Watch East Side, West Side
- 1 hr 48 min
East Side, West Side is a 1949 drama film starring Barbara Stanwyck, James Mason, and Van Heflin. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy and produced by Voldemar Vetluguin, the movie tells a story of a privileged woman's unraveling marriage. Barbara Stanwyck plays Jessie Bourne, married to wealthy New York businessman Brandon Bourne (Mason). The couple lives in a posh apartment on the Upper East Side, and Jessie's social circle includes the city's elite. However, the marriage is not as happy as it seems, and their constant bickering and jealousy lead to affairs on both sides. Jessie rekindles an old romance with Mark (Heflin), a former flame from her hometown who is now a struggling architect.
The movie starts with the arrival of Mark in New York City, where he meets with Jessie for lunch. They reminisce about old times, and Mark confesses his love for her. Jessie is tempted to leave her husband for Mark, but she is torn between her love for him and her attachment to her upper-class life. She tells Mark that things are complicated but promises to think about it.
As time progresses, Jessie's and Brandon's marital problems become more and more apparent. Brandon is often away on business trips, and Jessie fills her time with her friends' social events. However, their marriage hits rock bottom when Brandon discovers that Jessie is having an affair with Mark. He confronts her, and she confesses, leading to a heated argument.
The movie portrays the complications of Jessie's decision making. At first, she is unsure about whether she should stay with Brandon or leave him for Mark. As the plot thickens, she realizes that Mark will never be able to support her in the lifestyle she's comfortable in, whereas Brandon's wealth can. The story follows Jessie's attempts to reconcile her love for Mark with her desire for a luxurious life.
Parallel to Jessie's dilemma, the movie highlights the economic class differences between East Side and West Side's inhabitants, hence the title. Mark, who comes from the West Side, is portrayed as a struggling architect, looking for a break. Also, he is set up to be the moral compass of the story, honest and hardworking. In contrast, Brandon is depicted as a wealthy but cold man who frequently neglects Jessie, who, although initially happy to lead an opulent existence, increasingly disenchants with the superficiality of her surroundings.
Overall, East Side, West Side is an engaging drama movie that tackles several themes, including love, loyalty, social class divides, and the American dream. The great cast brings the story to life, with Stanwyck, in particular, doing an excellent job portraying the complexities of Jessie's character. The movie's direction is equally impressive, with LeRoy keeping the pace steady and the audience engaged throughout. It's a classic Hollywood movie that does justice to the post-World War II period's societal tensions, expectations and desires.
East Side, West Side is a 1949 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 48 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.9.