Peter Ibbetson (1935)

Semi-obscure and precious as a pearl, this woozy mid–Depression Era projectile is filmed like an old maid’s opium daydream, but the story is what makes your head spin: after being separated as children, Gary Cooper and Ann Harding meet again with a husband between them, and after he’s accidentally killed, Cooper’s unpretentious architect goes to prison for life—but as the couple ages, they literally meet, forever young, in their dreams. For decades. French critic Georges Sadoul wrote, in his famous 1965 reference volume, Dictionnaire des Films, “It is difficult to discuss this film without tending to invent certain details more than 25 years after being burnt by its flame.” He didn’t invent much in his synopsis, but the movie’s flame is very real.

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