I seem to recall that this is sometimes regarded as at least equal in stature to Citizen Kane in some way. It doesn’t get the hype that Kane does though, and it seems to get discussed to the extent of “probably Orson Wells’ best film ever, but moving on…”
Much like Kane is a portrait of a life, just with a nominal mystery to drive the plot, this seems to be a portrait of a family’s travails over possibly years. I have a sense that it’s character driven and plot light and would probably be comfortable on the same shelf with Little Women.
Apparently, this movie has appeared in the number two spot on a list of best British movies, and I only hear about it in discussion of lesser-known great Orson Welles movies. Welles is playing the (supposedly?) dead man, so, while even in the late 40s, you don’t cast Orson Welles as a corpse, his presence might be inflated by the fact that he’s the only recognizable name in the cast.
According to the box, this is a departure for Marylin Monroe. As opposed to her typical lighter fare, here she’s taking a dark turn as a woman plotting to kill her husband. While I think the term is never used on the cover, this sounds like a noir in the style of Double Indemnity.
I’m looking forward to seeing her playing a femme fatale. It seems to suit her more than the giggling, often airheaded bimbo she always plays in her comedies. I know she knew how to control a room with her sexuality, she even built a career on it. I always watch her other movies waiting for her to drop the act and get exactly what she wants because she knows people will give it to her, and that looks like what happens here. Or at least, she tries.