This adaptation of Robert Morley and Noel Langley’s 1947 Broadway play is one of Cukor’s bleakest films: a postwar noir taking in, among other things, arson, infidelity, alcoholism, blackmail, multiple suicides, corrupt business dealings, and spousal neglect. Edward My Son is an essential showcase for Cukor’s gift at dramatic atmosphere, and one of the director’s few films to center on a male protagonist—an amoral crook of a businessman played with chilly malevolence by Spencer Tracy (with Deborah Kerr, fresh from her starring turn in Black Narcissus, in the role of his long-suffering wife). Dissolute son Edward stays offscreen for the length of the film, but it’s his animating absence that sends the movie spiraling down towards its inevitable conclusion.