Saturday, 2 June 2012

Private Lives (1931)

I'm totally in love with Private Lives right now. My little sister and I watched it on YouTube a while ago, and we totally adored it. So we said, "Oh my god, we have to show this to Mum and Dad." So we finally got around to it and they loved it so much they were like, "we have to get this on dvd." I was super pleased that they liked it - Norma Shearer reminds me a whole load of my mum.


The classic Noel Coward play is adapted extremely well for film. I honestly can't think of a much better play to be adapted for Pre-Code cinema. I don't think they could have done it real justice with the Hayes Code in full flow - the love scenes would have seemed stilted (the only film that I know that really and truly managed to get around that problem was Notorious where Hitchcock interspersed his kisses over a period of three minutes with second long gaps) and I can't imagine they would have let Norma Shearer hitting Robert Montgomery over the head with a record pass through either. The director isn't anyone I've heard of before - Sidney Franklin - but he does an excellent job with this difficult project.


Of couse I'm constantly in awe of Noel Coward and his genius, let alone the great dialogue. He wrote the beautiful song, "Someday I'll Find You (Moonlight Behind You)" {adding parenthesis like a boss}. It's now my aim in life to use some of that script or that song in one of my drama projects. Anyway, as you probably know, Private Lives is about divorced couple Amanda and Elliot who meet up on separate honeymoons with their new spouses and decide that they still love each other madly and run away.


Robert Montgomery is one of those amazing actors who can just stand on screen and be hilarious. He's constantly in a state of, "Do I look like I give a damn", and if he so desires he can pull off, "Thanks Gurlfrand!"

pretty well too. He plays Elliot well. I was a little concerned about having such an american actor play such a classically British part, but he carries it off well. I love his sulking sessions. And when he hits Amanda he just does this hilarious OMG face. He's too funny.


Norma Shearer is such a great actress. She got a lot of stick for being Irving Thalberg famed-producer's wife, but she really was a good actress, too. She is totally and utterly hilarious in the scene where she hits Elliot over the head with a record. She commits to the role with total and utter abandon which I can only imagine a few other actresses doing as well as she does. I'm really looking forward to watching some more or her films (The Women and A Free Soul were both fantastic).


The supporting cast did well, too - there are only two of them  anyway (the only other roles are their spouses Victor and Sybil).

I strongly urge you to watch this - you'll thoroughly enjoy it.

Bette

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Thanks for taking the time to comment. It makes me happy to see people are interested in my posts!

~Bette