MY MAN AND I
(director: William A. Wellman; screenwriters: John Fante/Jack Leonard; cinematographer: William C. Mellor; editor: John D. Dunning; music: David Buttolph; cast: Shelley Winters (Nancy), Ricardo Montalban (Chu Chu Ramirez), Wendell Corey (Ansel Ames), Claire Trevor (Mrs. Ansel Ames), Jack Elam (Celestino Garcia), George Chandler (Frankie, bartender); Runtime: 99; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Stephen Ames; MGM; 1952)
“It’s a well-made drama that unfortunately is never interesting or as spicy as it’s expected to be.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
William A. Wellman (“Wings”/”A Star is Born”/”Battleground”) directs this low-budget simplistic love story about a saintly Mexican migrant worker who is so proud he just became an American citizen and has in his possession a letter from the president that came with his citizen papers. He is always optimistic despite his dire circumstances. The worker fights to get self-educated and be treated with dignity, as he struggles to maintain his good nature despite so many weak people around him. Writers John Fante and Jack Leonard keep all the white Americans as cheats, losers and whores. It’s a well-made drama that unfortunately is never interesting or as spicy as it’s expected to be.
Mexican-born new United States citizen Chu-Chu Ramirez (Ricardo Montalban), an itinerant migrant farm worker in California, is determined to make something of himself and improve his lot in life.After working the grape crop, he gets a job for a month clearing land on a tractor for surly farmer Ansel Ames (Wendell Corey). At the local bar he meets the impoverished alcoholic Nancy (Shelley Winters) and gives her $20 to help her get back on her feet. Meanwhile Ames becomes increasingly jealous that Ramirez attracts his untrustworthy embittered wife (Claire Trevor). When shot in the shoulder in an accident, Ames falsely accuses his work-hand of attempted murder.The dramatics revolve around how Ames and his wife are forced into telling about what really happened and how the suicidal Nancy cements her love for Ramirez.
REVIEWED ON 7/12/2011 GRADE: B-