Boredom and Emotional Trauma Explored in 1950’s Old Movie

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The Empty Life is ostensibly about psychological “boredom,” which resembles modern depression. The film depicts several dramatizations of different people who are bored with their lives and have developed some neurotic compensating behavior or other problem. Ann Galloway, a bored housewife, anesthetizes herself with alcohol, the grocer who lives down the street is a nymphomaniac, and Hugh Marriott hates his job but can’t quit because his domineering wife won’t let him. Hugh is the star of the show, and the film shows how his mother (also domineering) and his wife have ruined his life and the life of his son. This movie has themes that are very typical of the 1950’s, including blaming women for men’s “problems” while ignoring the fact that women’s lives were usually even more boring, confined, and depressing than the men they were supposedly bringing down. A weird jazz soundtrack and heavy-handed narration adds to the camp factor of this film, but there are moments when the pain of the characters cuts deep, and the film portrays them in a realistic and sensitive manner.