaintness. Here, the tension between Cynthia's mother and father seems at points to have an emotional rawness. I wish I could articulate exactly why.

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