I love charming things. Shirley Temple movies, Old Mother West Wind Books, Arthur Conan Doyle's 'Songs of the Road', and 'Five Little Peppers and How They Grew'. Charming! Harvey the darned Rabbit? Charming! Honestly, I believe we need a LOT more 'charming', and a lot less 'cool'. Charming things make one smile, they feel comfortable, they include you in the experience, and they never leave you feeling anything but nice feelings...even when bad things happen. That's exactly how I feel about Dick Powell's 1949 Mountie picture, Mrs. Mike. It's just plain charming.
That, as they say, is the question...and our story.
The script was based on the book Mrs. Mike, The Story of Katherine Mary Flannigan, by the husband/wife team of Benedict and Nancy Freeman, which itself was based on a mere five page distillation of stories that Mrs. Flannigan herself had written. Though apparently much of the original narrative was itself fabricated (according to the real Mounted Police officers who had served with Flannigan), the script manages to capture quite a bit of truth, which is peppered throughout. Normally a revelation of that scale might bother me, but it being classic Hollywood love story, I've come to expect that sort of thing as a pleasant norm. I myself read the book (which is apparently a minor classic for kids, but none that I've ever met), and I found it to be, well, charming. In spite of that charm, it also has some of the brutality of the lives of the people who lived in such isolated, self-sufficient communities. There are a few relatively shocking deaths, and there is some disillusionment, but it still maintains a hopefulness about it. I don't want to give the impression that this is the next Casablanca or The Sound of Music (in fact, I think Powell only manages to sing one song, though a fun one, in the entire picture). It's just a very good movie from every angle. Though it was filmed entirely in California, I got lost in that intangible Canadian feeling that I've enjoyed on my many excursions into that great and beautiful country.
I suggest that if you can't actually go up to those resplendent Canadian wilds, Mrs. Mike is...a charming substitute.
Here's my list of Mountie films! Please feel free to download, and let me know any that I might be missing!