This week they banned "Forever Amber" in Providence. The Legion of Decency has condemned it. And in New York Francis Cardinal Spellman looks askance upon the multi-million dollar "historical" drama. 'Yet yesterday, in more or less unexpurgated fashion, Amber and her playmates opened a probably interminable run at a couple of the smaller Boston cinema emporia. This may be liberalism of a sort, or this may only be a sign of bluenose forgetfulness, but, sad to say, it doesn't represent any kind of progress in the matter of quality.
"Forever Amber" the film is basically "Forever Amber" the novel, condensed and emasculated. It still remains a lusty, busty, brawling, bawdy, inaccurate picture of Restoration England, and of a heroine busy from bedroom to bedroom. Naturally, the play-by-play accounts are a bit loss lucid and even the two-and-a-half hour running time doesn't permit inclusion of more than a token few of the endless assortment of husbands&lovers&pregnancies&such. But what you have left is still far more than enough.
Physically, Linda Darnell is all Amber ought to be, and actually that's about all the job requires. But whoever makes up the cast really is a nonessential, for the players seem to have been selected more for physical appearance than for any particular modieum of talent, George Sanders as Charles II displays the one lone semblance of real acting. DeMille-ish mob scenes, thousands of costly costumes, and the inevitable Technicolor lend a kind of facade of quality to something that is basically sham, but the too-thin vencer cannot completely hide a story that in essence is little but a collection of vicarious sexual experiences tacked end to end.