year: 1942
cast: Robert Cummings, Ronald Reagan, Ann Sheridan
rating: ***1/2

There's something thoroughly hypnotic and intoxicating about this melodrama centering on a handful of unlucky individuals growing up in a strange dusty town the film's named after. Ronald Reagan, never known for his terrific acting ability, has enough charm to make you forget his limited range, and Robert Cummings is his perfect corny counterpart, always seeming ready to break into song - usually a sad one. The best performances are from the ever-competitive envy-ridden women either going insane or just about to. The camera sweeps to all the right angles, the music flows beautifully, but by the end, since most of the storyline jumps to and fro at a rather quick pace, it seems like a condensed epic, raising the enviable question: Where's the rest of it?

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