What’s on the screen is a strangely peculiar performance that offers occasional moments of grace and love but mostly lacks all of the qualities that would usually be expected from an Oscar-nominated piece of work. Still, Loretta Young’s distinctive screen presence and her ability to radiate warmth and kindness leave a maybe not lasting but often satisfying impression.
Jeanne Crain's performance might be able to carry the movie and give Pinky a distinct personality but her boundaries as an actress are too visible during many scenes even if her own approach to the part managed to overcome any negative consequences. But overall, she lacked too many nuances and too much depth to be truly outstanding.
Susan Hayward played Eloise with her usual confidence but lacked the youthful fervor and also the opportunities to give more dimension to her role. It’s a mixed performance that is saved in parts by the bookend scenes and her later quiet displays of overwhelming grief and anguish.
2. Deborah Kerr in Edward, my Son
There are various problems in this characterisation and the script it is based on but Deborah Kerr still made the transformation of Evelyn completely believable and gave a moving, occasionally heartbreaking and intriguing performance that maybe could have achieved more but still came to life with haunting reality.
Towering above her competition, Olivia de Havilland not only avoided any failure in this part but actively exceeded her accomplishments by exploring the different aspects and motivations of Catherine Sloper and filling them with logic and reason, delivering an outstanding portrayal of desperation, hope, regret, hate and fear that stands among the finest this category has ever seen.