John Garfield received his first Oscar nomination for portraying Mickey Borden in Four Daughters.
The cause of the abrupt change to melodrama is the character of Mickey Borden a cynical song writer played by John Garfield. He comes in and with his low grade charm quickly sweeps one of the four Daughters Ann off her feet so much that she dumps the person she was about to marry and runs away with Mickey. The only problem is John Garfield does not really make this turn of events all that believable. Garfield is simply not that charming in the role even in a low grade fashion, and lacks any real chemistry with Priscilla Lane as Ann.
John Garfield most certainly has screen presence there is no doubt about that, he does stand out in the cast above everyone else, Claude Rains might have but he is given too little to do. Garfield standing out though is not a great accomplishment in this lackluster film. The more performances I actually see of Garfield the more I find problems with his acting actually. Although Garfield acts well enough to be believed, his acting never seems to pierce down deeper into his characters, which is most certainly true about Mickey.
He plays cynical well enough with Mickey, but that is about it. There is never enough more to his characterization of Mickey to show why he was able to lure one of the Daughters away so easily and abruptly. Than all of the sudden he feels guilt for his action later, this transition is not earned by Garfield, and feels especially lacking. After that he has an insanely overacted scene where he goes crazy, or at least that is the way Garfield plays it with an over the top face and everything. Garfield's whole performance is lacking. Yes he does stick out among this cast, but that was very easy to do among this cast. There is never a single moment that really breaks into the core of the character, instead he always stays very much on the surface.