Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Bride Wore Red (1937)

Margo must have tivo'ed a whole Robert Young marathon at some point. Because here he is again.

This time with Joan Crawford. Margo and I were joking that this was when she got started stealing other women's husbands, warming up for The Women (two years later 1939). She plays a kind of Eliza Dolittle character: she is working as a cabaret girl when a rich Count pays her way to a fancy resort in Turano where she will trick his young friend into believing she is a Lady, thus proving the young man, who insists there is a difference between society ladies and cabaret girls, wrong.
The TWIST is that she is much better as a peasant than a lady, and she enjoys it more.

Look how much she is enjoying being a peasant!
There is an assumption the movie makes that a peasant and a cabaret girl are from equivalent social classes, but that's about as ridiculous as her authentic peasant costume. So the whole premise that you have a "place" and you just have to find it is kind of a way of saying stay in your own class, but not because we're making you, just because you'll be happier there!
Anyhow, all that aside, the movie has a lot to recommend it -
1. There are the costumes, which are awesome and a big part of the story.
2. Rags to riches, gotta love it.
3. Scam - gotta love her pulling off the act.
4. There's something very Maria Von Trapp about her love of the outdoors.
5. The old friend who just happens to turn up as a maid at the hotel, Maria, is just great.
The other thing is the love story - the peasant Postman that she falls for is actually so lovable I really got attached to him and was rooting for him whole-heartedly at the end when she had to choose - the life of a rich fraud or a simple, wholesome life in the country with her Postman lover. If you would have told me an hour and eighteen minutes ago that I would really enjoy a Postman as a romantic hero, I might have doubted you, but no longer. Giulio has won my heart.

Towards the beginning and the end, the script gets a little speechy with lots of dramatic monologues...therefore I conclude it must have been adapted from a successful stage play - and I just checked and yes, it was adapted from a play. You can just tell when someone has been trying to make Art. It's a shame because it messes with what is otherwise great entertainment (this is my problem with Holiday, too).

Still, for the costumes, the romance, the fun of the maid's lines - and for making a key dramatic line out of the truly prosaic "A well-organized telegraph office always keeps copies!" - I have to give this four stars.
I would totally watch it again.

1 comment:

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