A Story of Illicit Sex

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Part of Warner Bros. new Archive Collection, The Voice of The Turtle was deemed, just that by the Breen Office in 1947, “a story of illicit sex without sufficient compensating moral values.”

And they were right! Absolutely no compensating moral values whatsoever! Apart from the few tears, and weak self-imposed regulation, Sally Middleton ( Eleanor Parker), is not so much saddened by her choice to just give it away, as she is about her inability to actually snatch a man that wants to commit. Coming off a very serious relationship with a Broadway hotshot who accused her of taking love too seriously, Sally lands smack dab in the middle of her friends (Eve Arden) servicemen smorgasbord.

Made to entertain Bill Page( Ronald Reagan), Sally seems to have entered her moral high ground one man too early. Feeling bad about that darn pouring rain, Sally lets Bill sleep on the daybed in the living room (because who doesn’t have a daybed in the living room?)and  all too quickly falls into her own too familiar trap. She has an extra toothbrush, pajamas, makes breakfast; anything that Bill may need.

What makes this story rather amazing is that as a piece of American History, we really can’t begrudge these poor women for attempting to catch ‘em while they can, especially when the men were often only home for a weekend. War time inherently deems a sense of now or never, and it was never fresher in the minds of everyone than it was in the 40’s when women still heavily depended on men not only for their support (financially, mentally, physically), but also their reputation and worth as a woman.

Eleanor does a great job of portraying the OCD Sally, and we automatically like her more for all her strange, extremely visible weaknesses. Ronald plays the man wounded from Olivia’s( Eve Arden) slight, and convincingly brings a past love-affair-gone-wrong to the table.  As compromised players in the game of love, we see jealousy, fear, shame, guilt, envy—a whole slew of ugly human emotion.

If you can get your hands on it, this film is highly highly recommended!!!

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