Kings Row (1942)

Film and Plot Synopsis

It’s a quaint turn-of-the-century small town with shady streets, swimming holes and the clip-clop of horse and buggy. But that peaceful exterior conceals human lives twisted by cruelty, murder and madness.

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King's Row

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‘Kings Row’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
Kings Row (1942)Kings Row unfolds the gripping tale of four childhood companions whose bonds endure through adulthood in a small American town at the turn of the 20th century. Parris Mitchell (Robert Cummings) and Drake McHugh (Ronald Reagan) share a deep friendship, with Drake, a trust fund orphan raised by his aunt, and Parris, an orphan cared for by his grandmother.

Drake’s other confidante is the reserved Cassandra Tower (Betty Field). Drake and Cassie share a secret meeting spot near Parris’s residence, surrounded by enigmatic secrets involving Cassie and her family. Cassie’s father, Dr. Tower, abruptly withdraws her from school, and her reclusive mother passes away, leaving Drake remorseful for losing touch with her.

Randy Monaghan (Ann Sheridan), a tomboy from the wrong side of the tracks, enjoys mingling with the boys. As they mature, Parris departs Kings Row for college, Cassie remains secluded, Randy transforms into a refined lady living with her father and brother, while Drake embraces a playboy lifestyle.

Parris, aspiring to become a doctor, returns for a medical school entrance exam in Vienna. Tutored by Cassie’s father, Dr. Tower (Claude Rains), Parris develops a deep respect for the non-practicing doctor. A clandestine romance blossoms between Parris and Cassie, with the lovers meeting frequently at Drake’s house. Parris plans to marry Cassie.

Simultaneously, Drake falls for Louise Gordon, the daughter of the town doctor, despite her parents’ objections to his playboy reputation. Louise rejects Drake’s proposal, only to regret it later deeply.

A pivotal night unfolds when Cassie implores Parris to take her to Vienna, but she vanishes abruptly. Parris discovers Cassie poisoned and her father, Dr. Tower, dead by suicide. Devastated, Parris learns he’s the heir to Dr. Tower’s estate and reads a revealing notebook suggesting Cassie’s mental illness and a potential pregnancy. Heartbroken, Parris departs for Vienna alone.

Drake and Randy rekindle their relationship. Drake, facing financial ruin due to a duplicitous banker, secures a job through Randy’s father but meets a tragic accident at the rail yard, resulting in the amputation of both legs by Dr. Gordon. Louise reveals her belief that her father punished Drake for their relationship. Parris, initially hesitant to disclose the truth, ultimately informs Drake, who surprisingly accepts his fate.

With Randy and Drake prepared for their future, Parris finds solace in the arms of Elise, a new romantic interest. The story concludes with each character embracing their destinies.

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Our Rating

Warner Bros. released Kings Row on April 18, 1942. Sam Wood directed the film starring Ann Sheridan, Robert Cummings, and Ronald Reagan.

User Rating: 3.81 ( 4 votes)
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