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Anna Q. Nilsson
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George Bryan Brummel, a British military officer, loves Lady Margery, the betrothed of Lord Alvanley. Despite her own desperate love for Brummel, she submits to family pressure and marries Lord Alvanley. Brummel, broken-hearted, embarks upon a life of revelry. He befriends the Prince of Wales and leaves the army, becoming subsequently the best-known rake and decider of fashion in Europe. As his affairs flourish, so does his disdain for his benefactor, the Prince. Eventually Brummel falls into disfavor, and it is only Lady Margery who has any chance of helping him. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This silent version of "Beau Brummel" (there was one in 1913) stars the great John Barrymore in the title role, and he manages without speaking to give us a clear, layered view of this vain social climber. Also starring are Mary Astor, Carmel Myers, and Irene Rich as three of the women in his life. Mary Astor was nearly unrecognizable - low, long eyebrows (they all seemed to have them) and different teeth, and 18 years old! Though in black and white, the sumptuousness of the costumes and the beauty of the sets, as well as the prevailing atmosphere, are all evident. Brummel resigns his commission so that he can literally hang out with the Prince of Wales, who becomes George IV. When he falls out of favor, he also falls on hard times. The woman he loses to her marriage into a wealthy family, Lady Alvanley, remains a loyal friend as does his butler Mortimer.
Barrymore's acting, particularly in his last scenes, is brilliant. Thankfully he went into talkies so we would have a chance to hear his beautiful speaking voice.
Superior to the MGM color version starring Stewart Granger.
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