Awesomes in the Dust
Crafted by seldom-credited screenwriter Anita Loos and finessed by the touch of deft-handed director Mervin LeRoy, Blossoms unfolds the story of turn-of-the-century children's rights activist Edna Gladney, who, through her rejection of then-contemporary convention and her obstinance towards the legal system of the day, significantly changed the process of child adoption to a more humane and loving procedure. And Blossoms is everything one would expect of an MGM biopic from cinema's golden age: love and heartbreak, triumph and tragedy, and a testament to a tenacious and intrepid life, all tinted in emotion-intensifying Technicolor. Gladney is gladly depicted as the heroine she was and, truthfully, still is: the testy Texas woman rallied in defense of abandoned children whose parentage was questioned and who were stigmatized with the legal branding of illegitimacy, a term whose assignment wreaked grave social implications as they grew up to seek jobs, get married, or even join 'respectable society'. The real-life activist opened her home to hundreds of children through her revolutionary day-care facility, which she also financed, never envisioning her impact on the social issues tied to pregnancy, parenthood and adoption.
As much a star as Gladney, though, is the woman who brings her to life in the film even today. Tough yet delicate and never histrionic, Garson presents the balanced and trailblazing woman Gladney likely was - feminine yet defiant, steadfast yet nurturing, a pioneer who saw her work as the good fight it was.
I wave my white flag proudly, Miss G, in deference to your awesome acting acuity. I will never speak ill of you again!
An unlicensed version of Blossoms in the Dust is available on dvd through Free Movies on Dvd.